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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 8, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta Quiet, Farm-Oriented People Canada's Huiterites Want To Be Left Alone By JIM OSBORNE Canadian Press Staff Writer Canada's Hutterites want to be left alone, but iron- ically their stern religion and communal way of life have of ten'placed them in conflict with society. A high birth rate has re- sulted in a continuous need for more land, now totalling 570 000 acres in Albsrta. And their practice of central wholesale buying has had a stifling economic impact on some nearby towns. Basically, they are a quiet farm-oriented people who be- lieve the sole objective Oi their existence is to prepare for eternal life. They believe that everything belongs to the church for distribution .as needed for sustenance of a life free of all adornment and ar- tificiality. Heligious leaders say that the Hutterite Brethren Church alone follows the kind of life that Christ intended for man- kind. PUT RELIGION FIRST Oliis is why they will invari- ably place their religion of all else, including the law when necessary. Pun- ishment for rare legal infrac- tions, consequently, is viewed persecution if observing the law would have been con- trary to their faith. Their church is everything. Their followers are viewed as unworthy sinners and capable of redemption only through strict observance of doctrine throughout their lives. Psychologists call it a guilt- ridden faith that holds its members through fear. "This is not a life for flesh and explains Rev. John Werz, 68, a leading Hut- terite spokesman. "We be- lieve that if we live in a spirit- ual way we will go into eter-' nal life." Asked about the church's apparent hold on members, he said "You either want to or you don't have to" remain in the communal life. The approach is the same toward those who would leave, those who return and any "outsider" who would join. But while their teaching es- pouses a take-it-or-leave-it philosophy, it's far more trau- matic than that for those who consider leaving. FRAUGHT WITH SIN From three years old, when Hutterite children start com- pulsory kindergarten, they are taught that the outside world is fraught with sin and lusts of the flesh that can lead only to eternal damnation. This is reinforced in daily church instruction for an hour before school, which Hutterite youngsters attend to 16 years old. Everyone attends church at 6 p.m. daily. Despite this intensive train- Ing, a few members each year discard their simple black home-made garb and their eraHe-to-grave security for (he outside world. They receive no help from the colony, at least not offi- cially. And any who seek to return are accepted back only after the elders are convinced the person is repentant. One former member of a colony, now married and Iiv7 ing in this southwestern Al- berta city, told of dissension within her family and fre- quent disputes with colony elders: "I just couldn't accept their way of life." She said that some children from colonies sneak in tran- sistor radios or magazines, all considered lustful. Some chil- dren creep out at night to neighboring farms to watch television. BIRTH CONTROL TABOO Colonies receive members' wages when they are .hired out to farmers, but some re- ceive additional money and keep it aside. Elders know this occurs and persons caught are punished, usually with lectures by eld- ers, penance or confession. Former members say that premarital sex is known to occur, but to a lesser extent than in the rest of society. Their faith holds that sex is for procreation only; there is no limit to a family's size and birth control is taboo. Families are provided a house and furnishings on mar- riage, and a larger house as families expand. Most have six to eight children; some families are as large as 16. For the vast majority of Hutterites, on 76 Alberta colo- nies, life is quiet and pro- tected. Their devout lives are dominated by long hours and hard work, in most respects typical of any mixed farm. An essential difference is that meals are served in large dining halls, one each for men over the age of 16, women over 16, and children. Virtually all food and as much else as possible is pro- duced on the thing, shoes and much of their household goods and equip- Childrcn from an early age receive instruction for later for work with ma- chinery, livestock or in grain production; girls to sew, cook and care for children. At 16, II u 11 e r i I e s leave school. By then all iiave learned the required school curriculum, plus reading and writing in German, and their, scriptural work. English is used for business and social communication out- side the colonies. Swiss is the traditional spoken language within colonies. All written and most verbal religious matters are in German. Until recent years, children in Alberta were allowed to leave school at 15, an age con- sistent with Hutterite tradi- tion. "When they raised the school age to 16 from 15, it threw our system out of kil- Mr. Werz said. He is religious leader at the Wilson colony, about 10 miles southeast of Lethbridge, one of the two oldest colonies in Canada. LIFE CHANGES LITTLE After 52 years it is also one of the most prosperous and where life has changed little, except for mechanization, since the movement was founded in 1526 near Zurich, Switzerland, by Jacob Hutter. Mr. Werz said that criticism about Hutterites taking over the best Alberta farm land is "ridiculous." Expansion had not been that rapid and some individuals and corporations owned a great deal more land than Hutterites. He said the total world pop- ulation of Hutterites is about after almost 450 years of growth. About of these live in Alberta. Mr. Werz said also there is no truth in popular rumors that Hutterites are exempt from taxes. They were taxed differently because of their communal system, but still had to pay corporation, prop- erty, licence and income taxes. They contributed substan- tially to charities and as- sumed almost total responsi- bility for welfare of their aged and sick, and did not accept old age pensions or family al- lowance. _ July 8, 1970 THE LETHMmGt HRALD 29 Ombudsman For Ontario TORONTO (CP) The Tele- gram says the provincial gov- ernment is planning to appoint an ombudsman this year. The newspaper says legisla- tion to create the position is being drafted by the attorney- general's department. The official, to be known as commissioner of the legislature, would have powers to investi- gate complaints about adminis- trative actions of provincial government departments and agencies. The newspaper says it is not expected the ombudsman would be given power to prosecute or punish. His main job would to notify a department when a complaint is justified and ask the legislature to act if no other remedial action is taken. Four provinces have ombuds- men. Alberta and New Bruns- wick created the positions in Quebec in 1969 and Mani- toba early this year. EARN KING SALMON. Alaska CAP) Alaska salmon fisher- men have reported earning up to a head since the sea- son started two weeks ago. CHUCK STEAK BEANS and PORK PORK ROAST _ ,45' TABLE RITE GROUND ,79' 59' CORN FLAKES STEAKETTES or CHOPPETTES BOLOGNA RINGS Gainen Superior Garlic or Bologna Ib. Shrimp Tiny Coffee Team N LUNCH MEAT PEAS LIBBY TOMATO JUICE MAPLE LEAF LARD KRAFT MIRACLE WHIP KING SIZ FAB Burns -Dinners Peanut Butter 55< Aunt Jemima Reg. or B'millc 3.5-lb. pkg. TOP 44-or Western Party Asst. pkg. Lysol Aspirins Boyer Ajax FRUIT DRINKS Liquid Cleanser 32-oz. PRICES EFFECTIVE THURS., FRI., SAT., JULY 9, 10, llth! WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO LIMIT QUANTITIES Corn Oil Margarine CANNED POP Asst. tins Corn Oil Margarine Fleisthmans Colored, 6c offl Velveeta Cheese Mild Wedge Cheese Cherries Cucumbers Lemons Orange Juice E Cheddar I2-oi Cream Cheese CALIFORNIA RED CARDINAL GRAPES Orange Juice DONUTS 43< Country Waffles Aunt Jemima 9-oz. Chinese Dinners Dragon Pineapple Chicken CANADA NO. 1 CALIFORNIA LETTUCE ;