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Mennonites in Mexico



We discussed the Mormons in Mexico. Elias Castillo reminds us of the Mennonites, who descend from the Anabaptists. They derive their name from Menno Simons,a Dutch Roman Catholic priest who converted to the Anabaptist faith. Their fanatical Kingdom of Münster (1534-5) had caused them strife with civic authorities. Their refusal to respect requirements, such as taking oaths, like that more recently of Jehovah's Witnesses, led them to seek refuge in Pennsylvania, Canada and Mexico. Elias Castillo writes"The Mennonites migrated to Mexico because of the fear of church elders that they would soon run out of space in Canada somewhere between 1930 and the 1940s. William Randolph Hearst donated a huge parcel of land, and the Mexican government welcomed them with open arms. They have since flourished. Approximately 30,000 Mennonites live west of Chihuahua, the capital city of the state. Some drive buggies that use truck tires, while others drive pickups, most dress in overalls, while the women look like pioneers with sun bonnets or wide straw hats with a black decorative ribbon as a hat band. They are excellent apple farmers and also produce fine cheese. They cluster themselves in farming communities near the town of Cuauhtemoc where store signs are displayed in both Spanish and old German".

RH: What they speak is really old Low German, but my guess is that the younger generation speak Spanish exclusively. I wonder if some of their services are still conducted in German. How do the Mormons and the Mennonites get on? Do the Mormons include the Mennonites in their missionary design?

Ronald Hilton - 11/7/02


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