Insurance is a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium. A contract providing protection against a possible eventuality. This contract provides that the insurance company will cover some portion of a policyholder’s loss if the policyholder meets certain conditions stipulated in the insurance contract. The policyholder pays a premium to obtain insurance coverage. If the policyholder experiences a loss, such as a car accident or a house fire, the policyholder files a claim for reimbursement with the insurance company. The policyholder will pay a deductible to cover part of the loss, and the insurance company will pay the rest. For example, suppose you have a homeowner’s insurance policy. You pay $1,000 per year in premiums for a policy with a face value of $200,000, which is what the insurance company estimates it would cost to completely rebuild your house in the event of a total loss. One day, a huge wildfire envelopes your neighborhood and your house burns to the ground. You file a claim for $200,000 with your insurance company. The company approves the claim. You pay your $1,000 deductible, and the insurance company covers the remaining $199,000 of your loss. You then take that money and use it to hire contractors to rebuild your house.

There are many different types of insurance: house insurance, car insurance, health insurance, life insurance, and travel insurance, to name a basic few.

Choosing a Career

Choosing a career is a huge step and should not be rushed into.  Consider that most people don’t really know what they want to do with their lives until around 24 years of age, and that even then many people change careers several times throughout their lives.  Also consider that if you have just left the community, it will take some time for you to develop your own sense of self and for your values to adjust to being out of the hof.

Leaving the hof is a big deal and the impact on your life is not fully understood until you have walked this road for many years.  You need to be patient with yourself and not rush into anything.  The most important thing is not later regretting actions that you have taken or not taken.

A very good first step is to enroll in college if you are strongly motivated, know what you want to do and are certain that you can get excellent grades.  Going to college and getting mediocre or poor grades will harm future choices that you may not even know are options yet so you should not go to college until you are truly ready to knock it out of the park.  On the other hand, the best time to get college paid for is now before you have much of an income.  More on this in other areas.

If you are not going to go to college right away and are going to work, take this time to explore many different options, learn about yourself and develop the new skills you will need to flourish on the outside. Remember that you are not restricted to any line of work or place to live.  While the hof may have set you up in a location you are making your own decisions now and need to do what you feel is best for you.

There are many online sources for help with career.  You should explore these and take some of the online test to better understand what you are best suited for.  Perform a Google search and check out several different sites related to careers.  Here is one that appears to be unbiased and comprehensive:

Remember that you will be going through a lot of change from the person who you were raised to be, a community member, to someone who must make their own decisions and find their own way.  Because of this, the results of some personality and career tests may change somewhat over the years (shop worker to astronaut?).  One good approach is to speak with many different people who have gone through this and ended up in different careers.  As discussed elsewhere, the easiest way to find others who have left is through Facebook and you will find teachers, artists, nurses, doctors, lawyers, cooks, construction workers, etc. all willing to offer advice and emotional support. No one knows more about the path you are on than others who have traveled it before you.  Good luck and enjoy the journey!

Just to give you an example of one journey:

I arranged to attend Penn Tech after high school while I was still living at NMR. I was interested in electronics but largely was hoping to not have to chamfer little pieces of wood the rest of my life. I got a two-year degree but really wasn’t ready to work hard and get excellent grades so I didn’t have access to the best employers at graduation. I worked in electronics for a few years, migrated to sales for a few years and traveled all over the country. I got fired from my sales job because they were cutting back on staff and I just wasn’t very effective. I found work in chain restaurant management trying to find a career that would pay a decent wage without going to college. In the meantime, I ran up some debt and got into credit trouble. I finally decided to go to proper college and it took a few years to get out of debt. I was 25 when I started college. I was finally ready to really work hard and I got very good grades. In thinking on what I wanted to do with my life I realized that being a doctor was always something I held in high regard but did not think I had the ability. When I realized that I could get very good grades, now that I had grown up a little, I decided to try to get into medical school and was successful. After many very challenging and mostly enjoyable years in school and residency I became a family physician in my mid-30s. After a few more years, I transitioned to emergency medicine (even that late in life I still had made the wrong choice of residency – I should have chosen ER from the start). I have been working in the ER for 16 years, have been a department director and even got a master’s degree at the ripe age of 50. I am happy to have in depth discussions with anyone about college, career, medicine, etc. Find me on FB.

Paul Newton

Dealing With My Family


The quick answer is, “It depends”. The long-term answer is, “Probably not; not in the way you need.”

“Placing loyalty to Jesus above all else can be difficult, but his words cannot be ignored. Family relationships within or beyond the community must not draw us away from following him.”  (Foundations Chapter 6. Life in Community: Children and the Family)

This is going to be a difficult and painful topic to cover. There are essential points you will need to consider as you try to maintain a reasonable relationship with family. The most important point is that the Bruderhof equates “loyalty to Jesus” with loyalty to the Bruderhof.  Your parents individually have made a life-time vow of fidelity to the Bruderhof Church Community. This vow supersedes all normal, natural, “God-given” commitments. Your parents, individually are, quite literally, married to the Church Community. Their loyalty to the Church Community (=Jesus) comes first.  To each other they are sister-and-a-brother-in-marriage. A bedrock promise, once given, cannot be undone. If the promise is broken, the individual member becomes “unfaithful”; a vow-breaker. To place love for the child above loyalty to the Church is a grave sin. Loyalty to the Church is the glue that holds the Bruderhof together; without it, the present structure falls apart. Though your parents may love you deeply they can’t demonstrate their love and show their support in the manner you need and deserve.

When you were born, you were ceremoniously presented to the Community during a Family Meeting. Your Darstellung (presentation) signified to all present that you were “given” to the Church Community. Your parents became your primary caretakers. All other members agreed to raise you in the fear of God. Founder Eberhard Arnold’s teachings make it very clear that the main task of the Church Community is to raise you in the fear of God. Implied is the belief that you will become a loyal Bruderhof member. He taught that if every member took the task of child rearing seriously the child would naturally choose to become a member. He had virtually nothing to say about a possible future outside the Bruderhof. A Bruderhof education is not so much concerned with preparing you for life “outside”, as it is in preparing you to take your proper place within the Church Community.

It is not a stretch to say that your development as an independent person capable of making your own decisions has been arrested. Now that you have chosen to leave the Bruderhof, you must, as it were, “unlearn” those things that stunted your development. This may prove painful, but it is work you need to do if you wish to find your place in wider society. Your relationship with Hof family has changed; it will never again be the same. Your parents will remind you that their First Loyalty is to the Church Community=Jesus. They can no longer advise you about such important matters as your post high school education, career choices, your finances and your relationships. Hence forth your request to visit requires the approval of the Servant of the Word. Your request may be granted with the provision that you agree to visit the Community first, and your family second. You will be asked to immerse yourself in the daily affairs of the Church Community. Your personal needs, especially your emotional needs, are secondary. If this seems cruel you may want to read the story of an early Christian convert, Vibia Perpetua. (BEYOND BELIEF: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, p. 11-13, by Elaine Pagels. Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc.) Here, in stark detail, you learn how an early Christian handled the conflict between loyalty to her baby and her husband, and loyalty to Jesus.

In fairness, it should be noted that in recent years there has been a gradual shift in the Bruderhof’s attitude towards those of its “children” who leave. More recently Hof parents and family members have been granted permission to meet off-Hof with non-Hof family members. Bruderhof parents have attended “outside” weddings. I commend this development even as relational road blocks remain.

Your relationship with your Hof family is affected by another important consideration: your willingness to abide by the conditions placed upon you by your parents and Leaders. Upon leaving, you more than likely were asked to not have any contact whatsoever with former Bruderhof associates. You were warned against contact with “evil KIT folk.” You were warned not to do social networking on face book and elsewhere. You may have been asked not to speak critically about the Bruderhof. If you can meet these conditions visitations may happen. These restrictions are a control mechanism that virtually assures that the leaver will be less than truthful when asked by parents about social contacts “outside”.

It bears repeating that a relationship with Hof family is difficult to maintain once you leave. Natural and so-called “God-given” bonds will never again be the same. You now are entirely on your own. The choices you make are yours. Your parents can no longer provide the emotional support you need and deserve! They cannot satisfactorily resolve past “issues”. You will need to bring these to the attention of the Senior Pastor. Your parents and family members may write cards and wish you well.

Keep in mind that your parents and siblings on the Bruderhof are grieving for “broken” relationship. Much as they may want to, they are not allowed to demonstrate their love for you in personal, deeply meaningful ways. And, when a loved one marries or faces the end of life, you may not be told until well after the fact.

Mel Fros

[email protected]




Community College can be a nice way to get your feet wet, if a larger university and its expenses seems intimidating. Take as many core classes as you can and when you discover your area of interest, transfer those credits to a different college or university. When you do this, make sure your second school will accept ALL your previous credits. Some Community Colleges have good relationships with nearby Universities, this is a good quality to keep an eye out for while applying to colleges.

There’s nothing wrong with state universities or colleges. When all is said and done, it only matters if you have a Bachelor’s degree, not where you got it from. Be aware of student loans, it is better to apply to all other financial aid and scholarships and use that to get you as far as you can. One member of Afterhof says “I took out a student loan the first year after I left. But, because we were never taught about finances at all, or about credit and its impact on your entire life, I ran into trouble. Try to avoid it if you can, and have someone help you learn about how the credit, banking, and financial world works. I was just VERY fortunate that two wonderful girls I was rooming with, took me under their wings and explained everything to me, but I did run into issues with paying back the student loan which has affected my credit ever since”

Speak to the Student Aid department. Any financial aid you can get the better – use loans only as a last resort. Find people who will be able to write a letter on your behalf to the Fin. Aid Office – many of us who share your background can do this. It has proven useful for many in the past. It is much cheaper to go to college directly from the hof. If you work for a while first your income will be held against you when you start college. Meanwhile if you have no income and are essentially homeless or they use your parent’s hof based income, you may fare better with financial aid.

You probably have a better education, a better work ethic (from hoeing beans etc) and know more about nature than most people you will meet. Have confidence in yourself, dream big, be willing to take a long time to reach your goals and to delay gratification (you are good at that too) while pursuing those goals.

Going to school for something you are interested in is a lot more fun than working for a living in a job you hate. If there is some career that you are interested in, there is likely another leaver who is already doing that and can mentor you. Ask around.