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“the Amish Entrepreneur Show with Torah Bontrager” is a weekly seasonal podcast on re-branding the Amish and establishing a new generation of Amish leaders so we can get heard and add our contribution to the world.  The way we explore and execute on this is by bringing on to the show leaders in all areas of industry who can advise us on how to evolve, specifically through the vehicles of entrepreneurship and academia.  
The theme of last season, the pilot run, was turning tragedies into triumphs.  This season's theme is branding and education.  
What everyone on this show has in common is a story of trauma, hardship, or other challenges.  And last but not least, the underlying silent goal is to collect 1,111 stories of trauma, specifically sexual assault.  I believe that that number of voices speaking out is all that is needed to permanently drastically reduce the rate of sexual assault worldwide.

Mar 9, 2017

James Schwartz, author of The Literary Party: Growing up Gay and Amish in America, addresses dilemmas that challenge every Amish person who wants to leave the church.  He talks about how he had to take personal responsibility to educate himself in order to learn about the outside world and find answers that make sense to him.  James has always loved books and when he was a child, he wanted to skip church and stay home to catch up on his long reading list.  That love for reading led to works like Rumi, Buddhism, Judaism, meditation and other philosophical viewpoints.  

James also answers Torah’s set of questions that she asks every guest on the show: 

  • In one sentence, why did you leave the Amish, your community or situation?
  • What were some of the challenges you faced navigating a foreign culture?
  • What is your guiding principal in life?
  • What is your understanding of forgiveness?
  • What is your definition of acceptance?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Is there a God?


  • A very brief history of Amish origins (we’re immigrants from Europe) and what it means to be Amish (it’s not just the clothes, peeps)
  • James’ message to those inside the church who want to leave
  • Resources for Amish gays who are both inside and outside the church
  • More Trump politics and the Amish connection


  1. James’ Facebook:
  2. LGBT Amish:
  3. Twitter:  @LgbtiAmish
  4. See S1Ep1: James Schwartz on Growing up Gay and Amish in America, Unconventional Schooling and Trump Politics for Part 1 of James’ story
  5. See S1Ep5: Fiona Teng on Breaking the Cycle of Societal & Romantic Traumas—Trauma Doesn’t Discriminate—and How Mindfulness Can Help PTSD & Abandonment for what motivates Fiona to keep working on her personal growth