Sometimes mistaken for Amish, Mennonites are a group of Christians that formed during the Protestant Reformation.
Their beginnings were marked by persecution, while the church itself has long been a proponent of peace. And while there are many divisions of Mennonites (also called Anabaptists), most agree on the core tenets of Christianity.
Here are 10 things you should know about Mennonites.
1. The Mennonite denomination is named after Menno Simons
Simons (1492-1561) became a Catholic priest at about 24, but had doubts about some Catholic teachings. He started to “rely on Scripture alone for answers,” and eventually left the Catholic Church to become an Anabaptist, or “rebaptizer.”
He said he did not believe infant baptism was in the bible and studied the works of theologians Martin Luther and Heinrich Bullinger. After his brother, an Anabaptist, was killed in 1535, Simons left the Catholic Church. He became an influential man among Anabaptists in the Netherlands and northwestern Germany. Considered a heretic, Simons was constantly persecuted and those who helped him were often executed. However, by 1544, the term “Mennonite” was used to describe Dutch Anabaptists. Mennonites became a new movement known for adult baptisms.