62: RED CHRISTIANS #5 Hutterites (16th century – today)



These pacifist Christians emerged from the German Anabaptists in the sixteenth century. They were protestants who practiced adult baptism and believed in the separation of church and state, as well as in the primacy of individual conscience. Indeed they based their church very closely on the early centuries of Christianity as they saw it.

Because of persecution in Germany all 800 Hutterites migrated to the US between 1874 and 1877. There they set up colonies (“Leuts”) in S. Dakota. By 1917 there were 17 “Bruderhofs” (dwelling places of Brothers)  in existence. By 1980 they had expanded to 25,000 people in 100 colonies in the US and Canada.

Their practices include

  • total sharing of goods
  • communal dwellings
  • communal dining halls
  • rejection of worldly distractions and separation from the world
  • self-sufficiency in food
  • some use of machines e.g. tractors and electrical equipment
  • speaking german
  • refusal to support warfare.


Today they are one of the fastest growing communal groups in North America.



Morris, J.M.,Kross,A.L. “Historical Dictionary of Utopianism” Scarecrow Press (2004)

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