"We say 'no thanks' to the dishwasher."
— Amish leader

"Brimming with many children, most Amish homes produce eight or more sets of dirty dishes three times a day. That means at least twenty-four glasses, dozens of plates, and countless pieces of silverware, not to mention pots, pans, mixing bowls, platters, and serving utensils. Just the perfect place for an automatic dishwasher, right?

"But you will not find a dishwasher in any Amish home. 'We don't believe in dirty dishes,' writes Elmo Stoll, explaining why these laborsaving devices are missing from Amish kitchens. 'We just work a little harder to get the task done.'

"The Amish ban dishwashers and other standard appliances for four reasons, according to Stoll in Strangers and Pilgrims: Why We Live Simply. First, he says, Amish people see themselves as travelers on a journey, headed toward eternity. 'If we meant to stay here, it would make sense to accumulate and enjoy all the earthly comforts. [But] this is vanity. We came into this world with nothing, and we are going to leave it the same way.'

"Love for neighbor provides a second reason for living a simple life. 'How can I eat cake, when my neighbor does not have bread?' Stoll continues. 'How can I discard serviceable clothing because it is not in style, when my neighbor is shivering from cold? In short, how can I live in luxury when my neighbor lacks the necessities?'

"Jesus' example provides Stoll with a third reason for simple living. 'When Jesus was here, he left us an outstanding example of simple living. . . . Not only did Jesus set a personal example to inspire us and guide us, he also gave us many teachings . . . [about] the danger of material possessions and the importance of trusting God on a daily basis for our food and clothing.'

"Finally, writes Stoll, forgoing a dishwasher provides work for his children, so they 'have something to do.' Doing dishes, he says, is 'much better for their character than being idle, or expecting others to do things for them all the time.' Plus, he notes, if his family bought a dishwasher, they'd need to get their house wired, and then 'we might as well get all those other laborsaving appliances and devices . . . a vacuum cleaner, a dryer, a toaster, a blender, a microwave, and on and on.' For all these reasons, 'We say "no thanks" to the dishwasher.' "