The struggle between family and identity defined the lives of the three twentysomethings profiled on last night's True Life. All from disparate Amish communities, the three were united in their quest to balance antiquated upbringings and their "real world" dreams.

Two of the stories, Torah's and Sam's, concerned precise problems and differences that caused the then teenagers to leave the only homes they had ever known. Reading the New Testament as a young girl, Torah found no theological basis for buggies, bonnets, and barn-raisings, and thought it would be heretical of her to stay. Sam's father was physically abusive and the church community allowed the beatings under the banner of the first commandment.

Most obviously torn by his decision to leave his family was Jonas, who had flip-flopped back and forth between the Amish and English, i.e. modern, world three times since first parting. Citing a supreme internal conflict—being Amish just isn't his thing—Jonas spent the show listlessly listing reasons for and against the lifestyle with friends, before finally cutting the cord... for now.


Though Jonas may have reached an understanding with his family—his outro text stated that he returned in full Amish regalia for his brother's adult baptism, an event that filled him with pride—he is still understandably unsure about his place in the English world. Straddling the two cultures, he is a lost boy, an orphan eking out an existence from the vague certainty that he just is who he is, whoever that may be.