Hutterite Ordnungen

This multimedia project is provided to help the Hutterite community as well as mainstream society identify and understand certain idiosyncrasies, specifically two cultural rules, or ordnungen, that may be inconsistent with the spirit of the law in Canada and the United States of America.

Some groups, not all, among Hutterite Society do not allow their children to be educated to secondary level, high school. This is a specific ordnung among Hutterite groups in Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as in other jurisdictions in Canada and the United States.

When Hutterite children enter adulthood and decide the communal lifestyle is not for them, and leave the community, to pursue education or otherwise, inclusive of exploring their sexual and gender orientation, their families are intimidated and coerced to shun and disown them by community leadership. Shunning and disowning is another ordnung, and it exists among all groups of Hutterites, to a lesser or greater degree among progressive or traditional groups, respectively, in Canada and the United States.

These two ordnungen are idiosyncratic and inexplicable. They are inconsistently acknowledged and loosely but actively enforced. With the following documents The CACHE Project provides evidence that the ordnungen indeed exist, that they are haphazardly enforced. We also provide context to show that these ordnungen are not harmonious with the rule of law in Canada, the US as well as the western society within which they exist.

The ordnung preventing education is inconsistent with the rule of law because education is widely recognized as a social good. The benefits of education are societal as well as personal. Those who get an education have higher incomes, have more opportunities in their lives, and tend to be healthier. Societies benefit as well. Societies with high rates of education completion have lower crime, better overall health, and civic involvement. Section 23 under the Canadian Charter mandates that the provinces provide education to all Canadians. Hutterites are Canadians. Likewise, similar laws exist in the United States, Hutterites are also Americans.

The Hutterite shunning and disowning ordnung is inconsistent with the rule of law because it is recognized as a hate crime by some of our confidential sources within the Hutterite community, as provided in the documents below. The shunning ordnung can include denying participation at funerals, weddings of close relatives. This process also denies visitation rights for those who leave, with close friends and family.

The latter ordnung also is immoral and inhumane. A human being is born a curious social creature. Canada, the US and every western nation allows freedom of movement within its borders and beyond. This freedom is based on support from a loving family. Without access to and support from a loving family a person can easily become disoriented and traumatized. If the ordnung to limit interaction and support from family is a method of punishment, meant to intimidate and coerce individuals who leave or want to leave; specifically those who decide that the communal lifestyle is not for them, and especially those exploring their sexual and gender orientation, then the ordnung is inconsistent with rights and freedoms enjoyed in Canada and the United States. Under section 319 as well as 423 of the Criminal Code of Canada persons found guilty of enforcing this hateful ordnung could face up to 2 years and 5 years, respectively, in prison.


The CACHE Project recorded communications with leaders from the 4 identifiable groups of Hutterites in an attempt to understand their position on the matter.

Micheal Hofer, Bishop of the Lehrerleut group is a leader from a Hutterite Colony near Kyle, Saskatchewan. Mr. Hofer’s response after our journalist identifies themselves was to state, in German, “You are nobody. You are an ex-Hutterite from the Daruisleut group who wants to cause trouble, and I do not wish to speak with you. Amen, End.” We cannot confirm whether Mr. Hofer anticipates our phone call or whether he indeed knows more or less about our journalist other than the information provided in the recording and the source documents. The source document in his possession does not identify any journalists involved in the project. The Lehrerleut group is perhaps the more orthodox, conservative group on the spectrum within Hutterite Society.

Leonard Kleinsasser, Bishop of Schmiedleut Group 2, is a leader from a Hutterite Colony near Austin, Manitoba. Mr. Kleinsasser’s response when our journalist identifies themselves, no less than 6 times during the recording, as an investigative journalist from Canada, is to continually insist that they divulge personal information. Mr. Kleinsasser then has no comment whether the two ordnungen exist or to what extent they are enforced among his group of Hutterites. Schmiedleut Group 2 and Schmiedleut Group 1 separated during an acrimonious event, or schism, during the 1990’s.

Arnold Hofer, Bishop of Schmiedleut Group 1, is a leader of a Hutterite Colony near Carberry, Manitoba. Mr. Hofer’s response is quite forthcoming on both ordnungen. Mr. Hofer acknowledges that Schmiedleut Group 1 educates their youth to high school level and beyond. Anyone who decides that the Hutterite lifestyle is not for them, is welcome to visit family, friends, attend memorials and weddings of close relatives and friends. Mr. Hofer provides context and detail to both Ordnungen from the perspective of his group. He also provides context to the relationship that his group has with other groups of Hutterites, and it is fraught. Follow-up conversations with Mr. Hofer leave open the opportunity to make official statements in the context of this project as well as among the Hutterite community. Schmiedleut Group 1 are perhaps the more progressive group among Hutterites.

Daniel Gross is a self-identified senior director on a Hutterite School Committee, and a leader of a Hutterite Colony near Rosebud, Alberta. Mr. Gross represents the Dariusleut group of Hutterites. Multiple conversations took place with Dariusleut leadership, including Daruisleut Bishop Joe Wurz, an elderly leader from a Hutterite Colony near Cutknife, Saskatchewan. All of the conversations including the multiple lengthy conversations with Mr. Wurz can be succinctly, accurately and quite acutely summarized with Daniel Gross’s response. The primary outcome of these responses is to reach out to an advocacy group among Hutterites, called the Hutterite Advocacy Committee. This group’s primary purpose is to create misinformation, disinformation and confusion by questioning the journalistic integrity of journalists, typically weak ad-hominem attacks. Their role is not unlike the role of a propaganda ministry within authoritarian regimes. This committee has at its disposal funding for lawyers and law firms, and indeed an unsuccessful attempt was made to silence us using a law firm based out of Winnipeg. This attempt is in direct conflict with the Hutterite edict to refrain from using “worldly legislation” and lawsuits in order to maintain the Hutterite lifestyle. Mr. Gross engaged us with a voicemail as well as an email. The Dariusleut, similar to Schmiedleut Group 2, are perhaps centrist in their perspective on the spectrum within the communal Hutterite lifestyle. Many members quietly educate themselves with a General Educational Development Diploma.

Source Document

The source document referred to in the communications with Hutterite leadership was shared in an attempt to confirm the accuracy of the information from our anonymous sources, as well as to clarify each group’s position within the context of the two ordnungen. This document was titled Hutterite Ordnungen, it was shared via Canada Post with select Hutterite leadership in the United States and Canada: Bishops, Assistant Bishops, Overseers, named individuals within the document etc. During the course of 3 months the document was edited for clarity and to reflect the conversations that took place. It can be found below.


The four distinct groups of Hutterites have no legal or formally recorded characteristics other than their own self-identified preferences within Hutterite Society. Indeed, all four groups are part of the larger registered society, in Canada formally known as the Hutterite Brethren Church of Canada. Hutterites in the US are largely referenced by their affiliations with groups in Canada. This is due to the fact that Hutterites finally established themselves as the communal society that they are now recognized as, in Canada, in 1918. The community was allowed to flourish precisely because of ideas similar to those posited by John Murray Gibbon in his book Canadian Mosaic published in 1938. Henceforth, Hutterites have a responsibility, as Canadians, and Americans, to uphold the same rights and freedoms that are afforded to them.

As with all our projects and as Canadian journalists we respect the privacy of all Canadians, and all persons whom we interact with. Journalists in Canada are provided the right to protect their sources. When the situation is warranted we protect our sources to the fullest extent of the law. As journalists with The CACHE Project we abide by a code similar to that of a doctor, it is to “do no harm”. Our interest is not to harm any individual person, quite the opposite. As such, the information revealed in the recordings and emails published on this webpage is respected for the value that it provides to this important matter. However, we feel that the extraordinary and unbelievable circumstances, the larger conversation surrounding this project motivate us to publish these private messages from persons in leadership positions within the Hutterite community. The larger conversation taking place around this project, and inevitably the conversation devolves into coercion, intimidation or threats of physical harm, is one step removed from the violence, the pain, and the incredible amount of human suffering that happens when hate and trauma is allowed to manifest itself in society.

For more information, questions or comments about this project please reach us via our contact page here


An item of clarification to the Hutterite Ordnungen project involves an attempt by Hutterite Leadership to provide a logical answer to the quandaries that have been raised by the project. Multiple messages were shared, mostly but not wholly, with Daruisleut Bishop Joe Wurz, and alongside the odd threatening nature of some of these messages, the reader can interpret the meaning for themselves. The messages are available in an online share folder at the link below.