There has been some debate as whether the Mennonites are the same as the Hutterites.
I want to quote a source that I believe will set out the difference between the believers of these two groups. The following comes directly from the back of the 2003 Schmeckfest program.
"The Mennonites were a part of the Protestant Reformation movement of the early 1500's in Europe. They believed what Martin Luther in Germany and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland did was correct, but did not go far enough.
The Mennonites were part of the movement that believed that church and state must be separate. Today in America that is the accepted concept, but in the 16th century Europe that was a very radical idea. As part of the concept they rejected infant baptism. Infant baptism at that time represented "membership in the church" and "citizenship in the country." They believed that baptism must take place only after one has reached the age of accountability and can decide for himself/herself whether to be part of the church. Thus the Mennonites were labeled "Anabaptist".
The Mennonites also rejected all forms of violence, including capital punishment by the state, conscription by the military, or self-defense. Their belief was that God has given life to all humanity, and only God should take life from humanity.
Because of sever persecution, some Mennonites fled Europe for America as early as 1683. The Mennonite groups living around Freeman, South Dakota were part of the movement that migrated to the Ukraine of Russia in the 1770's and then migrated to Dakota Territory in the 1870's. There are ten Mennonite Churches in the Freeman, Marion, and Bridgewater, South Dakota area.
The Hutterites come out of the same "Anabaptist" movement of the Protestant Reformation of the 1500's as the Mennonites. Their beliefs are similar to the Mennonites although somewhat more conservative. They believe in separating themselves from society and in the communal ownership of all property, thus they live in Hutterite Colonies.
There are approximately 35,000 Hutterites living in 350 colonies in the western United States and Canada. There are 52 Hutterite colonies in South Dakota, the nearest being 10 miles west of Freeman, South Dakota".
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