Their first book told about why they left their Hutterite colonies in Manitoba and North Dakota.
Their second book, Since We Told the Truth, relates everything that came after — including answering the many questions posed by readers of the first book, Hutterites: Our Story to Freedom.
The Nine, a group of former Hutterites turned authors, will be returning to Red Deer’s Chapters store for another meet-and-greet session from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 6, with copies of their second collective memoir.
One of the nine, Sheryl Waldner of Manitoba, said she’s really looking forward to coming back to Red Deer, where about 100 people showed up last year to buy copies of the initial book about the friction caused when the nine left their colonies to experience personal and religious freedom.
“People would approach us at our book signings like they know us, like they’re part of our family, they were so friendly and encouraging.”
The authors were asked “What do your parents think of the book?” and “How did the nine of you come together?” Some people also questioned why the ex-Hutterites felt they had to leave their colonies for religious freedom.
“They would ask: Aren’t Hutterites Christian?” said Waldner.
The answer to the last question is, yes, they are, but the complications of listening to services in German and feeling no response from church leaders to their individual needs is recounted in detail in Since We Told the Truth, said Waldner.
How their parents felt about the first book has varying answers. Fellow author Glenda Maendel said her mother, who has remained on the North Dakota colony, has some understanding of why she left, but her father, a colony leader, doesn’t — and may never understand.
Maendel, who also caused waves by marrying a non-Hutterite, stresses that she loves Hutterite people, but not the colony system.
Waldner and Maendel say they felt a responsibility, as Christians, “to share God’s truth.”
Among their memorable experiences, recounted in the book, was going on a Christian mission to Liberia in Africa.
“Since I left, I’ve felt more joy, more victories,” said Waldner, who hopes their memoir of the last seven years can be used to help other people, regardless of religion or personal challenges, also make a positive change in their lives.
More information can be found at www.thenine9.com.