"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: A Short List of Sins

Friday, September 24, 2004

A Short List of Sins

Okay, I'm not up to date on what is being "preached against" in the OALC, but here's a short list:

beach vacations
hotels in lieu of staying with an OALC member
"you're welcome" in lieu of "Thanks be to God"
music, except vocal
photographs hung on wall (albums are ok)
advanced degrees (leads to intellectual pride)
self-study of Bible (see above)
drugs (except nicotine, caffeine and prescription drugs, which are often shared)
attending services in a non-OALC church
trousers on women
long hair on men
short hair on women
jewelry, except wedding ring sets (for women only)
questioning the doctrine
pinball machines
hot tubs
card games


  1. I am not an OALC member, but wonder why you are so obsessed with it still, if you broke away from it. Let them believe what they want. And shorts? As if they can't wear shorts.

  2. Hello "free2bme", and thank you for sharing your experience so that other OALC with questions can see that others have made it through the very difficult transition to ex-OALC.
    To the previous "anonymous" poster, since you aren't a member, I totally understand your comment. But as another ex-OALC, I understand her blog completely.
    When you are a member, it dictates your every move, right down to her list of sins. The church is its own culture, and you are separate from the "world".
    And you are told that the preachers words are from God, so don't question them. You can go to the preachers for guidance on any matter, but don't question. You're told that leaving "the church" is leaving "the Christianity"-- because only OALC are actually Christians.
    If "free2bme" feels like me, this blog is to provide support for anyone from OALC who is scared and has questions.
    I don't think she's obsessed, I think she feels that it's her duty to help others if they want help... And I sure could have used her blog when I was starting my journey to leave.
    Asking comments because you're curious is good, but don't judge her without the whole story...
    "free2bme", I am so happy for you that you got the help you needed to get through this, and hope that people who do want to leave will find the love and support they need, too.
    The internet can have a lot of horrible stuff on it, but it has some really good stuff, too :)

  3. free2bme-- thanks for your post. I'd love to hear more of how your journey went. I've still got family there, so I'm remaining anonymous for their sakes... How'd you find my site? It doesn't show up yet when I do a web search...
    It amazes me that we both started a blog within a couple weeks of each other. My hope is to be there to support anyone who wants it. If they have the will to do a web search, I hope they find us...

  4. Hi, I am another ex-OALCer. My best friend, also an ex-OALCer emailed me your sites! To the first anonymous, I just want to say absolutely everything that is stated here on this site is what actually is believed in that church. Including Shorts are a sin! Believe it! This site is sooo needed! Thank you! As you say, one who has not experienced it can not understand the guilt you live under constantly. If nothing else, if one who hasn't left the church yet stumbles across this site, it may help them to know that they are not the only one feeling like they do. Even to discuss feelings of doubt in "the christianity" would be considered a "sin" if they were to be acted on. Thanks be to God that He always reveals Himself to those who are truly seeking Him and is able to lead them into His Truth and out of cults like the OALC. And the OALC IS a cult. If you look up the definition of the word, it reads as though it were describing the OALC to a tee! Thank you for your frank and honest information and putting it out there where others can find it....IF they manage to have access to a computer!

  5. Please folks... relax about the OALC. Refer to the quote below regarding using such an emotionally laden term such as "cult".

    This actually came from another site on religious tolerance.

    "...if you believe in it, it is a religion or perhaps 'the' religion;
    and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect;
    but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult." Leo Pfeffer. A humorous quotation, but one that is uncomfortably close to reality.

  6. Anon to Anon...

    I have read extensively the various definitions of a "cult", and there are many. All of them depend on your point of view and whether they arise from religious or secular concerns. I have applied a number of tests to the OALC and they consistently fail to consider it a cult. I understand the emotion of the viewpoint but it doesn't add to gaining any clarity. A number of responsible writers on the topic call attention to the fact that it is useful on occasion to use the term as a pejorative. This is often done to cast a shadow over all groups particularly religious ones. Used too loosely... Mexico could be considered a cult.

    I spent nearly a lifetime in the church and have left, but did not then and do not now consider it to be a cult.

  7. Here is the American Family Foundation's definition of cult:
    "A group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.)."

    Whatever you call it, the OALC isn't simply benign. Mental illness, spousal and child abuse are hidden therein.

  8. All organizations have members that exhibit less than acceptable behavior and this fact doesn't help us determine whether or not it is a cult. The very AFF that is quoted above encourages us to be careful about applying the word "cult" to a group and further states that much more study is needed. The guidelines are controversial, wide disagreement on the terms exist, the research is not clear and the proposed yardsticks have not been applied in a way which permits the gathering of standardized data. The quote above that strongly suggests that the word is often used politically to disparage. I am aware of abuse existing in the OALC and do not condone it. It may not be managed well but it is not doctrinally based and not approved of by the overwhelming majority of members. Let's be a little circumspect here.

    Child abuse has been, and continues to be, a societal problem in the US that has been addressed extensively in the past thirty or so years. I suggest that it has existed in thousands of organizations and millions of homes. Are all these cults?

    I have spent some time looking at the issue of mental illness particularly depression. The Scandanavian roots of the original members of the OALC is worth noting. I won't call it endemic but I believe that the frequency of depression in the church is higher than in other groups but this is also the case in Sweden and Finland. Are they cults?

    Former OALC member.

  9. Please look under the comments on Shunning the Sun for the 5 characteristics of a cult and the Laestadians have 4 out of the 5. That qualifies them as a cult no different than Mormons or Jehovah's Witness' in my opinion.

  10. More 'Sins':
    Christmas trees
    ANY holiday decorations
    nativity scenes
    dating or marrying outside the church
    school programs
    speech team participation
    co-ed gym classes
    birth control
    curling or styling hair in anything other than braid or bun

  11. Christmas trees and lights and nativity scenes are still a sin, but, there are other decorations, wreaths, ribbons, snow scenes, wrapping paper, they are acceptable from what I have seen. Birth control is still a sin UNLESS you get a 'permission slip' from your preacher. Halloween costumes are a sin, but I have been told that if the kids go and people still want to give them candy, that's ok. Who wouldn't give a kid candy even without a costume? Just had to add what I have seen to the list.

  12. Where I live-and there are alot of OLAC member here-short are not a sin. Halloween is allowed-but not on Sunday. Costumes are okay-but not with any evil theme. Sports with anyone outside the church is frown upon. Pictures on their walls are making a break through and you are seeing them in some homes. Although, years ago that was really pushed to be not okay.
    It is hard to keep up with all the rules.

  13. Today is Easter, April 16,2006. Well, actually it is the day after because it is after midnight. I have commented a few times on different subjects here. I was just passing through to see if there were any new things to read and found this list of sins. They are/have been/still are/maybe a sin. I get confused. I saw the date and am still amazed that the oalc preaches that they never change. This list is from Sept 2004. In the 2005, 2 stores opened that exclusively sell items to decorate your home in the Houghton/Hancock area, AND they were both opened by women from the oalc. This had to be approved by the preachers. It will be interesting to see what sins/changes will be allowed by, hmm, 2007?

  14. Well, I know that music is still forbidden, even if recommended for therapy after a coronary bypass (musuc has been shown to lower stress). Go figure!