"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: News from Battle Ground

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

News from Battle Ground

I'm still reviewing old posts and will restore more as time allows. As I read, I am examining my motives for each post. They aren't always lofty, I confess. Fundamentally, however, this site provides what was intended, a safe place for people to talk about the OALC and to offer support to each other. Help me keep it real, and keep it loving.

A friend sent me this letter to the editor in the current issue of The Reflector, Battle Ground's newspaper.

Tolerance in religion is suggested
I was born in New York City and raised in a Finnish neighborhood. I remained in that area for many years.
I recently learned of a Lutheran Apostolic Church, with people of Finnish descent constituting the majority, located in the Battle Ground area. To my distress, I learned these “Christians” insult people who do not belong to their congregation or uphold their cultish taboos. One woman told me her children were told their mother was a whore because she wore make-up. Is this religion? Would Luther condone such behavior?
If the Taliban cult moved to Battle Ground, their actions and speech would no doubt be similar to this “apostolic” church. I hang my head in shame knowing that people like these are of Finnish descent, when Finns in their own country are known to be the most literate and educated and politically liberal people of Europe, if not the world.
Norma Lahti
Vancouver, WA


  1. I love your sight and very much respect your concern over offending a family member, it says a lot about you. Regarding this letter in the reflector, one needs to be careful not to paint the whole Battleground congregation with a wide stroke, I'm sure the majority of mothers wouldn't go around telling their children that women who wear make-up are whores. I realize this wasn't a post from any regulars on this site. Comparing them to the Taliban I thought was a little over the top. I have family members in that congregation who are awesome people. I may have completely different religous view than theirs but that's OK I can deal with that.(your sight helps me deal with it btw)

  2. Thanks for your comments. I agree that the comparison to the Taliban is extreme. While the OALC may have similar rules regarding music, TV, hair length, etc., they are not enforced at the point of a sword.

    I'm curious: what do you think the reaction to this letter will be? WIll it be discussed at gatherings? Dismissed entirely? Or will its nugget of truth create some soul-searching?

  3. Plain and simple:

    It is ironic that there are people being killed for Christ all over the world; meanwhile the OALC imagines an editorial and an ad to be persecution.

    There has to be those seeking souls, though, in whom seeds are being planted.
    I was one.

  4. I agree that they will look at it as persecution. Since it is a bit extreme it will be easy for them to brush aside. It would be nice if a few of them could soul search a bit about how the community sees them. I was always taught that one shouldn't bring shame to the christianity. I think there is a touch of shame in this editorial. The way the writer signed off didn't help since 99.9% of the OALC is politically conservative(I am as well) and thinks too much education is a detriment to the salvation of the soul (I don't).

  5. I was surprised to see the editorial in the Reflector. The community at large in this area will generally just dismiss such comments excusing the offense because "they are just that way". I have experienced the same insults, although they were directed at my children and only because we do not attend the OALC. It takes such a small mind to believe that God created the heavens for a small group of Finnish people!

  6. I imagine the editor of The Reflector is going to take some heat about the article. I think it's good to have some comments out in the open about the way some of the OALC treat people outside their church. I think persecution would be a good word for it--"you don't follow our teachings so you are damned to hell." "If you go to a church outside the OALC--it's a dead faith church". I think this persecution thing goes both ways. The saddest thing I see is the way some parents just cut themselves off from children who leave the church. Those kids should be praised for being able to trust that the Lord will be with them and guide them and show them a healthy way to live. God bless those kids, no matter how old they are when they see the truth -- God is too big to be contained in one small group.

  7. I have been wondering if this would be a good place to take a closer look at some of the OALC's teachings. It's wonderful to be able to hear about the experiences of folks who have left the church. It can be a lonely scary thing to search your soul and realize that what you have been taught is a doctrine that is as full of holes as Swiss cheese. One teaching I never really understood is that this is the ONLY right church. Where did that belief come from? What about women having to wear scarves? Anyone have any answers?

  8. They think it is the only right church because Laestadius says so. Scarves are a tradition and a custom. I have heard two different preachers be asked that question and their answer was that it is a custom. Not Biblically based although they site 1 Corinthians 11 as why they have to wear them. That text does not mean what they think it says but you have to know the meaning of the original language. In verse 10 it says a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. A scarf on her head because of the angels? That does not make sense if one thinks that is what it means. It means something else.

  9. Many years ago I asked my father why women must wear scarves. He told me it was an act of humility because the bible says a woman's hair is her crowning glory. He said that women should always cover their hair, and it was especially important during church services. I guess the idea is that women should not flaunt their beautiful hair. This is tied into the wearing of buns, also. My father told me women wear buns to reduce vanity. Because the buns come out at night( older generation for sure) and are put back in before breakfast, the only person to enjoy that crowning glory is the husband.
    I am using the only source I have, my father, a life-long member of the OALC. I would be interested in hearing what others know about this.