"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: OALC Teens

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

OALC Teens

A teacher writes:
"I know there is the stereotype that AL girls get married young and have lots of kids. How much of that is taught by the church, and how specifically? Also, what is the tendency for these girls to have premarital sex? Would it be as high a percentage as the "world", more, or less?"

In my OALC days, the preachers specifically warned against fleshly desires and long engagements, and urged us to find a mate within the church and to "replenish the earth" with children (BTW, the earth is fully plenished, folks). Laestadius has a lot to say about unmarried sex, "whores and whorebucks," some of it crude. No doubt he wanted to shock his audience, but there is a vivid misogynistic streak in his writings. It is notable that LLL was reprimanded for his refusal to serve communion to an unwed mother who, he determined, was insufficiently penitent to be forgiven.

There is no way to accurately assess "the tendency for these girls to have premarital sex" but one should NOT presume that girls who belong to the church are more likely to be abstemious. Reflecting on my "worldly" and OALC girlfriends in the 1970's, I would say that premarital sex was common in both groups. One significant difference is that my OALC friends did not use contraception (that would indicate premeditation instead of being swept away in the moment). Another is that teens who are raised with black/white thinking often swing wildly when they swing. As a teen, my first offers of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and sex were all from OALC teens, not "wordly" friends. The irony was not lost on me!

Some of those early marriages are the result of the kids confessing premarital sex and then being told to marry instead of sin again. Preachers have advised girls as young as 14 to marry, I don't know if this is still the practice.


  1. I have heard it preached that it is not good for couples to marry young, yet when they actually have a situation they advise marriage instead of telling the usually older guy (man) to leave the usually young girl alone for a few years. No... that would never be an option. Not to be crude, but the rules are made by men, for men and they think that whenever they want sex they MUST have it. There are no other options. Girls that marry really young are mostly not capable of chosing the right person for the right reasons. I have heard rage come from these women when they are then in their thirties and have lots of kids. Not all of course, but lots.

  2. It is perplexing to me why so many of these women raise their daughters to have the same life that drove them to into rage and depression. What is it that keeps some parents from wanting better for their children, and helping them to get there? I saw this statistic today: "college-educated women (in the U.S.) have their first child at 30 . . . the average age among women who have never gone to college has stayed about 22." If the OALC wants to discourage teens from marrying, they should encourage college.

  3. As a youth minister in a fairly conservative church called the Church of Christ, I can tell you that I certainly don't think women should get married just because they get pregnant. Well, I'm obviously not a fan of pre-marital sex and I teach the value of abstinance, but I've seen cases where a pregnant woman won't even be given a babt shower if the baby is out of wed-lock! Like it's the baby's fault! Fortunately, most folks in the Church of Christ now understand the hypocrisy in this and are treating the "sinners" (note the irony) with respect and love while not condoning the sin.

  4. I am also perplexed by why these women continue to suffer and raise their children to do the same. There must be tremendous amount of fear. Lack of education could be a contributing factor. It is hard to break free when you don't have the skills to work anywhere. I notice the language skills can be very low. Self-esteem is another contributing factor. When you are raised that you value is producing children, that is what you do. There seems to be a lot of mental games involved.
    It seems to me that the children suffer from these young mothers with many children also. There is much less interest taken by the parents in the child and his/her education by the time they get to number 5,6,7,8,...The children come to school far more needy, the more children they have. The older children are the babysitters. Should you have that many kids when you can't take care of them or have the time for them? They say our children come to school a thousand books short. I don't think some of these children have ever been read to. They are very needy and in need of someone to listen to them and hug them. Their role-models are the older kids smoking and swearing all the time. I guess if you don't value education, it doesn't matter. But they still need a certain amount of basic skills to balance a checkbook or buy groceries.
    If they always (or usually) marry within the church, how do they keep a good bloodline? Isn't everyone related after awhile?

  5. Oh you bet they are! Second cousins marry, and many don't realize they are related until they're already going out. Rather scary if you ask me. Sometimes you can be related on both sides.

  6. A few years ago there were quiet a few underage girls wanting, and sometimes, needing to get married. An underage person must have the courts permission to get married, eventually the court told one of these youngsters to tell their preachers to quit sending the girls in because they were not going to sign any more. Having personally witnesses many of these marriages I can say that some of these young woman were born to be mothers, some have a very hard time of it. As a former OALC, I try to see both sides of the situation, it is easy to generalize, but there are some young mothers who do a better job of raising their families than older more mature couples. I have seen it all and have it all in my family, one side is OALC and one is at the other extreme. I have cousins married, and child molestation, alcohol, and mental illness in my family.I have really enjoyed these blogs, I have been through a lot being raised in the church and getting free from it and getting over the guilt has been a long road. I would encourage anyone who has contact with an OALC, young or old, to simply treat them the same as you would anyone else, few leave the church, but if they do it will be easier for them if they know that there are caring people on the outside.

  7. I don´t want my sexlife to be discussed here!

    Hildur, 74 years. Not married yet.

  8. Also, what is the tendency for these girls to have pre...

    Also, what is the tendency for teachers to ask stupid questions?

    Are You maybe interested in nice details, finnish specialities or maybe strange s.. between teachers?

    (this is quite sensitieve area, I think) Yours FinnJemmy

  9. Wow, I'd say this is a very sensitive subject among OALC'ers. Hildur, what makes you think we'd have enough information to specificially discuss YOUR sex life?

    Honestly, when I was a young girl I was QUITE naive. I was told not to have sex until marriage and it was my plan to follow this. If I went on a date with a church boy, I almost always found he would try to take some kind of liberties with me. Not all of them, but many. I hardly ever dated the same boy more than 2 or 3 times, and I wondered why I could not get a steady boyfriend like the other girls had. I gave up at age 24 and married a "worldly" mostly because all my friends were already married and the guys left my age were interested in 16-18 year old girls, not the "over-the-hill" girls like me. Hmmmmm. Well, blame it on my naivtee, but it turned out the best way to get a steady boyfriend was to have sex with your dates. Since I never did, I guess that is why they gave up on me after a couple of dates.

  10. Sure, you can say what you want about my question of the girls having premarital sex. It so happens I care about the KIDS in my school and it is frustrating for me to see a 13 or 14 year old girl end up being pregnant. I never asked for specifics. But your back;ash is just one example of why young girls are ignorant about the whole topic of sex... "we better not talk about it, they'll figure it out on their own". Yea, when it is too late. How about us ADULTS give some wisdom to the yonger kids.

  11. "It is notable that the final straw for which he was defrocked as a Lutheran pastor was his refusal to serve communion to an unwed mother who, he determined, was insufficiently penitent to be forgiven."

    Ehhh... Are you sure about that, free2beme? I don't think Laestadius ever was defrocked as a Lutheran priest. At least he died as a Lutheran priest, and I never heard anything about him being defrocked at some point of time and then reinstated, either. But he did have problems with the church administration, and also the story about refusing to give communion to the unwed mother may very well be true.

  12. You're right, cuz . . . LLL was reprimanded, not defrocked (my memory went to extremes). Here is a quote from a Hepokoski's sympathetic bio:
    "The Consistory insisted on receiving explanations and decided to formally reprimand Laestadius for his disobedience and the “indecent and improper expressions” in his letter . . . Laestadius now sent the explanations . . . and they were accepted. As for the unchurched girl, she was churched by another pastor and soon gave birth to another illegitimate child. In the account given in his periodical, Laestadius mentions this, adding that it “is no longer any secret” that “she has even committed incest.” Laestadius later retracted this statement, but it was to no avail, for he was eventually fined the rather hefty sum of 300 rix-dollars for making it."

  13. Wow, caring, loving concerned educators are trying there best to understand the culture of OALC children so we can best meet theier needs in the classroom and someone thinks we're interested in s--. If we better understand what is inside the way they are taught to believe outside of school, maybe we can be influential in them finding a different way. Even if it is just 1 student, I would feel it a success. We care about what happens to everyone of our students, and will spend the extra time reading this blog and asking questions so we can do a better job in the classroom. I personally am saddened everyday by the beautiful, intellegent little girls that will not listen to anything about careers. Other students will mention they should be, for exaample, a teacher and their response is, "my parents wouldn't let me". All they want to do is show me baby pictures and tell me they can only get married and have a family. I have nothing against that, except, they have no choice. Maybe some of our questions sound stupid to you, but we have zero experience or understanding of what it is like and we are just trying to gain knowledge.

  14. "is frustrating for me to see a 13 or 14 year old girl end up being pregnant"

    Yes, if that happens its so sad. Maybe I live in differend world because I havent heard that happen. Is it really so huge broblem in the U.S.? Is that specially inside the OALC? Do they sometimes get pregnant also outside the OALC?


  15. Yes, it happens to that age girls... in my school one or two a year. And its both OALC and worldlies.

  16. If you are in Finland, you are indeed in a "different world." The teen birthrate in the U.S., though declining, is by far the highest in the western industrialized world.

    "In 2000, the total number of teen pregnancies in the United States was 84 per 1,000. Compare this with Canada at 38 per 1,000. Sweden and France have even lower teen pregnancy rates than Canada. When compared to other countries, it easy to understand why the United States is considered to have a serious problem when it comes to teen pregnancy.

    Teen pregnancy is viewed to be the cause of many problems. Teen mothers are more likely to not finish high school or college. Additionally, it is estimated that as much as 80% of unwed teen mothers end up welfare. Compared to 25 years ago, pregnant teens are also far less likely to be married.

    A child born to a teenage mother is also seen to be at a disadvantage in society. Newborns of teen mothers tend to have a lower birth weight. As they get older, they are more likely to do poorly in school and have a greater chance of experiencing abuse and neglect . . . daughters of teen mothers have an increased risk of experiencing a teenage pregnancy themselves."

    Interesting statistic: Clark County's teen birthrate (99 out of a 1000) is significantly higher than the national average!