"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Tell Truth to Power

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Tell Truth to Power

There are new posts under Benefits of Leaving and Elders. I want to thank everyone who writes, and keeps this blog afloat.

I know it takes a measure of courage to put your thoughts out here, particularly if you've been warned not to "find fault." Let me assure you that telling truth to power is essential for living free lives . . . in every sphere.

Now, if you don't want your message to be buried in the archives, you can post it under the current topic -- don't worry it doesn't relate.


  1. I stumbled across this site yesterday. I can't tell you the sense of relief I have felt reading these messages. I left the LLC/SRK group (back in the day it was AALC) 17 years ago when I was 21. It was the most difficult, painful experience of my life. I guess I was a bit naive about the amount of time it would take to heal me. The most painful part for me was giving up everyone - all my friends, most of my family - and those that I still remained in communication with - our relationship was forever changed much for the worse because i was now an "unbeliever." I remember telling someone that when I saw church members it was like looking at photographs of dead people because they refused to see me as a full human being just like them with the same concerns and needs - there was just no way to relate with them.

    Five or six years ago, I used to cruise the Net looking for info on Laestadianism because I was so hoping to have discussions with other people who have left - So I wouldn't feel like I was the crazy one, the only one who was feeling the "sinful" thoughts; the only one who chose to leave. I didn't really find anything and gave up looking (oh there was scholarly info on L. but not a place for ex members). Thank you for keeping this Blog!

  2. WELCOME--isn't it great to find other folks with the same situation? I too have been so grateful that this site was developed for those of us that have left-- and who have to deal with the fallout.

  3. Isn't it funny how the judgement of others can be so painful and annoying. Maybe just because we want so badly for them to understand the FREEDOM we now feel in Jesus Christ, and that we really are living in salvation. I'm from the other side of the "split" of the 70's. I physically left about 6 or 7 years ago but I think leaving and healing will be a life long process.

  4. Thanks to all of you for writing down your experiences and insight about leaving the OALC or LLC you are formerly from. I also have left the church. Not very many years ago and its been a rough road.Like you I have lost many friends and my family who I care about very much. But is is a true blessing to be living in the truth of Gods word. And learning so much that makes it all real. I don't miss the answers to questions that don't make sense. However I do miss the social part, or is it the feeling of being a part of something. With time I know all this will change for the best. But thanks to everyone who writes. It all helps to know I ( my husband and children)are not in this alone. Love in Christ.

  5. Maybe someday we need to have a "I survived the followers of Lars Levi Laestadius" gathering! A hug or a handshake from someone who has walked the same path can sure make the walk a little lighter.

  6. Now that would be a GREAT gathering! We would probably also find out that many of us are related, although maybe a couple of levels removed.

  7. ----or any of the other Apostolic churches.

  8. LLLreader--opps I lost part of my above post. I was saying it would be a good idea to have a potluck get together. That's the kind of thing some folks miss about not being in the Apostolic church. Do a lot of us live in Clark or Cowlitz County WA?

  9. Hi ex-mplsllc, I'm curious, how is the LLC branch different from the OALC, ALC etc? I've seen their website, but haven't been able to pinpoint what sets them apart. The pictures look like they're closer to the alc than the oalc, as far as dress and hair etc. What silly and nonessential things to notice!! but pertinent to my question.

  10. What is the difference? I'm not sure, exactly. The language used is so similar and yet you are right - They aren't as old-fashioned (for lack of a better phrase) in that women don't typically wear buns, can wear pants etc. although they seem to change the definition of "sin" over time. I remember when most women wore buns, when men were forbidden to wear beards. But they say they are "not a church of do's and don'ts or rules or regulations - but that when you have your sins forgiven, and your heart is right, you wouldn't want to do those things" the church deems is sin. Meaning, these are de facto laws, which they won't admit to.

    The more I read here and the lefttheoalc site, the fewer the real differences I can point out. It's amazing when I was reading old postings the poster (Unworthy? I think his name was?) Just how similar the preaching is. Virtually identical! Although they aren't maybe quite so "humble," they still focus so much on having to have all your sins forgiven (confessed to another member) in order to go to heaven when you die.

    I have to say, I wanted nothing to do with God or religion for many years after I left "the church" because my experience left me so mistrusting and fearful of this.

    I did have a counselor to whom I said "I really want to tell God off. I'm so angry." She told me something I will never forget. She said that my being able to make that statement means I must have a deep trust in God - that I feel he would be ok with me being angry with him, and telling him so.

    That was a turning point for me. She was right. And now I'm not afraid of God. All the years I have been unable to be in any church or really think about Christ or read the bible, I know that God knows my heart, he knows where I've been, and that in God's time - not my own time - I will find my way safely home to Him.

    About a year ago, I experienced this. I had been listening to a sermon from a preacher from Church of the Open Door in the Twin Cities and his message finally sunk in for me. That I realized that God loved me so much he sent his Son to die for me, so that I, even with all of my faults and flaws, am still perfect in His eyes. And that is the meaning of Grace.

    I feel such peace with this realization. (I know that current LLCs would say the Devil finally has me now, that I no longer am struggling is proof that I have completely gone to the Devil).

    I also know that even before I had that realization - God still loved me, that he was with me, and that if I died in that state, I wasn't going to Hell. He knew I was doing the best I could - but that I had all these external fears placed in me by my previous experience with the Laestadian Lutheran church.

    God's Peace to everyone reading this. May God be with you.

  11. Thanks for answering. I attend the ALC church. The LLC sounds closer to it than the OALC. One difference being that in the ALC, our churches are quite independent as far as what each one is like. We have some that are very close to how the OALC is and some that are just normal, Christian churches. Meaning you will find Christian sermons spoken, not ALC traditions pushed sermons.(Not sure how to put that.) Unfortunately, there are people within those congregations, and others across the US that would frown on these churches as liberal and following man away from the truth.
    One thing I find most interesting is how all these branches(OALC, LLC, FALC,some ALC) will condemn the others, when they are all so close to each other in their teachings. That is what I was taught growing up... We are the only Christians. (With the exception of some OALC relatives. :-)!)
    Oh yes the forgiveness of sins! That sounds very similar to my(and many others') upbringing. How messed up is that teaching?! You are probably wondering why I still attend. I go to a congregation that has a paid pastor who doesn't believe that way. He's been doing his best to undo the damage from that type of preaching. Including all those lists and the fact that we are NOT the only Christians. It has been such a blessing.
    I grew up in MN too.(currently live in WA) About 2.5 hours north of Mpls. I didn't realize there were other Apostolic branches out there until the last few years. Other than the OALC that is. Interestingly enough, I was checking out the LLC website recently and looking at pictures.... boy does the Scandanavian heritage come through!!
    Are you still located in MN? Have you ever heard of the Plymoth ALC? That is one of the"liberal" ones. That was tongue in cheek, cuz that is how it was looked at when I was growing up. I have'nt been there myself, but things I've heard, makes me think that they simply got tired of all the rules and dos and don'ts and decided to change.
    Anyway I'm glad you're free! It's such a relief isn't it. People with all the rules always talk about their "simple" faith. I find it rather complicated myself. Its like they measure what they call sin.
    God's Blessings to you too.

  12. I'm still in the Twin Cities and I know of the Plymouth ALC because I remember the split in the 70's that caused my cousins and a lot of other little friends to no longer go to the "christian" church, but to go to a different one, either in Plymouth or St. Louis Park?

    By the way, does your branch still sing from the old songbooks that are small paperback, light green in color with a black binding?

    I'm trying to buy 1 or 2 of those as my dad (who is LLC) said that Elmer Alajoki recently mentioned it was ok to sing these "old" songs at home. See, after the 70's split, I remember going with my dad to bible class on the evening they went through that songbook and eliminated many wonderful songs - they were all the songs my dad used to sing to us. I remember him rocking me to sleep and singing "Old Rugged Cross" and "Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy." I want to put a CD together for him and I'm trying to remember the songs (of course I also have to find songs that have no drum or discernable rythm when played(sp) or they wouldn't be acceptable...:) I miss those old songs, too.

  13. Does anyone know anything about the Independent Apostolic Lutheran Church, supposed to be quite large. I've looked for information and have found nothing. I've been following this blog looking for information have a relative married into this church.

  14. I don't recall a songbook of that type, but then I wasn't very old in the 70's. I do recall a dk green hardcover that has been updated to the "red songbook" and now we have a really big dk blue one. But any of those would have most of those old songs in them. I don't think that they took any songs out, just added more. If you look on this blog, click on Apostolic Lutheran Church and it will bring up our website. You can order a book off there. It will be the new blue one, but like I said, I don't think they remove songs, just add them. I do know the 2 you mentioned are in there. Why did they get rid of the old songs? I usually come across people who don't like the new songs. We also publish a small songbook that is used mostly for Sunday school...Heavenly Sunshine. Has many real simple songs in the beginning. I know there were those who disagreed with that one ... the usual why do kids need something different. It also has some songs in it that aren't in the big "Hymns and Songs of Zion".
    Take Care...

  15. When the wind turns even old songs are sometimes taken by the wind and blown away... Also the OALC in America has recently taken out some of the old songs that used to be in its hymnal. And the same thing happened in Norway among the Lyngen Laestadians a decade ago when the more conservative ones liberated themselves from the more liberal ones who had controlled their congregation for a long time. And I'm afraid it will happen soon also in the Finnish OALC equivalent as the conservative winds are getting stronger. The hymnal currently in use in the Finnish OALC equivalent was put together in the early 90s (or late 80s?) when more liberal winds were blowing, and as the wind now has turned, and the power has shifted back to the conservative camp, I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to eliminate some of the songs (or at least the "scandalous" B&W paintings by Rembrandt included in the hymnal...) I think the phenomenon can be explained as a demonstration of power -> "now it is us who decide, not those liberal morons any more".

  16. Of course it can work the other way around, too: "now it's not those conservative morons who decide any more". ;)

  17. Dude from the ALC here. Yes, I also found it interesting to hear the echoes of Laestadius in the speech-patterns of Unworthy and the preachers I heard growing up. I know that some forms of English used by the older people are influenced by the grammar of Finnish. For example, my grandma will often use the construct "go doctors" instead of "go TO the doctor", which is how Finnish works, from what I hear.

    Also, it is true that there are many different forms of ALCer, from very similar (at least externally) to the OALCers in Chassell MI and (maybe to a lesser extent) in the Goin Rd. congregation in New Ipswich NH. Other congregations are more like mainstream Lutherans (maybe LCMS) such as the Laurium congregation. Still others are perhaps even more removed from the older traditions and more generic evangelical like "The Barn" in New Hampshire. Most often, you will find multiple churches anywhere you find ALCers, each catering to a different population (more or less traditional, etc.)

    Rumors I've heard: many OALCers are trying to go more mainstream as of late? Also, the ALC and First Apostolic Lutherans (Heidemans or as other call them, Heidemanians) are thinking of merging?

    I grew up hearing the different groups called by the following names
    Esikoinens or Old Apostolic Lutherans or First Born Apostolic Lutherans
    Heidemans or First Apostolic Lutherans
    Laestadians (SRK?)

    Did others of you have names for the other churches? Did any of them refuse to greet those outside their church with God's Peace?

  18. Hi Vainamoinen ~ (wanted to shorten that, but "vain" didn't seem very polite. :-) ) Yes, I am familiar with the those other names. Out here (WA) many people(outside any ALC branch) refer to anyone who attends a branch as Apostolics. Interestingly enough, many people don't realize that there are 2 different church groups.
    The ALC join up with the Heidemans?! I haven't heard of that. Of course I dont' think there are very many from the 1stAP out here. I have come across a few comments on another blog that would suggest to me that they(1stAP) don't consider us(ALC) to be headed down the right path. But.... who knows, the ALC has quite the range of churches so maybe they do too.
    Refuse to greet others..... My husband's coworkers wanted to know what the secret handshake was all about. They come in contact with the OALC quite frequently. So... he tried to explain, but how do you explain why they wouldn't be included? Not to say that ALC members haven't done the same thing. It's another of the traditions that I have had to sort out. We greet others because we have God's Peace, not because they do. Or rather not because we THINK they do.

  19. I grew up in the AALC (SRK) now LLC. We called the "other" side of the 70's split - the Torola Heresy; I remember hearing about the "firstborn, or kirkkokunta? group. Then I had heard of the Apostolic Lutherans - but I think that was a group that split from our group in the 20's. It's very odd to know there are even more groups out there. I had no idea!