"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Dating & Marrying as a Former Laestadian

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dating & Marrying as a Former Laestadian

Thanks to Ilmarinen for suggesting this topic: "What was your family's reaction if you dated or married someone outside the LLL church? Did you worry about not having the same type of relationship your parents had (more or less divorce, different gender roles, different ideas on reproduction, etc.) How did your worldly significant others react to your family, the LLL church, and the Laestadianisms still within you?"

I'll set the tone here and answer in detail, which makes much juicier more interesting reading.

At 16, I became besotted with a "worldly" boy, the handsome college freshman son of our neighbors. My parents forbade me to see him, which a parenting expert might have told them (they wouldn't have listened), is counter-productive. I snuck out. I lied. I invented "special projects" that kept me "at school." That first love was so intoxicating, it is a wonder I was able to finish high school, because I thought about him constantly. He felt similarly. He was a good boy, and was really tormented about seeing me against the will of my parents, even though all we did together was hold hands, gaze at each other soulfully, study the Bible, take walks, and listen to the Commodores. "Three times a lady" seemed dangerously exotic to my inexperienced ears.

He tried to ingratiate himself with my folks, offering to help haul firewood and whatnot. They were civil and I suspect they actually liked him (my grandmother positively melted when he showed up with a dozen red roses on my 18th birthday), but he was absolutely not welcome in our home. His family adored me, and the contrast was not lost on me.

Finally, I was allowed to see him one weekend, to bring him to church. This required a long drive and an overnight stay, with me, ostensibly, at a cousin's house and him in a hotel room. Need I say more? Risky, defiant, exhilerating, memorable. And stupid. If I had become pregnant, I probably would have married that young man, who was so eager to make me his wife. My life would have taken a very different course.

That same year, in some kind of weird quid pro quo, I agreed to go out with an OALC boy on a date arranged by our mothers. What a disaster. I can't remember what we did (restaurant, bowling?) but I remember in detail his brand new truck and how the evening ended, with me fending off his sudden lunge and demanding to be dropped off. Years later, I would find out that my older sister had experienced something similar with his older brother! Turns out these boys had reputations my parents probably knew about, but given the stakes (heaven/hell), they had decided they could live with.

I never dated another boy from church and rarely talked to any, as we lived so far away. From a distance, they all seemed too wild or too backward. Unfair generalizations, and I suppose I had already made up my mind. But surprising even myself, after I left home and started college, I broke it off with my forbidden paramour. Why? Ironically, he was too . . . OALC! By that I mean traditional. He wanted lots of kids, soon, and did not think it was necessary for me to go to college and travel and explore the world. As I proceeded to do, with fits and starts.

After that, I dated just about whenever I was asked (not often enough) but rarely spoke about my upbringing. I was worried, I suppose, that it would be a great turnoff, and furthermore, I hadn't processed it very much. A guitarist I befriended in a church youth group became closer than most. He dashed my hopes by marrying someone else (a decade later, he kindly came to my wedding as a surrogate brother!). I am still good friends with a Finn (extract, that is) whom I dated a few times before we realized we were too alike for sparks to fly. He is now godfather to our kids. His large family had never heard of Laestadius, and they like to think of me as "the country girl who came to the city."

While I defiantly dated outside my race, religion, and class, and enjoyed friendships with a wide variety of people, I despaired of finding anyone with whom I could really connect. I was a stranger in a strange land. Just when I had resigned myself to solitude, I met someone whom I couldn't (resist though I tried) get out of my head/heart. It felt like destiny, and after a while we moved in together, prompting some very upset phone calls from the folks. He wanted marriage, but why did it terrify me? I was afraid of ruining what was the most wonderful relationship I'd ever had. Eventually I would introduce him to my folks (a funny memory: he was going to put on a suit and tie to meet them, but I insisted that he wear his old jeans, knowing that fancy would not make as trustworthy an impression as axle grease!). We were together so many years that everyone assumed we were married, and finally I knew we must be. (When I try to remember exactly what I feared about marriage, I can't. A therapist once suggested it was fear of losing my identity again to an institution. Maybe.)

Sadly, when we sent wedding invitations to my OALC kin (with postage-paid response cards), they didn't reply. Their silence spoke volumes. (Later, when I opened a wedding package from my parents, inside was an OALC hymnal. I already had two . . . but you can never have too much of a good thing, right?) Fortunately, my exOALC sisters and their children helped us celebrate that day, and pledged -- as we asked all our wedding guests to do -- their support through the ups and downs of our marriage. They've honored that pledge.

As for my spouse's reactions (to my family and whatever shreds of Laestadianism I retain), they have always been mild, sometimes bemused, sometimes upset on my behalf, but always encouraging of a respectful relationship with my family. He finds my history unusual and interesting, but no more or less so than his own. He willingly visits my family but doesn't invest emotionally in what would be a very one-sided relationship. It is not really an issue for us.

Except in this: I've often thought that just by being in my husband's loving presence over the years, I've gained an immunity to unhappiness. By osmosis, I've absorbed some healthy attitudes that serve as antidotes to all that Laestadian fear. Perhaps this would have happened without him. Regardless, I feel blessed.

Okay, your turn!


  1. I was pretty isolated growing up and didn't start dating until my early twenties. My late start in dating was partly that I wasn't sure what I thought about the LLL church, so for several years, I didn't feel right dating anyone from within the church, but wasn't ready to date a worldly girl. Actually, the first person I dated was someone who has posted on here and had left one Laestadian group to likely join another. Although that relationship didn't go too far, it was a step forward for me.

    Now, it's unlikely I'll pursue relationships with anyone with ties to the LLL community, so I'm curious to hear what others in my shoes have experienced. Even though I don't care too much anymore what people from the LLL community think of me, I know I'll get negative comments. The LLL'ers warned me my first girlfriend --a relatively conservative semi-Laestadian-- it'll be interesting to hear what they say when I really date someone worldly:) Ever since I first remember, I was always warned against dating "unbelievers," so it's a huge community taboo. It'll probably be my parents and family who pay most for my breaking it, because I'm moving further and further out of reach of the LLL condemnation.

  2. that should say:
    The LLL'ers warned me my first girlfriend --a relatively conservative semi-Laestadian-- was too worldly, so it'll be interesting to hear what they say when I really date someone worldly:)

  3. I'm wondering how they will pay for it? Will their LLL friends look down on them, do you think? I've always wondered how that plays.

  4. Here's my take on it. In the LLL context, to raise a child who goes into the world is a failing, even if that child becomes an upstanding person otherwise. The facade of perfection is cracked. But now that I think about it a little more, there have been many highly respected LLLers who've retained their status even after losing some of their kids to the world. So perhaps the payment is minor.

    The most I remember about payment was from one man who chose to avoid preaching for years because his kids went into the world. Another preacher regularly lamented his wandering children's ways. But both preachers and their wives were still fully respected and accepted in the community.

  5. Does it not all boil down to:

    Whose life are you going to live?

    How others think you should live,
    including church and family or
    your own convictions.

    If you are true to yourself, but
    causes family and friends to
    shun you, I see no other choice
    but to stick to your guns.

    After all its your life and soul
    at stake. To rely on others to
    make these decisions for you is
    a betrayal of self.

  6. Dear Troll,
    Yes, it is a betrayal of self, but we are not alone in this world. We are tied to everyone we grew up with, are related to, or became friends with as adults. There is a physical, emotional, even psychic connection to all these people. For myself, I don't see how I can make these decisions in isolation...still working on it!

  7. "Whose life are you going to live?"

    The answer is obvious: we must live our own lives. But even when we are strong enough to do that, there will still be some hurt when we are judged or condemned by those we love.

    For example, I won't have weddings like many in the LLL tradition have. Although their weddings are fine for them, I will not choose to stress the strict gender roles, male headship, and marriage as an example of the relationship between Christ and the Church. The focus will hopefully be on the relationship of the two people getting married, not primarily on church doctrine and secondarily the actual bonding of two people together.

    And from the experience of others, I know for a fact that I will be judged for that choice. It doesn't mean I will change my mind, but it hurts to know people will very possibly condemn my choice from the pulpit, in the kitchen, over the phone, and wherever else LLLers gather.

  8. I have not only brought "worldly" boyfriends to church, I once had a boyfriend who was not only a foreigner, but also a person of color.

    Can we hear audible gasps yet?

    Free, it sounds like you grew up a lot like me. I.e. in a laestadian home without a laestadian community, so you had to travel to get to church? How far was it for you to get there, and did you get their often? I think that is a big mistake on your parents part, as it was for mine. If church was really so important, why didn't they surround you with your community? To expect children to feel okay about fitting in neither place--with the laestadians because of physical distance--and to also abstain from the world--puts the children in the position of belonging to no one, nowhere, and that was distressing to me growing up. The choice of where we lived was my fathers, who was laestadian by birth, but lived a worldly lifestyle when his wife's and children's backs were turned. Not easy for any of us kids.

  9. It was a three-hour drive to our LLL church, and we made it only once a month, if that. Sometimes preachers would visit (we had several in our extended family) and we would have meetings in our living room.

    I think the OALC had some unattractive aspects for my parents, in spite of their commitment to it. The Minneapolis '60's heresy brouhaha may have driven them to a new locale and then to its periphery. The personal scrutiny and gossip in their community might have been a factor. I remember my parents arguing about whether it was okay to work on Sunday. In the country, no one can see you cutting wood or repairing your car.

    One outcome of our move was that my parents became more and more orthodox, as if distance required a firmer hand on the wheel. While my older siblings remember (for example) listening to the car radio, by the time I was born, it had become taboo.

    I'm curious about your dates' reactions to your church. Bored? Interested?

  10. The foreigner I brought to the church actually REALLY liked it, and continued going a few times after we broke up, but he wouldn't even consider changing his own religion because his parents would have had a cow (not to mention that they sort of worshipped them, cows that is). I think after a while people did get used to the dark skin too. There were a few guys who did seem to heckle and tease him a bit about his accent but the girls thought he was gorgeous though they wouldn't personally date him.

    After that, I dated and married a guy from my home community but not from church. I think my parents were very relieved that he was actually white, not like the last couple boyfriends I had had. Anyway, the new boyfriend who became my husband loved the church and the social aspect of it, but after several years he left me for another woman, and thus quit church because his new girlfriend was very devoted to her particular form of non-Laestadian Lutheranism.

    Now I'm engaged to a Finnish-born agnostic-nearly-to-the-point-of-athiesm. He goes to church with me to talk Finn to the old guys and to eat brownies, basically, but I don't see him ever converting. That's fine with me. I probably don't believe the way I am supposed to anyway, but there are still many things I like about church. I'm a Pollari, and Pollaris are not so restrictive. Women can be and are educated and we don't have to have so many children unless they're wanted. My suomalainen man says we're "laestadie-light." I'm an oddball wherever I go, and I neither feel at home in the world nor even at church sometimes.

    I HAD wished to marry someone from church. When we traveled around to church when I was in high school, I dated a lot of church boys. I couldn't WAIT to graduate from high school and move to a more populated urban center with lots of church people and kin. Thats all I was living for in high school and abstained from drinking, dancing, and all kinds of taboo living. I moved the day of high school graduation to the big metropolis! Thereafter, I never got to date a church boy again, because I was never again asked. I don't know why, but I suspect a cousin who was jealous of me for some reason spread some seemingly unsavory gossip about me, but no one has ever had the nerve to tell me what it was she said, it was just hinted at, and it hurt too much to ask. I still don't want to know. I don't know what I did wrong if anything. I was good-enough looking and nice, so am not sure why? Eventually I got lonely, and started accepting invitations from worldly boys, and have continued going to church.

    Of course, in later years I emerged single again with a child in tow, and since I had lost my slim girlish figure, there really were no takers for a divorced chubby lady in her 30's. Not a one.

  11. I have never dated anyone from outside the church, but if I did, I'm sure my families initial reaction would be one of horror. However, with time dating someone outside the church would be a good thing for them, since there are many wonderful people in this world and me dating one would be a great way to show them there are beautiful people outside of the church as well.

  12. Interesting discussion. I think I know people who have fit pretty much all of the roles described -- living at distance from a church, dating outside church and race, etc.

    I was lucky in that my mother was raised FALC, so when my FALC confirmed but OALC raised father married her, it was almost like a mixed marriage back in 1939. The community I was raised in had more of these "mixed" marriages than any other OALC community of which I was aware. I can think of several marriages where the husband was non-OALC, but who attended church faithfully with their families for years and years. It was in later years -- the 70s and beyond -- that a "preacher" was chosen to lead the community and who preached a message that was nothing but hatred toward these people. He is the one I've mentioned before that caused my mother to leave the OALC when he, in her words, condemned her whole family to hell while hiding behind the altar.

    I dated a few OALC girls and a larger number of non-OALC girls in high school, and that was fine with my folks. I think pretty much everyone growing up in that community dated outside the church -- although probably more of the boys than the girls. Very rarely did any of the outsiders come to church, even after some of them got married. Sometimes the OALCers continued coming to church, sometimes not. Whether they did or not, there wasn't any "shunning".

    I then actually dated the daughter of one of the prominent OALC preachers for more than a year. She and I drifted apart but remain good friends to this day.

    After I married my Catholic spouse and headed down that path, I still continued to socialize with my OALC friends -- and still do to this day, although I live far from most of them so don't see them often. I took my wife to church a few times after we got married until she got tired of hearing the aforementioned "preacher" rant about the Catholic church. That's when I walked out as well.

    I guess I was ostracized more by my own two sisters than anyone else. One of them in particular -- who is herself married to the nicest non-OALC person you could ever meet (and who will never convert to OALC as he's a good Methodist) -- can be pretty catty at times. It's amusing because when she was young and single, she tipped a bottle at many of the same parties I did! Oh well, I love her anyway!

    Speaking of tipping bottles, I think that a discussion about attitudes toward that and dancing and gambling and all other other things on the slippery slope to hell would make an interesting conversation as well. Waddayathink, Free?

  13. Many Trails Home6/05/2006 01:15:00 PM

    This topic has generated some fascinating postings, starting with you, Free. My sisters were also victims of viciousness generated by female cousins and as a result, could not attract a boyfriend within the OALC. I personally felt socially "out" due to lack of beauty and money for decent clothes (my mom said to attract a "Christian" boy, it was more important to be a "good Christian." BS. What planet was she living on?) I briefly did date one OALC boy / man, one of the family who eventually created the Minneapolis 'heresy.' I thought him odd. He eventually married another local girl and had at least a dozen kids (whew, dodged that bullet!).
    As a high-school Junior, I began dating a college guy, sneaking out, etc. Rather ugly, really. When my mom found out, she slapped me (the only time). I did marry him at 19 after one year of college and crossed the country with him, divorcing him at 28. He was never accepted, of course, but it didn't matter as I was relatively estranged from my family myself during those dark years. MTH

  14. MTH,Was that Minneapolis 'heresy.' in 1975? What do you know about it?
    I'm curious 'cause I may be from part of that family. (the younger generation)

  15. I'm also interested in those events. When I asked my mom about it last year, her response was the typical "they just wanted more allowance for sin". The blanket answer for everything.

  16. Thanks for sharing your story, free. Parts of it are similar to my own, and other parts different.

    My family also lived far away from the laestadian congregation we attended. It was a long drive, and I've often wondered if that physical distance contributed to my feelings of being an outsider even at a relatively young age. Maybe if I had been "in the neighborhood" so to speak I would not have felt like an outsider, and would not have come to question the laestadian community and its values.

    Dating. I was tempted to say that I didn't have issues with dating, because I didn't date at all until I was away from home at college. However I think now that part of the reason for this was because laestadian related values had created a tendency to seek perfection in dating candidates, and impossibly high standards.

    Before even considering asking someone out on a simple first date, I'd be asking myself, "Is this person marriage material?" And of course, "would my parents approve?" Thinking like this short-circuited the process and I ended up cheating myself out of a lot of relationships that way. I don't have too many regrets in life, but I truly regret missing out on as much as I did because I was all bogged down in extreme and oppressive religious ideology.

    I don't know if the story I'm about to share is funny or sad, but I dated someone from the ELCA for about a year while I was in college. I brought her home for the weekend, and of course we would all be attending church. I had clued her in about some of the attitudes, especially the dress code.

    Much to my surprise she owned a cotton print dress that had a hemline below the knee, and she stopped wearing her earrings for about a week prior to the visit so that the piercing would begin to close a little and not be so noticeable. This, along with leaving the makeup behind for the weekend caused her to look downright laestadian, and she made a very favorable impression on the folks at church.

    I guess it just goes to show how wonderfully "flexible" everyone could be when people are willing to bury their real views and conform to the prevailing groupthink.

    I ended up marrying another ex-laestadian. I didn't set out to do so; she was a friend of a friend, etc. In some ways it is a real plus to have someone who you know has been through the same issues as you. On the other hand we both have a lot of laestadian baggage, and end up caring too much about what other people think.

  17. As far as the cousin who "smeared" my name in our big-city congregation, I have since forgiven her. She reacted out of fear. She was 23 and SCARED OUT OF HER WITS. Why was she scared? She wasn't married yet. Her sole goal in life was to marry another person from church and have children. When I first moved in with her, her first reaction was a sarcastic, "Great...now I've got to watch you go out with all these guys who never ask me out anymore and know I'm rotting on the vine." At 23, cripes! She could have done anything, enrolled in community college and started a career, travel, or a number of other activities, but she wallowed in self-pity over her impending singleness. She made sure she took me down with her, that was for sure. She felt as a single person, she would not have a place in church society and that she was destined to have to live "vicariously through others who married and were raising children." The college girls at church of today (rather than the single working ones) don't seem nearly as desperate to settle down so young and there are many couples now who wait until their mid to late twenties to get married, or who maybe get married young but postpone having kids for several years.

    I feel sorry for that cousin, and remember how very depressed she was at the tender age of 23 when she really saw her whole LIFE passing her by if she didn't marry. She did end up marrying a guy from church--at age 34 and ended up having 5 children anyway.

  18. Dear Tomte,
    I lived "in the neighborhood", as you put it, having three families of cousins and numerous other OALC families within two miles, and yet I felt like a second-class citizen. As I've worded it from my adult perspective, I was an outsider among outsiders. It all depends on the group. Ours was competitive and vicious, with only certain people making the cut. I'm not sure what the criteria were!

  19. Many Trails Home6/06/2006 05:15:00 PM

    It seems to me you had to be "cool", whatever that meant. Interesting that even in the OALC you had to be "cool" to attract a desirable mate, no different than being "in the world." There were just a lot more restrictions on how much you could modify your physical inheritance to improve your marketability, and if you were not naturally blessed, you were at a major disadvantage. Being beautiful, relatively "rich" or (most fortunate of all) blessed with an attractive older brother!!! seemed sure tickets to "coolness." What do you think? MTH

  20. MTH, I agree with you. I'll add that I think the disproportionate number of females to males within our congregation lead to the competition, as it would in any close-knit group. The males were treated as gods, or very nearly, anyway, and so they acted rather cocky and superior.

  21. I think the 1975 heresy someone mentioned was relating to the division between the FALC and the LLC, which actually took place in 1972 or 1973. The major divider?? The LLC'ers didn't want TV's in their homes and didn't want their children to play school sports. This is why the FALC was "more lenient" to sin, although most FALC'ers do not have TV's in their homes anyway. However, its sad that something like that would divide a congregation.

  22. LLLreader: To the anonymous poster who mentioned the term "laestadie-light"--thanks for a wonderfully funny way to describe those who go to the LLL churches as a matter of form, rather then belief. Don't think of yourself as an oddball--think of yourself as clever and adventurous. That's the way I see you. You get some good things out of going to your church, and the "Finn poy" gets brownies--what could be better? Blessings Dear--you are a good force in this world and those church boys just missed out!!

  23. As a former FALC who still visits with many, I would guess that 90 to 95% have TV. Probably 75% have it in the bedroom. Thats to save face you know! I have a good friend who is still too afraid to leave the FALC even though she doesn't believe in the preaching. She never married because the boys and later FALC men didn't ask her. She was asked by men outside of the church but could never bring her self to date them. She is now in her seventies and never married. She probably shunned her soulmate because he wasn't FALC. Sad hey? I think she now regrets it. I married outside but struggled with leaving for 20 years after that. My immediate family is accepting but would have been happier if I had married a clone.

  24. Interesting discussion... As an ex-FALCer, it always catches my eye whenever someone refers to the FALC on this blog. Then I find myself trying to figure out who the person is. (human nature, I guess) So far I have not been able to figure out who anyone is. Of course, I am doing the same thing you are by posting and not revealing myself. I am ok with not knowing who is posting.

  25. Being LLL Cool, what a concept! I was trying to wrap my head around that one in one of my earlier postings but it seemed ridiculous to try to explain how to be "cool" in an LLL church so I gave up.

    Some of the girls at my church were so beautiful they looked like runway models. That certainly got them dates. But there were more dumpity girls who also got dates, too. Some of them had "reputations" deserved or undeserved, I don't really know. I know as an adult there was a lot more sex going on that I sure did not know about the time, being a babe from the woods.

    Seems like for guys, they had to have a nice car and act manly.

    But for guys or girls, it was MOST important to come from the "right" family. I.e., the "Anderson" boys were cool, but the "Heikkipoika" girls are not. The right families seemed originally to be the right families because of the grandpa being a preacher but sometimes just because the family had more money and maybe even a white-collar job in this blue-collar society.

    If a girl was really beautiful (or sometimes if a boy was exceptionally handsome) they might date anyway, even if they're not allowed to hang with the other LLL Cools. If you weren't exceptionally good looking and NOT from the right family you just might have yourself a hard time. There were "Anderson" boys were were as ugly as trolls but because they were "Andersons" they still got dates. And I don't remember anything redeeming in their personalities, either.

    I think the cool factor might have gotten a bit turned around the last few years for economic reasons. Some of the guys who went to college or were handy with computers are actually a bit better off economically, and I keep watch to see if their kids will be the New Cool.

  26. I'm anon from 4:37
    The Minneapolis 'heresy'I asked about was in 1975; a family left the OALC. I was wondering if it was the one MTH mentioned and what she or anyone else knew about it?

  27. I seem to remember something about a rift in Minneapolis about that time, when members of a Niska family left the OALC. I think the patriarch was a preacher and there was some disagreement about the doctrine that was being interpreted. I don't know if he was asked to step down or whether he made an exodus of his own volition. I know of at least three families that were affected -- in two cases the Niska "child" and their spouse left the OALC and in the third the child left but the spouse to this day still goes to the OALC. I don't know what name or identity the family took or whether they are an organized church these days or not.

    Is this what y'all are talking about?

  28. Did the Minneapolis heresy include both the OALC and the FALC?

  29. The split from the OALC in 1975 involved approximately 10 familes from a few localities, the majority from Mpls. The patriarch was asked to step down and this initiated the split.

    Since then this small faction has broken up even more. The original group ("heresy" as some of you call it) known as the Firstborn Apostolic Lutheran Church (diferent than the FALC talked about on this sight) still meets regularly but is very small in numbers. This event triggered a host of people to become ex-oalc and I have to believe that a fair amount of the contributors to this sight come from that group.

    I was a young, very tender and trusting person at that age and believed whatever I was told, but after such an earth shattering experience and a seemingly constant changing of the "rules" I became very confused and to this day have a hard time believing anything that anyone tells me when it comes to their religious beliefs. I've found that if you just wait around for a year or 2 they tend to have a different message or "flavor" their touting. I'm not bitter at all I just find it amusing.

    ex since 1975

  30. Many Trails Home6/08/2006 05:11:00 PM

    Yes, it was the Niska (Niiska?) family I was talking about, but I got a little mixed up. The Niska connection was this: the guy I sort of dated was a "worldly" who had started coming around, and he eventually married a Niska.
    It still seems next to impossible to find out what the "doctrinal dispute" was all about, but maybe it was rather trivial, as these things are wont to be, and the real dispute involved personalities and control. Humans will ever be humans. MTH

  31. My Dad was a member of the OALC and my Mom was a worldly. They were married by an OALC preacher. She did everything to conform--tried real hard to meet all expectations--lost her own identity in the process. After many years of watching her step, walking on egg shells, keeping her mouth shut, and frantically trying to keep us kids from screwing things up--her mother-in-law told Mom that she didn't have a REAL marraige because she wasn't born into the church. Now that's just down right mean. Mom had trouble dealing with Grandma the rest of her life. I didn't have trouble with Grandma at all--I just recognized she was a b---- and steered clear of her. My heart cried for my Dear Mother though--she cared so much.

  32. What kind of mean-spirited person would say a thing like that? And feel they have a right to? I was raised in the OALC and I don't ever remember anyone saying anything about a worldly spouse, except to comment on the difficulty of such a marriage. Maybe some other posters will respond to your experiences. I would like to hear more.

  33. Many Trails Home6/11/2006 08:02:00 PM

    To Anonymous with the "Dear Mother": Did your mother convert, ie "repent?" If not, then there is nothing she could do to be accepted, and everything she did was subject to criticism. If she did "repent," then the mean statement by the mother-in-law makes no sense. Otherwise, anybody who converted but was not born into Laestadianism would be considered second-rate and unacceptable, which is certainly not the case (there are converted preachers, for instance). MTH

  34. This discussion has triggered another memory: If one of a married couple made repentance, the devil, who had been in him/her, had to find another host in which to reside. He went into the nearest person, usually the spouse, and that was why the spouse "became nasty" toward the Christians.
    Does anyone else remember hearing this?

  35. MTH said: Did your mother convert, ie "repent?" If not, then there is nothing she could do to be accepted, and everything she did was subject to criticism. If she did "repent," then the mean statement by the mother-in-law makes no sense. Otherwise, anybody who converted but was not born into Laestadianism would be considered second-rate and unacceptable, which is certainly not the case (there are converted preachers, for instance). MTH

    I am OALC, MTH and I don't feel that way. Nor does anyone else I know. Not that you care, but that kind of offended me. I don't want you to jam me in a generalization of a select few OALCers that actually 'shame' the church. I follow this site nearly everyday, but hardly ever comment. You have a right to your opinion, and I will not judge you for it, but please be considerate for those that believe everyone is equal.

  36. Thank you for posting your comment, anon above. It is important to know that individuals within the OALC may have different views than what we've experienced.

    Please tell us what you mean by "all people are equal" in this context.

  37. Many Trails Home6/12/2006 05:27:00 PM

    Dear Anon 2:00PM: Many blessings to you for commenting. Of course not EVERYONE feels the same way; I should not have suggested it. And of course I care; giving offense is something that I have every intention to avoid, but I will still fall into it on occasion, partly from carelessness, partly from lack of wisdom, and occasionally through no fault of my own.
    But this "rejection" certainly was something I observed in my experience in the OALC and in my large extended family. My father rejected his own brother because he left the church, and my father was a "lightweight" judgment-wise, compared to my mother! This attitude was more common than not, almost universal,I thought, so the fact that you say you know no one who thinks like this gives me pause. Have things changed that much? I would be very interested in other people's opinions and experiences. MTH

  38. I am the "Dear Mother" poster, and yes, my Mom had repented. The old battleaxe of a mother-in-law just didn't have any other ammunination to use. They are all dead now, and so it is past history. However, it impacted Mom's life and my resentment doesn't eat away at me, but I remember it. I know there are friendly, kind people in the OALC. To the OALC member--don't assume that MTH "doesn't care" about what you think. I believe she writes from her heart of her experiences--you might be real young and not aware of some of the slings and arrows we have endured. If you don't think worldlies are still "catching hell" just listen real close when you go to a funeral and hear what the preacher (especially one in Brush Prairie) has to say. Because I worship God in a different building then you do--I am told I am dead faith etc. ect. I pray you and I will see each other in Heaven. God bless us both. I hope you don't hear anything unkind in my comments to you, let's assume the best about each other.

  39. Many Trails Home6/13/2006 12:17:00 PM

    Bless you, Anonymous with the "Dear Mother:" Your comment "Let's assume the best about each other" is about as wise as it gets. And the sort of attitude Jesus would encourage us to adopt, of that I am absolutely sure. MTH

  40. Free - In response to your 'all people are equal' question, it's pretty straight forward. I believe everyone is equal in God's eyes, and everyone has a chance to enter heaven. But I don't believe that everyone will. But who am I to say? I am not God, therefore I cannot judge.
    MTH - I'm sorry for the trials, pains, and heartbreaking experiences you've endured in your life. 'This attitude' sounds very familiar, as I can see how others would see it that way. However, if you could read their hearts, see what they really feel (rather than how they outwardly show it), you may be surprised. I've been in and out of the church, I remember all sides of it.
    Thank you Dear Mother, for the kind comments. I feel I should comment on the 'dead faith' idea. The OALC refers to other churches, as you all know, as dead faith churches. Now, I know you wouldn't be there if you thought they were dead faith. Whether they are actually dead or not, that is how they are distinguished between OALC members. Does it really bother people that much to have a name? Does it really matter what the OALC thinks? Yes, your families are from there, you have friends and relatives all over the place; but if you're truly honestly in the place you should be, does it matter what they think? God should be more important than family anyways, right? i don't know...just thinking aloud. I get confused with the anger at 'labels' the OALC has. OALCers have a lot of labels, but that's ok with me. I don't mind if someone makes fun of me and tells me I'm going to hell. I know God will decide and take care of me until then. Just a few thoughts...no offense to anyone...

  41. my story: born and raised in the church (not oalc, but a split from before my time). married in the church. with children. did i mention that we are stubborn finns??? I left... spouse won't leave. married life not easy.
    if we hold the track, we on now... what does the future hold... for my marriage? ... for my children? ...for my spouse?
    I know those are tough questions to answer. and I probably did not give enough detail. did i mention we are stubborn finns???

  42. Thank you for posting, anon OALC. You reinforce my belief in my many friends in that church, even though I do not walk there anymore myself. I agree with you -- we will be judged by a wise God when our time comes, and I think we might be surprised at who will share heaven with us!

    God's Peace be with you.

  43. Here is Dear Mother again. I sure do agree with the OALC member who said God will decide and He is taking care of us all. I like your way of saying things and certainly agree that what anyone else thinks of our own walk with God shouldn't matter. The problem is that for some people--the rejection from a parent can be a lasting blow. I have a friend who is so sad because her Mom won't talk to her and told her she looks like a whore because she wears lipstick. A thick skinned person could probably ignore that, but you know we were really taught as children to care very much about what other people think about us. Then when it's your own mother----well, that hard row to hoe.

  44. I meant "that is a hard row to hoe" or "that's like spitting in the wind", or---well, you get the idea.

  45. LLLreader sez: Well, Stubborn Finn you don't have an easy road do you? I would imagine one of the hardest parts is dealing with where the kids will be going to church. I married outside the church after I left, so don't have much insight into your situation. Can't be an easy situation with the in-laws I bet. Bless you Dear.

  46. Stubborn Finn, have you been a "leeviläinen" or "steeniläinen"? I'm sorry for writing Finnish words here - I don't know any translations for these names.