"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Tribute to Marian

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tribute to Marian

Following is the article from The Reflector. What an incredible tribute.

I can't imagine how the response to her death -- and in particular this article -- are being received in the OALC. I know many of you coming to this site are searching for information about Marian.

May there be an increase in understanding and hope. May each of us be inspired to love unconditionally.

Thousands remember Marian Halberg
Literally thousands of people gathered at two services last week to remember the life of Marian Halberg who died in an auto accident Dec. 21 on Risto Rd. southeast of Battle Ground.

An estimated 2,500 people attended a Dec. 27 service held at the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church north of Battle Ground.
Then more than 500 people filled the Brush Prairie Baptist Church Dec. 28 where Halberg’s life was traced by four ministers and the testimony of those attending.

The Brush Prairie Baptist service included several of what were described as Halberg’s favorite hymns, with her nephew Matt Niska singing How Great Thou Art, another nephew, Jervon Niska, playing a piano solo, songs by the Kinnunen Sisters, and two hymns performed by the Vancouver Apostolic Choir led by Pastor Nathan Juntunen.

Clark County Chaplain Landis Epp traced Halberg’s life. Marian Elaine (Niska) Halberg, 55, was born July 14, 1951, in Minneapolis, MN, grew up in Montrose, MN, and was in charge of twice-daily cow milking through her high school years. She graduated from Buffalo High School in 1969 where she was chosen homecoming queen. She was involved in National Honor Society, student council and girls’ state. Family members described Halberg as “a natural born leader, a person with distinct views and defended them passionately,” said Epp.

The latter comment drew applause, as did other moments in the 2 1/2 hour ceremony.

Halberg worked as a nurse’s aid. She traveled to Europe in 1970. She married Art Halberg in 1971 and moved to Battle Ground. The Halbergs had 16 children, including infant son Luke who died in 1980. Halberg was a members of a TOPS club. She volunteered in schools. She was a member of the Vancouver Apostolic Choir. She hosted a Women’s Bible Study in her home. She ministered to women at the Legacy of Life Home. She orchestrated high school baccalaureate programs for several years. Halberg was a member of the Grace Bible Church in Battle Ground.

“Marian would light up any room with her smile and amazing personality,” said Epp. “She was everyone’s friend and confidante. She was a perpetual encourager. She loved people.”

Pastor Bob Carlson of Brush Prairie Baptist Church described Halberg as a “woman of such joy. She’s not with us. That’s our loss but her gain. Tears last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. She’s now in the presence of her precious Saviour.”
Carlson said Halberg celebrated life daily. “She’d want us to celebrate life in Christ.”

Pastor Nathan Juntunen said Halberg wanted to sing in a choir and had joined the Vancouver Apostolic Choir. Halberg died, said Juntunen, on the day of the choir’s Christmas program. “She was a powerful and potent spiritual leader,” he said. “Marian always remembered why we do this.”

Epp said Halberg loved music. Many people, said Epp, had told him they were glad to have a celebration like this. “A lot of churches lost a pretty good member” in Halberg’s death, said Epp. “She fit in anyplace.”

A slideshow depicted Halberg’s life, including various photographs of Halberg with her children and friends. Several photos were taken at coastal locations. Halberg’s enjoyment with Starbucks coffee was mentioned more than once. Halberg’s sister

JC Johnson of Minnesota said Marian “made me feel like a celebrity. I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to be more like her, to love, laugh, learn about God.”

Johnson said Halberg had given her a music box that played, “You Light Up My Life.” Johnson said Halberg “had a tremendous gift of encouragement. She cared about others. God put her in charge.”

Neighbor Bob Mattila said Halberg’s children had worked in his berry fields. Halberg had brought a dozen roses to Mattila when his family members died in an RV accident. He said he had a premonition that the Dec. 21 fatal accident involved Halberg even before he had learned the truth.

Brother Melvin Niska of Minnesota said his sister had called him on his 50th birthday. “Fifty years is not old--for a tree,” Niska quoted his sister as saying. Halberg would often end sentences with “Amen,” Niska said.

Another person attending the event said Halberg knew many people. She would go to a store and speak to several people she knew. Each one probably felt they were Halberg’s one special friend, the speaker said. Another person said Halberg would stop whatever she was doing to engage a caller in conversation.

Pastor George Hacker of the Venersborg Church said Halberg’s “face radiates the love of Christ." Hacker quoted a phrase from Halberg’s website: “There is One who has created the universe, whose truth is not so fragile it evaporates upon inspection.” Hacker described Halberg as a theologian with a bright mind. She loved the truth, said Hacker, but was not harsh. “She had a heart for people. A tender heart.” Halberg’s website is: www.oldapostoliclutheran.com

A teacher at Maple Grove Primary School said tearfully “we always loved having a Halberg in our class.”

Duane Rose, former principal at Maple Grove where Halberg had volunteered, said Halberg was the epitome of a parent volunteer. “She was everybody’s mother,” said Rose. “She was quick to bring things to our attention.”

“If we ever didn’t agree with her,” said Rose, “and I’m not saying we ever did, I just changed my mind.”

A young woman in attendance said Halberg came to a maternity home each week when she was a pregnant high school senior, and then came to her labor and delivery. Within an hour of her giving birth, said the young mother, Halberg had delivered a printed photo album. “She made you feel like you were the only person.”

Pastor Bill Webster said Halberg’s death “is a loss to all of us. She had a tremendous impact on all of us. She was one of the finest Christians I have ever known.”

“Love characterized her life,” said Webster. “Marian was a godly woman. She touched everyone she knew. You couldn’t help but love Marian because she loved you.”

Webster described how Halberg reminded him of Martin Luther and of Jesus Christ himself.

Survivors include husband Art Halberg, at home in Battle Ground, sons Art Halberg of Amboy, Jared Halberg of Yacolt, Thor Halberg of Alaska and Joshua Halberg, at home in Battle Ground, daughters Tamara O’Brien and Evangaline Muonio, both of Yacolt, Minda Tapani, Maria Stewart, Bethany Jolma and Beulah Halberg, all of Battle Ground, Gabrielle Halberg, Karla Halberg and Pamela Halberg, all at home in Battle Ground, Linnea Williamson of South Dakota, and Annalee Spencer of Kennewick, mother Linda Niska of Minnesota, brothers Melvin Niska, Victor Niska and Lenny Niska, all of Minnesota, and Charles Niska of Idaho, sisters Evelyn Wilen of Oregon, Annette Carlson and Edie Maki, both of Michigan, Elsie Muonio, JC Johnson and Eunice Burns, all of Minnesota, Lila Schmidt of South Dakota, and Lois Niska of Idaho, and 34 grandchildren.

109 comments:

  1. It is unfortunate that this has to bring out such strong hatred towards OALC. Almost all of Marians children attend OALC (except maybe 1 or 2)and they loved their mother. It is intresting that the Devil can bring about such feelings of hatred towards a specific religion. What about Muslims, Jews, and other types of religion?
    It is also sad that Marian would title her web site using a name of a specific church regardless of which church it is. I wonder what her intent was? I do not sense a gentle and loving spirit about it. I pray that when I am taken that I have not left behind things that leave people questioning what my intent really was. Anyways my heartfelt prayer would be that if people are following Christ that they would let that love flow which the Bible has taught and not dwell on how others worship or show hate.

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  2. I think I lost my last post so will re-do it. I understand the hurt when we feel that so many did not understand Marian or see the whole Marian, but I believe bad feelings of the OALC mostly are present because of the firm OALC doctrine that there cannot be salvation elsewhere. This has caused great pain for those who cannot believe all of it and who would be better off finding joy through other Christian worship. Marian found this and loved to sing in a choir, loved Bible study, etc. Her parting ways as far as worship goes obviously caused great pain for the OALC families also. So it goes when a doctrine claims salvation only for those who aspire to their beliefs when the fundamental christian doctrine does not support it.

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  3. My message is: question what ever you would like but don't single out one specific religion regardless of what religion it is. Those that go to OALC, or Church of the Latter Day Saints, or whatever one believes, has a choice. It is very obvious that Marian had an ill intent towards OALC and went to great extremes to show it. I would not say that type of behavior is Christian like at all. As the scriptures say "Live peacably among men." PS...this is not directed at just Marian, but toward anyone that is going to make a big deal about how someone chooses to live their life.
    Also, my intent is to not argue or push my thoughts on to anyone. As the blog says "leave your comment" so I did.

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  4. Many Trails Home1/04/2007 01:01:00 PM

    Well, that's fascinating. So the "Everyone Welcome?" and "Little Lost Boy" site was hers!
    To "Anonymous" above who says that Marian had was ill-intentioned toward the OALC and was "un-Christian" in her behavior, I would say this: Jesus himself was "un-Christian" in his behavior, if judged by that yardstick. And there will be those who find anyone critical of the OALC to be "ill-intentioned." Rubbish. She was just brave and a truth-teller, from my perspective. Those living in fear rarely want to hear the truth, but as Marian said also, "The truth shall make you free." I wish I had known her. Many blessings to Marian "in spirit" for her brave spirit. Many Trails Home

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  5. In Marian's defense she was born, raised and attended the OALC for most of her life. Therefore, wouldnt that be the church she would write about? I am 100% that she did not agree with the Islam, Mormons, etc. That goes almost unsaid. She had experience in the OALC, which is why she wrote about it. It makes sense to me why she "singled out" the OALC. It's what she knew.

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  6. To the first anonymous poster above:
    Perhaps a little education in history might change your perspective. Laestadianism didn't come about until the 1840s, some 350 years after Luther's reformation, some 1800+ years after the birth of Jesus and the beginning of Christianity. Jesus certainly changed the world he lived in, Luther certainly went up against the Catholic church during his time, and Laestadius certainly went up against the State church in Sweden during his time. Read his "Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness", and his remarks about the State church were at the very least disparaging. Much of his writings are shocking, crude, and boorish. Might you also say that the devil brought about such feelings of hatred in LLL toward the State church? LLL had no use for people who disagreed with him.
    It takes very brave and courageous people to speak up and out against practices they have reason to believe are not right. We might not all agree, but we can learn to agree to disagree, a thought process that is not taught in the Laestadian church I grew up in. We also do not know what other people experience.
    My hope is that positive change will come about as a result of brave and courageous people who are willing to speak up. In the OALC, there is often too much at risk, and this is too scary place to go.
    Remember, were it not for Jesus, Luther, and Laestadius, the OALC would not exist today.
    Marian was braver than I; I left quietly. As far as questioning her intent, it's possible that she wanted to be heard and acknowledged.

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  7. Just to clear everything up about the web site www.oldapostoliclutheran.com. this site WAS NOT Marian Halbergs, The Refelector is wrong in printing that.

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  8. Type in the URL at http://www.whois.net/

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  9. Like I said that site does not belong to Marian.

    Quoted from whois.net

    Registrant:
    Helena Scheuble

    Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
    Domain Name: OLDAPOSTOLICLUTHERAN.COM

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  10. Maybe a collaborative effort? I’ll buy – you fly?

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  11. Many Trails Home1/04/2007 04:49:00 PM

    Well, I think she was brave anyway, and I like what "Anonymous who left quietly" had to say. MTH

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  12. Nope, not a collaborative effort. I know this for a fact.

    I don't mean to be so frank and short but I do not wish to have Marians name attached this site. The Reflector article was great! With the one exception of this false reporting on the web site.

    I just wanted to set the record straight.

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  13. Well, we have the smoking gun…who pulled the trigger?

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  14. I’m searching for a (few) previous postings…it appears that they are gone. Sometime around summer…any idea?

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  15. free2bme,

    I am well aware of the letter that Marian sent to The Reflector regarding an advertisement that had the OALC web site listed. Don't get me wrong I agree with Marian and loved her very much, I just want it to be very clear that the web site was not hers, she did not maintain it, and was not a contributor.

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  16. jIf Helena Scheuble is the one that runs that site, I wish she would come foreward and say. It sure seems that they are trying to keep it a mystery.

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  17. To Anon 1-4 .... you said

    "It is very obvious that Marian had an ill intent towards OALC and went to great extremes to show it. I would not say that type of behavior is Christian like at all."

    Actually the only thing that is obvious is that she had a brain. As opposed to being spoon fed mans word, she opened her bible & read God's word & acted & lived her life according to God's word in scripture. She was a smart woman who realized that what God says & what the preachers at the OALC teach are two very different things. She didnt have an ill intent. What she had was a loving concern for her friends & family. She wanted them to know God in truth. Why do you think the OALC discourages bible study? It
    is NOT because you arent suppose to understand it, it is because if too many people on the inside opened the word of God & read it, they would see their church in great error & even participating in things that God specifically teaches against!
    She saw the danger in too much faith in mans words & not nearly enough in God's.
    Big Kudos to Marian for her efforts to reach out to others. She may not have walked a christian life according to the OALC's word, but she most certainly did according to God's.
    One final thought, before you decide that it is your place to decide who is being christian or not, better read what God has to say about that. Your church may tell you it's okay to judge but God specifically says it is not your place. You can decide on that & some day try explaining to him, why you felt you had the right to do what he said not to!

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  18. I don't see what the big mystery is, if you ask Helena she'll tell you. She told me.

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  19. Here's what it says on the website in question:

    "Q: Why don’t you reveal your identity on the site?

    A: As soon as people get an individual’s name, they set about trying to focus on the individual rather than the content. They resort to stupid rumors rather than facts. So far I have not felt led to put my name up there, but I am not in hiding. I am no longer under the stronghold of fear, and I don’t care who knows who I am."

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  20. http://makkeri.bravepages.com/fromf.htm

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  21. Notice pleading:


    “wrangling professors, squabbling about this doctrine and that, and perhaps not understanding any of them properly”

    “Remember we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.”
    - Emily Kinbrough

    A Jew stumbles, A Christen stumbles (whatever denomination), A Muslim stumbles, A atheist stumbles…so on..

    Why Do We Have Diversity Amongst God's People? Religious diversity is plentiful, Diversity Is God's Plan.

    Go in Peace

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  22. If God had given Marian and Helena (and most of their siblings) the grace to believe and follow him, this would not be such a mess. I am certain that if Marian could return to earth she would be redoing a few things here on earth. When the Niska family (including Marian) broke away from OALC 30 or so years ago, there was no blessing following them (some of you may remember). The Niska family has been torn apart and all have such strong and different views from one another. The 1 that had remained in the OALC has been so blessed and has such a wonderful family that is all following the path of Lord Jesus. The other one that came back to OALC years later is probably singing praises to God and many of her family has come back with her. It is a true blessing that Marian's children (except 1) have followed their father's teaching and they are exceptional people, being spared from all the spritiual hatred towards OALC. In time this will all pass but those that choose a path of misunderstanding and keep wreaking havoc on the OALC will also face judgement just as Marian has (good thing we here on earth do not have to judge). May God grant you the grace of a true understanding and calm the turbulent storm in your poor little minds. If you pray God can give you strenght.

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  23. Funny how you speak of not judging while you judge, anon 12:35:34 PM.

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  24. Anon from the OALC,

    I am so sorry that you still follow the word of man and not the word of God, if you were to educated yourself and read the Bible as God had intended and not follow a false profit (preacher or Lastadias) you would understand the Marian would not want to change a thing if she had a chance to re visit earth. The one thing that she wept for was that her children, with the exception of the one that had the intelligence to leave the OALC, would be saved and follow the true meaning of Gods word. I will pray for you, not in the sense that the OALC prays for you but a prayer that will hopefully assist you in finding the true meaning of Jesus and not the made up words of Lastadias or Dale Schelect (sp).

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  25. I didn't know Marian, but from the article, I get the feeling she lived life to its very richest and fullest. She serves as an inspiration to me that I could leave behind such a legacy when I too pass on one day. My thoughts are with those who knew her and are grieving her passing.

    To anonymous 12:35:34, thank you for not judging my "poor little mind." Isn't it amazing that the only way to heaven just happens to be your way? If you were, as is probable, born into the OALC, I just marvel at your good luck: the stork dropped you off among that less than 0.001% of humanity that will be saved.

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  26. I have been reading the comments on this unfortunate and untimely death of one of my relatives and have refrained from adding my opinion because I never knew this person. I am not familiar with the controversy and do not know first hand of any activities either pro or con.

    Based on the newspaper articles and the opinion of those on the blog, I am impressed with a few things.

    The fact that over three thousand people attended two memorial services for her indicates that she was a person that touched many lives in a very sensitive way. I have occasionally had the vision of maybe ten people showing up my memorial all of which would be more interested in the appetizers than any particulars.

    Apparently she maintained her large family relationship after leaving the OALC and this is a credit to her strong will as well as to her devotion to her principles.

    I agree with those who recall the history of the OALC and connect it to the willingness of individuals to challenge the then contemporary church. This is often overlooked in the minds of the strongest adherents. Both Lastadius and Luther were quite strident in their certainty and revolutionary fervor and the former was reacting more to social conditions than to Biblical demands.

    It seems as though Marian grew up in the church, married in the church, raised her family to some degree in the church, kept her family intact for the most part in the church and at some point had issues and left the church. She created and participated in life outside of the church quite successfully. All of this was her decision and I give her the credit. I find no need to discredit anyone else or any doctrine for whatever troubles she encountered as this would be infantilizing her and subtracting from her achievements.

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  27. It should be obvious at this late date in human history that the OALC is the ONLY living Christianity and path to everlasting glory, and if you don't see that, you are possessed by EVIL, have a tiny mind and/or a turbulent storm and/or spiritual HATRED and you are going through that wide, wide gate to ETERNAL damnation. God's peace (maniacal laughter) indeed.

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  28. Many Trails Home1/05/2007 01:56:00 PM

    Whooooeeee. What do you all think of this last one? MTH

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  29. MTH, I think it is someone whose intent is to stir up conflict in our little cyber-group. I feel sorry for that person and certainly would take anything s/he says with a grain of salt.
    I send you on your way with peace and blessings, Maniacal.

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  30. I think sisu has it, unless Maniacal intended it as sarcasm. If it's not sarcasm, it's pretty sad.

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  31. Free...

    That would be well planned out in advance and announced accordingly... all to avoid serious embarrassment.

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  32. Anon at 01:49

    Used some key word that are said through out the OALC. It just proves his/hers ignorance. By the way Anon at 01:49 what are you doing on the web? Better ask for forgiveness from the preachers.

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  33. In reply to Anon


    The bible says there is only one church, one faith, and one doctrine. That church is not the OALC, (the OALC is in heresy), It is actually the Lutheran Lastadien Church(LLC). All other churches are dead in their faith.

    Thats what I've always been told anyways


    ok anon.. it takes courage to post what you did on a website that's purpose is to criticize the OALC. Welcome to the blog. Just try to keep comments implying that I am going to Hell and Marian is already there down to a minimum. If you really believe that and want to communicate that to us, try to packaging it in a way that is not so offensive. Then the other people here wont be so aggressive towards you (hopefully).

    If you are trying to reach out to us(a noble thing to do), strait up saying we are going to Hell is not the most effective evangelism technique.

    God's Peace

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  34. Just curious, is there a prize for being the 50,000th visitor to your site? :-)

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  35. OH! pick number 3 and make a topic about crabcakes and all the other tasty treats served at Stylux's memorial service. OH Boy :) Hey Stylux, have you settled on a date yet?

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  36. Being new to this website (and planning to never return) I must say: Doesn't anyone have anything better to do than sit and bash each others point of view? You guys are WEIRD!!!! Get a life.

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  37. Thanks for posting the picture of Marian. She was my cousin and I was so very fond of her. I will miss her. I wanted to comment on the poster who said:
    "If God had given Marian and Helena (and most of their siblings) the grace to believe and follow him, this would not be such a mess"
    Is this the same line of thinking you use when tragedies happen to those of your own faith? I'm guessing it is not at all. There have been many tragedies in the OALC as well as every other faith. When it happens to someone else it proves you are right....when it happens to your own....completely diferent story. Not sure how you became an expert on the Niska family but it's not as broken up as your exageration implies. Some with differing views? certainly....but there again, the real problem you have, seems to be their lack of OALC attendance.
    God bless you, I hope and pray that God grants us all the grace to believe and follow him, I really do...I just don't think that that means "Going to church in the OALC" and if it is, I pray that God would reveal that to me and all of us.

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  38. Many Trails Home1/05/2007 05:05:00 PM

    I'll bring the wine, Stylux, in your memory. Tell me which (a Bordeaux?) and we'll all celebrate and have a good time, toasting you and reading from your extoots postings. MTH

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  39. Many Trails Home1/05/2007 05:11:00 PM

    Hmm, I wonder why the poster above thinks we are "bashing" each other. Do you feel bashed? I don't feel bashed. Frankly, I think "Basher" himself is a little "wierd." Furthermore, I happen to like my life, thank you very much, and extoots has become a big part of it. Thank you, Free2Bme. I don't think I have expressed my gratitude lately. MTH

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  40. Hi Maniacal--I have noticed that some people on this site just don't "get" sarcasm. Maybe it comes from that old black/white thinking. Tell us you were being sarcastic and we can get on with it---.

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  41. Well, this is interesting--the Niska family members who came back to the OALC have been blessed, and the ones that didn't haven't? I find that hard to believe. I don't know any of the Niska family, but I am willing to bet that others besides Marian have found good lives outside the walls of the OALC.

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  42. Wiki: "Satire . . . has a very definite target, which may be a person or group of people, an idea or attitude, an institution or a social practice. In any case the target is held up to a ridicule that is often quite merciless, and sometimes very angry; ideally in the hope of shaming it into reform. A very common, almost defining feature of satire is a strong vein of irony or sarcasm, in fact satirical writing or drama very often professes to approve values that are the diametric opposite of what the writer actually wishes to promote." Yours in the struggle, Maniacal

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  43. Friends, I want no crab cakes at my "dead spread". Only the finest hamburger hotdish and red jello with marshmallows will do for me, although if you want to share a nice 10 year old cab from Leonetti Cellars, I would be pleased.

    On a serious note, isn't it truly phenomenal what commentary has been generated by this event. Getting beyond the inevitable sniping and sarcasm that has gone on, I am sure that there are words being said and ideas being discussed that are serving God's purposes in some way. I am in humble awe of what has transpired.

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  44. Just a thought on how Marian's (who I never met or knew of) life was tragically cut short. In relation to the comment of one who insinuated that this had something to do with leaving the OALC. The bad luck karma thingy because she had left or whatever...
    Rest assured, that Marian who is now with her Father has no feelings that her life was cut "short". She is living with the true knowledge and understanding that her days were exactly as they were written and destined to be and she would not leave her glorious state now for anything. Not even to be with her loved ones.

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  45. Are you being played?

    From causal appearance, the main contributors (on both sides) are.

    Focus on the beauty of Diversity, that is his plan.

    Feel free to be different than or neighbor and grant them the same.

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  46. Correction to last post

    Feel free to be different than your neighbor and grant them the same.

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  47. Many Trails Home1/06/2007 10:44:00 AM

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, cvow. Amazing how a sad event such as this can have such widespread repercussions, and for the most part, beneficial ones. This site gets much more exciting when some active oalcers come on, adding a lot more "tension," shall we say.
    So I would like to speak to the active oalcers: Thank you for coming. We appreciate the opportunity to engage with you, as it is beneficial to us in ways you may never know. Not many oalcers are willing to do that. And should you subsequently feel guilt for coming (as we know this is preached against), I for one forgive you in advance and will even take the liberty of speaking for the blog in this respect. Thank you for expressing yourselves.
    You see, you are still a large part of our lives. We define ourselves, to a large degree, in opposition to you. Even this blog would not exist without you. I for one am grateful for my childhood in the oalc as it has forced me to define who I AM. Without that background, I probably would have taken the easy road and never done the painful inner work of finding out who and what God and the Christ are, what they are to me, and WHO I AM. Thank you and many blessings to you. Many Trails Home

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  48. Awesome! With prizes like that I can't wait to be your 100000th visitor. ;)

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  49. I think this is a good time for open dialogue (hopefully without taking offense. I like what you just said, MTH.

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  50. I did not know Marian, but after reading this blog, she seems to have touched many people in a very positive way. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.

    As a long time oalcer who still attends church, I am curious as to how the oalc funeral service for Marian was conducted. I have attended many such services of departed ones who had left the church, but still had their funeral in the oalc, and it wasn't always pleasant. The preacher would mention that since the deceased had not been attending church, that he did not know him/her "from the heart", and therefore there was no "testimony" for him/her. Then, the preacher would turn to the attending family, warning how they too would perish if they did not embrace the "Christianity". Hardly anything positive would be said about the deceased, as the emphasis is more like a church service than a funeral.

    The effect is a very negative and cold experience for the grieving family. I certainly hope that the funeral service for Marian was conducted in a loving way, for the sake of the family.

    I would like to hear from someone who attended the service.

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  51. Hello everyone!
    I am back and read all of the above with some amusement (among other things). Thanks to laughing maniacally for a little punch of humor in the middle there.
    Re: the website. Marian was the one who made the decision to be affiliated with it. When I put the website up, she did read all of the material that was in there and liked the idea of putting it on the net. Not having internet access herself, she could not possibly have created it and neither of us ever claimed that it was hers.
    One day we had a conversation about the fear that people live under, which is bondage and not fear of the Lord at all. After that conversation, I sat down and wrote what is on the site under fear. When I called Marian and read it to her, she said that she had been wanting to write something to advertise my site in the Reflector, and decided that was it. So she made some phone calls to raise money for the ad and went in and put it in. The ad ran without anyone's name on it, and apparently the Reflector had a major backlash with people threatening to remove garage sale ads (that's lobbying) and everything. Marvin called Marian, and her and I went in to talk to him.
    We told Marvin at the time that it was my site and that I had written the ad. For some reason, he wanted to use Marian's name for the correction; he said it was because she had physically placed the ad. So she courageously took the hit.
    At the time, there were people who contacted me assuming it was Marian's site. I let them know that it was not. When I told Marian this, she said, "Who cares. The website belongs to God."
    Marian and I were once extremely close, and she was like a mother to me. I look forward to seeing her again and having the unfinished conversation we never had an opportunity to have here on earth.

    As far as the funeral went, it was upsetting to me knowing how clearly Marian made her wishes known that her next of kin chose to have an OALC funeral in the first place. The visitation the night before was interesting. Marian always stated that she wanted lots of flowers at her funeral, but when her sister put flowers on the casket, one of the sons in law snatched them off within seconds.
    As far as the funeral went, it was bleak. It was devoid of any personal statements about Marian. Her name was scarcely breathed except the reading of the obituary. The family was commended for following the faith of their father. A disparaging remark was made by Dale about people who have celebrations of life. Then the typical meandering conversational OALC sermon was issued, approaching the one and only living faith topic gingerly on occasion and skirting away from it.
    Then came the morbid filing past the body ceremony. I became physically nauseous watching this group of people who Marian had spent her life serving, whose only real knowledge of her was through vicious gossip, gawking at her. I had to leave at this point.
    I chose to surround myself by people who knew where she is from that point forward.
    To whomever is sick enough to start blasting my family at this time, know that you have neither the power to bless nor to curse. We have the blessing of knowing Christ intimately and not having any concern over how you have judged my family. My family has the largest percentage of born again Christian believers who love the Lord than any other OALC family I know.
    Thank you to all my new family here, who has been nothing but wonderful during this challenging time of grief, wonderment and joy. Marian was a passionate, tenacious and courageous woman who left a void in her death in a way that not many do.
    Her life is now complete, and I look forward to seeing her again soon.
    Helena

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  52. I attended Marians funeral as well. I was very moved by God's power during the service. Both preachers spoke very loving to the family. Sure they never spoke much about Marian but what was there to say about someone that had made it so clear that she was of a different spirit. As far as her family having her service at OALC? Only her oldest daughter knew her wishes. None of her 14 other children or husband knew of her wishes. Also 15 of her family members (her husband included)do not believe in a celebration of life. They had to follow their own beliefs. They did not even know what church (or how many) she attended. They wanted to be surrounded by those of like faith so that they could gather strength and prayers for the days ahead. They wanted to hold a service for the living and not for the deceased. They would not have recieved what they needed at her celebration of life. You cannot take their beliefs away. Please remember them in prayer

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  53. Her husband knew clearly of her wishes.

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  54. Whats wrong with celebrating life? She clearly had Jesus in her heart, he gave her life.

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  55. EXOALC, could you explain something please? You and your two friends were the only ones laughing on the way up to the viewing. That troubles me as to your sincerity.

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  56. It is wrong to "celebrate life" as the worldlies call it, because surely it is God's desire that we suffer here on earth so we can ourselves feel the wretched pain of the cross and precious shed blood of Jesus, who came to give us eternal life, not joyful or rejoicing or celebrating life. If you live like a true Christian, that is humble, grieving, and downtrodden, without vain cheer or lightmindedness or laughter, there should be nothing to celebrate at the end but death itself. And if the Devil tempts you to celebrate, be reminded that this could tempt the young ones to stray, for children do hunger after happiness, and must be taught how to suffer in obedience and to beat the flesh into submission, amen. LM

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  57. LLLreader: To Helena-thank you for your courage and know that there are many, many people who support and love you. You speak from the heart and are armed with the certainity that only God can bring. You go girl---

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  58. To anonymous who is "downtrodden, humble, and grieving". Have you considered a good antidepressant? Trying to live in that "woe is me" life style is just crazy!!!! Back in the day when LLL was preaching to the Sami it's what he was using to get the wretched poor folks out of their drinking and wild ways. His message of "you are rotten to the core" just doesn't fly with normal people. If you have ever seen pictures of the landscape in Sami country--it's barren, cold, harsh, and unforgiving. The God that has been conjoured up in the OALC mindset reflects that scene. I see a kind of "showing off" of who can be the most miserable in the OALC today. So far away from the God that fills my heart daily with his love. I will pray that those OALC members who are counting on other members of their church, and their preacher, for their salvation, will realize they only have to go directly to the Lord with their plea. He loves you and is waiting to hear from you.

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  59. I am not sure what we were laughing about. Maybe someone told a joke? Maybe we were talking about Marian and something she said that amused us. Maybe we were rejoicing in her first Christmas in heaven.
    I think this is a perfect example of how her funeral was hijacked and then everyone in attendance was expected to jump through your hoops, and be careful not to offend anyone there by accidentally laughing in the presence of the holy and wonderful OALC.
    You are right about one thing: Marian did have another foreign spirit, the Spirit of Christ. I wonder how you would feel if the roles were reversed, if her husband had died and Marian had decided to have his funeral at her church, because the funeral is "for the living, not the dead". And if all the people in her life who had dishonored him in life walked by and talked about how he was in a hot, new home. I think you and yours would be in an uproar, although you have no problem with her having a funeral somewhere where most people in attendance don't know her heart and are ready and willing to judge.

    This is the egocentrism of the OALCer's, which is demonstrated in your question about laughter. They think the world spins on their axis.

    Thanks for the encouragement, LLLReader and all who have posted responses. Thanks to everyone for their courage and gracious spirit. I love you all.

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  60. It is wrong to "celebrate life" as the worldlies call it, because surely it is God's desire that we suffer here on earth so we can ourselves feel the wretched pain of the cross and precious shed blood of Jesus, who came to give us eternal life, not joyful or rejoicing or celebrating life. If you live like a true Christian, that is humble, grieving, and downtrodden, without vain cheer or lightmindedness or laughter, there should be nothing to celebrate at the end but death itself. And if the Devil tempts you to celebrate, be reminded that this could tempt the young ones to stray, for children do hunger after happiness, and must be taught how to suffer in obedience and to beat the flesh into submission, amen. LM

    Mon Jan 08, 10:44:35 AM PST


    OALC-Doubter said:

    Wow, what a mean spirited post! Where in Scripture does it say that "Surely God wants us to suffer here on earth"?

    And we should teach our children to "suffer in obedience"? Perhaps this attitude is the reason so many oalc children grow up so sullen, unhappy, and dysfunctional.

    I believe that the oalcers who feel they are suffering and doing without, are actually doing a "good work", and feel they are earning salvation, although they would never admin to it.

    To Helena, although we don't know each other, you have helped me immensely in my search for the truth about the oalc, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Please remain strong and continue to support your web site. I can tell you that many, many, people read and benefit from it, although most choose to remain silent.

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  61. exoalcer-I sense that you are a bitter person. Do you have happiness in your life? Are you at peace with yourself? I am only curious because I do not sense that you are at peace.

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  62. I am not a bitter person, although I think that everyone that leaves any oppressive system goes through a normal, healthy period of anger. I am not there anymore, and am at peace in my life. My peace is unlike anything I ever experienced as an oalcer, where I was always having to prove myself to others.
    My peace is the kind that is found in a relationship with God and a passion for life and for His word. It is the kind that comes from breathing in each moment with my wonderful kids and my loving husband, and my relationships with people with whom I can be honest and intimate.
    My peace comes from having resolution with my past, and hope for my future. It comes from using my gifts and passions, and not hiding them under a basket. It comes from not having to live in fear of what others think about me, or having to constantly second-guess everything I've said or done.
    And it results in a capacity for joy as well as pain in a way that I've never before felt. Some days I struggle, and others I feel wonderful. That is my life.
    It manifests itself in a way that I can love even those who have nothing more to say about me than personal, below the belt attacks.
    I wish you the same peace.

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  63. To exoalc--well said!!! The peace you feel within your family--making decisions, worshiping together, supporting and comforting each other--what a gift!! Growing up in the OALC there was more emphasis on what others might think--we didn't really have family decisions, we always had to temper it with "what will they think". The self-satisfaction of some of the OALC members is a hollow kind of victory. They may think they are better then us worldlies, but the truth is that they huddle together in fearful little groups, afraid to think, afraid to embrace the love God offers them unconditionally. When you depend on other men for your salvation, you are denying the Lord who loves you and who offers you all you need. When a church becomes your God, you are in sad soul condition

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  64. Many Trails Home1/08/2007 02:37:00 PM

    To exoalc: I especially like "My peace . . . comes from using my gifts and passions, and not hiding them under a basket" (or shall we say, "bushel.") You describe my life as well, the good and the bad, the joy and the pain - is that not life for all of us?
    You shine with a lovely light, and I am glad that you do not hide it "under a bushel."
    Yours in the peace of God and the Christ. MTH

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  65. The poster who said the children need to suffer in obededience and beat the flesh into submission sounds like a child abuser to me. If anyone knows who posted that, and if they have children, for the love of God, see if the kids are OK.

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  66. Free, your phrase "the unshakable psychological integration" rings true.

    Is there something wrong with holding a celebration of life? I don't think so. "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" Isaiah 52:7 and Romans 10:15. God dwells among, within and through the believer. (Eph 2:22). The beauty of a life which shines with God's love is a wonderful testimony of His presence in her soul. When my mom died we had a traditional alc funeral. If we could do it again, I'd request that her grandchildren and great-granchildren sing "Eensy Weensy Spider" at the service. It would have been a true testimony of how God's love shone through her to all of us.

    I've enjoyed getting to know a little about Marian these last few weeks. She sounds like a wonderful person. Maybe she ran a little too fast and was hard to keep up with, I know some people like that. But we need those Marians in our lives, who overflow with enthusiasm, love and courage.

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  67. LM, I am wondering if you are serious or not. If you are serious, please remember that we serve a risen Saviour. We have every reason to live joyful Christian lives. I don't see how anyone can read the New Testament or the Psalms for example, and see anything but hope, peace and joy for the Christian. Yes, there are battles with our threefold enemy - the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh..but there is also much consolation and comfort for the weary and searching soul in Scripture. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

    And this: Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. 1 John 17-21.

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  68. LM aka Laughing Maniacally is just having a little fun.
    And it is funny. Just don't laugh maniacally at a funeral. You may get chastised on the blog.
    Helena

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  69. OH! that's who it was! thanks for clearing that up, it was shocking!lol

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  70. I would like to respond to the post about Marian's family on Fri Jan 5. To quote the poster:

    "If God had given Marian and Helena (and most of their siblings) the grace to believe and follow him, this would not be such a mess. I am certain that if Marian could return to earth she would be redoing a few things here on earth."

    - Marian and Helena were obiously both blessed with gods grace, as followers of Jesus, which has given them the strength to stand up to the OALC cult and support others trying to break away. They are both have admirable spirit and courage.

    "When the Niska family (including Marian) broke away from OALC 30 or so years ago, there was no blessing following them (some of you may remember). The Niska family has been torn apart and all have such strong and different views from one another."

    -actually I believe they were asked to leave the OAL "church" as their grandfather, an OALC pastor was not towing the party line closely eneough... tried to think on his own as a Christian: a no-no in the 15th, er, I mean 20th century.

    -Too many keep the legalistic traditions, keep holding up Lastadius as some legitimate prophet, have to deal with past abuse, and are not quite able to trust in only Christ for salvation, all holdovers from an upbringing in the OALC.

    "It is a true blessing that Marian's children (except 1) have followed their father's teaching and they are exceptional people, being spared from all the spritiual hatred towards OALC."


    -Their Father does not "teach" anything as far as spiritual mattters are concerned- that is reserved for the OALC pastors alone! I guess you could "teach" someone to blindly follow the pastors.... Marian taught everyone she ran across about Christ, openly amd by example. Including myself.

    -what exactly is "spiritual hatred"? I would call it "spiritual stupidity" to claim those who have accepted Jesus as their savior, and followed/spread God's Word so openly, are still going to hell because they are not following some backwaters preacher from Finland.


    "In time this will all pass but those that choose a path of misunderstanding and keep wreaking havoc on the OALC will also face judgement just as Marian has (good thing we here on earth do not have to judge)."

    - yes, if people bury their heads in the "spiritual sand" everything will pass and be forgotten. Marian was against that! That is why she spoke up.

    -yes, people who CHOOSE a path of misunderstanding (choosing something like the OALC as their Savior instead of Christ, though still claiming to be Christians)may at some point have to answer for it. I would guess people who actively work against God (prohibiting or discouraging young people from reading his Word ), though have all the info. to know better will have the worst of it.


    "May God grant you the grace of a true understanding and calm the turbulent storm in your poor little minds. If you pray God can give you strenght."

    -We can all agree God granting us Grace and understanding is a good thing. Peace is a good thing also, but not at the expense of truth or justice.

    - We are all poor compared to God, however we should do the best with what we have. The OALC discouraging college or even studying the Word is likely to lead to minds that are smaller than they could be.

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  71. oops- I meant backwaters preacher from Sweden. Sorry!

    By the way, at the end of his life Lars Levi Læstadius' daughter wrote he asked to have a copy of his OWN writings to hold as he died.... I think that was an interesting request for a man of God....

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  72. Very interesting, after reading LM's post I think I figured it out. The OALC is a paradoxial oxymoron. Thats why those inside cant figure it out for themselves. It's too complicated. (God is NOT the author of confusion)
    Their gospel is to be humble, not vain, suffering, humility, calling oneself unworthy or a poor example....sounds great. According to the OALC this would make you a good strong christian. Here is the problem, they have taken all these things so far & all have verbally stated such so much, it becomes obvious that the things you are trying to avoid by believing, claiming or practicing these things, make you exactly what they are. In other words, these "humilities" become a source of pride & vanity within themselves. A complete oxymoron. And you know the second half of that word.
    It's amazing how badly some will twist the gospel & the message of Jesus. It must break his heart to look down on the OALC & see that his shed blood for them was for naught.

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  73. Sad, sad, sad oalc poster. That you feel God wants us to suffer here on earth. He wants us to BE FREE!!! You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you FREE! He wants us to be happy and spread his undying love for us! Do you not understand that HE lives within us? Jesus did the work for us, he suffered and died and sacrificed HIS LIFE for our sins. What an amazing thing he did for US, for me, for you, for all who believe. Until you understand that, you will never understand grace. I will pray for you. May you find peace.

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  74. To Norahs post re: her email conversation. That guy is a fruitcake. People who are so stuck on thinking they are right will seldom change. I was laughing on how he was twisting your words. Have any of you read Twisted Scriptures? If not, its a good book to read. It explains alot. ALOT of concepts related to the Laestadian churches.

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  75. Many Trails Home1/09/2007 11:29:00 AM

    To Anonymous "Humilities:" I agree that it is a common trap that the deliberately humble can fall into and was apparently a common "fault" of nuns etc - competing to be the most humble, asking for the most humble jobs such as latrine cleaning, etc., to the point that this becomes prideful. I think that's why asking forgiveness for "self-righteousness" is always added to the standard list of sins. Just in case.

    Be careful in your own judgment, however. I would suggest that we let the OALCers and all the other Laestadians be who they are and do not condemn them either. They are where they need to be. We don't know what (if anything) "breaks Jesus heart." His blood was in fact shed for them as well as for everyone else and could not possibly be shed "for naught."

    May we all grow in wisdom, understanding, compassion, and acceptance. MTH

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  76. LLLreader sez: Some wonderful posts lately. For a member of the OALC to come to the realization they can go directly to Jesus,and talk to him, without the preachers and church members interceding is a hard step to take--especially when it is preached against. To be able to ask The Lord for forgivness DIRECTLY without cousin Arlo (on your mother's side) half listening while you are mumbling into his shoulder about being so slow to forgive etc. is another big step. To recognize that "whoever believeth in me shall be saved" is the largest step of all. I don't think everyone in the OALC is going to hell--it would hurt my heart to even think that some particular person, especially someone I love is destined for hell. Praise God that I don't have the right to judge--that's in God's hands. Thank you norah for that wonderful bit of scripture--He commands us--"he who loveth God love his brother also". How painful it must be to actually believe that most of the world will end up in hell

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  77. After reading all these latest postings, I certainly see an error which is common in much of human communicating. The error is taking one or a few comments which supposedly come from one group, and assuming that is depictive of the whole. I'm not sure at least one of the responses wasn't an imposter, as the OALC'ers in general do not fit the pattern they are being accused of. We all at times need to count to 10 (or more) before we respond with generalizations such as "you OALC'ers all..." etc. It can go both ways. I don't know of ANY of them who think God wants us to live with sorrow.

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  78. I think Jesus had something to say to the spiritual abusers of his time. I commend Marian for standing up for what is right. It takes courage and it is not easy. The people we can love and cherish, however the belief system is something I will never defend. It is hurting people. Even people still now, who feel stuck, because of fear of leaving, for to do that is taught to risk their salvation. I can only pray someday God will open their eyes before more people get hurt.

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  79. Stop everyone and listen to what MTH has said so well! (Thank you MTH for the calm voice.) I agree wholeheartedly.

    If someone is finding what they need in their life in any church -- whether it is OALC, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, in the stillness of their own heart, or wherever, then that is the right thing for them to follow. We do not know what is in any other person's heart, and to use the broad brush of accusation against any group is simply wrong. God does know what is in the heart, and I fervently believe that if a person is striving toward salvation, believing in the redemption of Christ, then that person will not be lost. Christ will not allow even one sheep to be lost!

    In no way do I condemn the OALC or the people in it. I personally have issues with some of the teachings and chose to leave to walk a different path. I am happy that most of my old friends in the OALC are still my old friends, and I value their companionship. Those that judge me ill were never my friends anyway, so I forgive them their misunderstanding and dismiss them.

    To take the personal path a step further, while I personally am a firmly believing Christian and Roman Catholic, I doubt that a person of Jewish faith, or Hindu faith, or any other non-Christian body is not just fine and acceptable in the eyes of God. I have a collection of writings in the Bible that I believe in; they have other books and words that define their laws and beliefs. After all, Jesus was not a Christian -- he was a Jew, whether people like it or not. His law was the Torah, and while the New Testament he gave us adds to it, we have not abandoned the Old Testament.

    None of us are perfect, nor can we ever be perfect. I was certainly not perfect while in the OALC, and I certainly am not perfect now as a Roman Catholic. What I am and always have been is a seeker of truth. We are all pilgrims on a journey, seeking truth and salvation in the way that is granted us by our Father in heaven. If God deems to make some understand in a different way than others, who are we to doubt that he knows not what he does?

    Having participated in this and other forums for quite some time now, I come to realize that those of us who have left the OALC or one of the other Laestadian churches often did so under difficult circumstances -- conditions that did not bespeak of Christian love and forebearance, but rather of hurt and shame and ill feelings that manifest as strongly as hate in some cases. I also come to realize that many who have stayed in the mother churches often have viewed those partings with as much or more anguish as we sojourners. We are people, and as such there times when the emotion is overwhelming and hurtful words and actions happen. Would that we could always and forever eschew that sort of bad behavior, but we cannot -- and ultimately it can be through those honest explosions of sentiment that healing takes place, as long as we recognize what is happening and seek to make something good out of it.

    If we chastise without thought, if we speak without care, if we even deem to discuss issues as critical as these without prayer, then surely we are foolish and irresponsible children and rightfully deserve nothing. If we on the other hand seek to understand, seek to comfort, seek to love, seek to aid, seek to help each other in every way and in every day that we can, then surely we are doing God's work.

    The walk is not meant to be easy, Friends, but I am blessed and thank God I have all of you with me on the way. Peace be with you all.

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  80. To the poster (Fri Jan 05, 12:35:34 PM) who criticized the Niska family who left the church:
    What do you consider blessings and what do you consider curses? Similar things have happened in the families who have left the church as the one that stayed, and the one that returned. Is it both ways? I don't doubt that you have had similar hardships in you life also; we have not seen your life through your eyes nor have you seen thier's through their eyes, so be careful how you judge.

    Are hardships(financial or other), deaths in the family, and other trials curses? In my experience they have been the means of seeing God's grace and provision in incredible ways. I have received such wonderful blessings during those times that I never could have received if I had not been in a position of need. (One small example: would you feel incredibly blessed and cared for by a stranger giving you a five-dollar token for groceries; I did after paying for that amount of groceries with coins, since that was all I had at that time)I have been drawn closer to the heart of my savior than I ever would have been without the hurt and pain. I could not experience true joy until I had known pure agony.

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  81. Cvow you are amazing! I wish I had your wisdom and insight. I wish I could articulate my feelings as well as you and others on this site. I am so thankful for all of you, for just being here. I have been struggling with the OALC for awhile now, and I don't know what I would do if I didn't have this and other blogs as a resource.

    Re: LM. If his/her posting is in jest, I for one am not laughing. Perhaps I am just at a very sensitive place right now concerning the OALC, and I fail to see the humor.

    I hope I can overcome the anger I feel toward the church. Hopefully, better days are ahead!

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  82. Dear OALC-Doubter,
    Bless your sweet heart, we are here for you. I think we are ALL fortunate to have this website where we can come for support. It is amazing what it has done for many of us over the past two years.

    Thank you, MTH and Cvow, for your postings. It's writings like yours that help us hang in there.....

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  83. Hi Anon 6:44..

    No, I haven't read Twisted Scriptures, but will look into it! The thing is (and you probably know this).. I didn't post it to imply that this attitude is not exclusive to just the SDA church.. can't we recognize that judgmental attitude and jumping to conclusions about other people even within ourselves? I certainly see it in me. But that is not God's way.. Love is His motivation.. the Bible is the story of His love and mercy. Out of time for now, must run..

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  84. I had never heard of spiritual abuse until I seen the link posted on this site. Then I started researching it more in depth. Just because something isn't intentional, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Twisted Scriptures does explain alot, although not all concepts in it are true of all churches. But there are many, it opened up my eyes.

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  85. Norah, if you read that book, I just want to tell you, for me, I went through alot of pain. I realized the truth and it hurt bad. I got through it and I think I needed to go through it. Now I am reading the bible and a book called A Purpose Driven Life. It has been very helpful for me. It talks about how we can be better Christians, and how we are not here for our purpose, but solely for Gods. He created us, he has the plans. All I can do is trust God, thats it. He knows what is best for me.

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  86. Re: Celebration of Life

    I know the LM take on the subject
    was satire but it brought up the
    comparison of my early life to
    Annie Dillards "Pilgrim at Tinkers
    Creek" experience with the gift of
    God's magnificent natural creation

    She spent one month on a dinky
    little creek called "Tinkers"
    {even the name suits it size}.
    I spent 3 full months every
    summer for teenage years {i3 to
    18] on the shores of the mighty
    Lake Superior [one of the largest
    fresh water bodies in the world]!
    LOL

    Our team consisted of myself,two
    older teen-age brothers and a
    cousin from New York City who
    related the vices of the big city
    life to our innocent minds.

    Building our self-reliance,
    parental supervision was only a
    weekend visit to survey the damage
    We had no phones ,TV.radio, or
    GPS. Our Hummer was an old Model A
    Ford with its high ground
    clearance one of the best Off-Road
    vehicles of the day.

    Our cottage was basic with no
    running water along with the
    necessary out-house which we named
    "The Dew Drop Inn".

    Please consider the following as
    adjunct of course to the primary
    religous experience with Jesus
    and God.

    Now to a description and
    appreciation of God's magnificent
    display of natural wonders and
    gifts ala Annie Dillard style.

    On a clear moonless night the
    breathtaking and awesome display
    of the Milky Way Galaxy curves
    over the sky .With a cheap tele-
    scope and charts from the Library,
    galaxies as far away as 2.3
    million light years away could
    be located.

    I sometimes think God is amused
    as he views the nit-picking
    arguments about belief on that
    tiny blue speck of life in the
    sky.

    Other natural wonders:
    Shimmering green northern lights.
    Full moon rise over dead calm lake
    Any sunrise over lake.
    Vicious gales and thundering waves
    Lightning and thunder storms where
    you can observe them from a
    glassed in porch.

    On a smaller scale :
    Watching a spider spin his nightly
    web under the front porch eaves.
    Fighting a !5# chinook on the end
    of a fishing lins.
    Surprised by a bear with three
    cubs while picking blueberries
    and spilling a full pail.


    I could go on but is just a
    sampling of some of the best years
    of my life.

    Of course there is a flip side to
    all of these God-given gifts
    viz.Holocaust,earthquakes,and on a
    personal level death of a younger
    brother etc. which I and no one
    else has an answer for but should
    that cancel the positive side ?

    P.S. I have one criticism of
    Annie's writing in which I
    thought was the overuse of
    metaphors. Using too many diluted
    the impact of 1 or 2 good ones.

    Even I can criticize a Pulitzer
    Prize winner! LOL

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  87. Many Trails Home1/10/2007 03:05:00 PM

    I'm envious, Troll. I want that experience (on Lake Superior, or wherever), even if I have it in my "dotage." MTH

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  88. LLLreader sez: I just finished Dillard's "Teaching a Stone to Talk" and she does metaphore all over the place doesn't she? Are you the one who posted (what seemed to be) her writing? If you did, where did you find it? I have been trying to find those passages, but no luck. 'Fess up!

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  89. Anonymous 8:32.. I understand what you are saying.. and you are doing the right thing by studying for yourself. It's the very best thing you can do! As I wrote in the first thread, and I'll refer to it here also.. to be on guard against any kind of thinking that says "you must" if it's not Biblical. It seems like my radar is set super-high these days and I test everything. I don't want to go back under any persons idea of what I must do.. but mainly through the Bible.. it all starts to fit together after awhile.. Although I've got a big library and still collect books of all kinds (rarely getting them read these days though :-/ ).. but anyway, I could ramble on and I'll do everyone a favor and quit lol. You're on the right track!

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  90. Troll, I just LOVE your post. You know, why would it be bad to have flowers and be surrounded with beauty of all kinds, when God Himself created so much beauty in the world! Oh, my goodness.. when you think of how creative the Creator was! He didn't spare color or beauty anywhere!!

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  91. LLL:reader
    Sorry, it wasn't me.

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  92. LLLreader.. you're welcome about the passage on love.. God's love is what it's all about, and I have to keep reminding myself of it. It truly is a journey, and I've been privileged to have so many neat Christians placed on my path who remind me of these things!

    JOY, you said: "I have received such wonderful blessings during those times that I never could have received if I had not been in a position of need." True! Having gone through many wilderness years, I can say that although it is painful it does cause a deepening of faith.. God calling us to himself.. leaning and depending on His provision. Hard to explain!

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  93. Hello all, I've just completed reading all 104 posts and I've had a myriad of emotions surge through me. I was born and raised in the oalc but never did I believe the doctrine. I would like to offer my own thoughts on why the oalc has such strong effects on current and past members. Starting at a very young age, you are told that you are different from those in the 'world'. Normal activities of youth such as sports, clubs, camp, or any such extra-curricular activities are not allowed and thus, at a very young age, begin to feel isolated. This can have damaging effects on a young mind struggling for self-acceptance- so you find it through the acceptance of others, the oalcers. This early association of acceptance with church members in combination of fear of the world creates an emotional bond that, when the time comes, is very difficult to sever. This, of course, is a simplified psychoanalysis and I can elaborate further if there is any interest. I would like to leave off with a piece of writing by a prolific English author (I've changed it bit for relevance sake).
    "Our spiritual vagueness divides men, it does not fuse them. Men will walk along the edge of a chasm in clear weather, but will edge miles away from it in a fog. So a Christian can walk up to the very edge of the 'world', if he knows what the 'world' is. But if he is told that the 'world' is a spirit, a sublime atmosphere, a noble, indefinable tendency, why, then he keeps out of its way; and quite right too."

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  94. I think your right and that must be where all the anger comes from when you try to leave. I am feeling it now...

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  95. It is important to to starve the seed of anger. Do not nourish it and allow it to grow into that terrible tree of hatred. My advice: read, write, hike, study, or anything that makes you feel positive.

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  96. Very true! I have learned to not let other people bring me down. No matter what they say or feel about me, I am okay with me and so is God. Anger will subside, its normal. But I would also recommend not to stay there. You cannot grow in Christ if you cannot forgive in your own heart. Trust him and he will heal.

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  97. To anon who is angry: I just have some thoughts I'd like to share with you. I for one understand the anger, I have been there and been very bitter. What right does anyone have to tell me I am going to hell just because I choose to worship at a different church? What gives you that right to judge my heart? And angry because of the way I was treated, friends abandoned me, family didn't want me taking my younger siblings anywhere, not even the store. Why would I want to influence them negatively? I love them! So I was very angry and bitter. It calmed down, years went by. Then I found Christ. The one huge mistake I did was bottling it up inside and not talking about it. So when I did find Christ, it all came tumbling out and it was just so much to handle all at once. I cried for days and days. Not because I was angry, but because of love and acceptance of what has happened to me. Cried because it was hard to believe my family thought they were truly the only Christians on earth, and I know now in my heart, that is not true. Cried because they have so many trials and temptations too, probably more than me maybe because of the things they "think" are wrong.
    Some things I have realized are this. As hard as I have had it, others have had it much worse. The Amish for example cannot even communicate with their family, how awful! At least I can associate with mine, thank God! And look at Jesus, what he suffered through. For us! He was beaten, spit on, hung on the cross to die a slow torturous death. Thank goodness that didn't happen to me. Or many others who have suffered worse. What I have learned through it all is that it will never be easy for me to think that my family thinks I am going to hell. But by resting in Jesus arms, I can get through it. No one else died for me, no one! He is my closest friend and confident, my saviour, my father, my comforter. Whenever I feel weak and disgusted and angry or whatever, I talk to him and cry and pour out my feelings to him. My what a great friend he is, he is ALWAYS there to listen to me. Now Jesus, what can I do for you? I can love, I can forgive, I can spread your love to others. I can stop dwelling on the past and move forward and work on strengthening my relationship with you. When you find so much love for him, you will naturally have love for others. Because he lives in you! Its so wonderful! Talk to people if that helps, get it out, vent. Ask God to help you and strengthen you. He WILL! He promised us! If you ever need to talk, you can email me. I will listen. God bless!

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  98. Norah, I love your words about God. That he didn't spare color and beauty anywhere. So true! Look all around us. Nature, animals, technology, people. There is so much beauty! To not enjoy it and appreciate it, is to not enjoy God!Look at the diversity in animals, plants and people! Its amazing. We are all different, but all special in his eyes.

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  99. Hi Faith, thanks for those reassuring words!

    Anonymous.. yes, I'd like to hear more, if you'd care to elaborate. You are on to something here, I think!

    will write more but distracted at the moment.. :-)

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  100. To anon 10:50
    Yes,please elaborate more on your wonderfull post.

    To Faith:
    Thank you for sharing you life experiences after leaving the oalc. We are going through similar feelings and experiences now, and posts like yours are very helpful.
    God bless.

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  101. to faith--talking about the trials the OALC members face--how can they possibly stand to think about everyone that they know who is not in their church going to hell???? For a person like Marian, who was so loved by so many, and who spoke so openly about her love of the Lord--how could anyone possibly believe that spirit filled women who followed the Lord would be in hell??? How could the people in the OALC that loved her choose to believe she is in hell??? There must be a part of their mind, or heart, that thinks--well, maybe it's not so black and white. I hope so anyway. What does it do to a person's mind if have to think their beloved family memberss are in hell? Do they just become numb to the pain of it?

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  102. I know its very sad for them and hard for them to think that. They just honestly and sincerely think it's true. And I just want to wrap my arms around them and say don't worry, I'll be in heaven too. Its kind of like this: I am in a boat headed toward a huge waterfall. They are so worried and scared for me because I am going to go over the falls and die. I see the net right over the edge of the falls. I know I will be safe because I see the net, they do not see it and are scared. Make sense? Thats why I love them so because I know they love me and don't sincerely want any harm done to me.

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  103. Wow.
    I see the net too! And I also feel the frustration that they can't see what is so clearly there! Just very thankful that I can see it.

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  104. I think it has become more of a tradition of man than anything. And yes, its like this to me from what I see in their viewpoint. Heres the road to heaven, before you get to the gate and enter, you must go through the Laestadians first. Well, the only mediator between myself and God is Jesus Christ. By the way I was in the LLC, not the OALC. But same thing, the OALC just had more "rules".

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  105. The OALC group is living in bondage. All I see is a bunch of rules that not kept. The leaders seem to be hypocrites. How many of them have sexual impurity? They need to examine their hearts and pray for truth. What a sad empty lonely life.

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  106. Why do u hide behind fake names?

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  107. What is the difference if you write under fake names or anonymous?
    For God so loved you and me... He died on the cross for you and me... For whoever calls Jesus Lord and bows their knee before Him will be saved...
    Marian's sister(I miss her)

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  108. To Anonymous who posted Fri Jun 10: Do you realize you posted anonymously?

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