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

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Welcome OALCers

This post by MTH deserves to be front and center:

"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"


  1. did anybody read that website that was posted earlier? They actually have their beliefs written down. The writer is a OALC preacher from Norway.


  2. LLLreader: Thank you so much for your post MTH. It expressed an idea that I hadn't had before. For me, too, leaving the OALC forced me to really think about who God is and how he works in my life. I had to search the Bible, pray, and look deeply into my heart in order to turn my will and my life over to God's care. I attended several churches before I found the one that reflects God's will for me. I have found a protection, comfort, and love from Jesus that I never experienced at the OALC. I could never believe that the Lord is so weak that the devil could so easily grab me away from his Loving Care, as the OALC teaches. I don't hate the members of the OALC, in fact I dearly love many of them. I want the members who find their spiritual needs filled in the OALC to continue in the church if that works for them. What I can never accept is the unwilliness of some members to recognize that my spiritual belief is as strong, right, and correct in the eyes of God as they believe their teachings are. God works in me, and through me. As MTH said, some of us are given the wonderful scary task of finding who we are by having to start over, we are "as children", after leaving the OALC. Blessings followed me and continue to fill my life.

  3. "From faith to faith" is a booklet written by a Norwegian OALC preacher to have something to hand out to people who are curious about the OALC faith. A splendid idea, indeed! In my opinion it's a good presentation of the OALC doctrine in a nutshell. However, it should be noted that in the chapter that deals with baptism there are some misleading quotes from the Lutheran Confession. The author writes as if he's quoting the Lutheran Confession, but in fact he's quoting comments to the Lutheran Confession written by a contemporary Norwegian Lutheran priest. The author being one of the most open-minded OALC preachers in Norway, I don't like criticizing him too much, but I feel it's important we keep to the facts when we want to prove our beliefs. The OALC should stop claiming that their doctrine is completely Lutheran because it's not, in some regards it's Calvinistic and in some other regards it's Catholic.

    Also the OALC in Finland has a booklet that is intended to be handed out to inquirers but it's much shorter and gives only a general presentation, not so much about the doctrine as "From faith to faith" has.

  4. I often wonder if the OALC, the LLC, FALC, and all the other exclusivist churches really know the God I know. That he would condemn people who have given their life to Christ, to hell. Thats not the God I know.

  5. This is interesting. Do you think the American OALC leaders would recognize this article for sure? I have to ask this since you stated the author was the most open-minded of them. In America it is often said today that the unity within the church is the greatest it's ever been (wouldn't sense any one preacher more openminded than another really). Wouldn't know about Scandanavian congregations though.

  6. The article is very much what the LLC teaches, very few differences.

  7. This is almost identical to the teachings of the LLC. The only differences that I noticed is that the LLC women don't cover their heads, and I think the LLC would say that Jesus Christ is the founder of the church, not Martin Luther. Other then that, it seems identical to the teachings that I was brought up in.

    In reply to number 4
    People in the LLC do serve the same God I do. Whenever I see my family, I can tell that the Holy Spirit is living inside of them, And I KNOW that they love God.

  8. I think the American OALC probably would accept most of what is said in the article. The only thing I can think of is that they might want to be more specific about the OALC being the living christianity. The Norwegian article only says that you have to come to the church of the firstborn, but it doesn't say that the OALC alone is the church of the firstborn. I also suspect they might want to write that Christians should not have televisions or radios in their homes, while the Norwegian text only states that certain programs can be dangerous. I also suspect that many Americans might have a problem with the wording "we are very moderate in the use of instruments.", which they probably would like to change to a total ban of musical instruments. Musical instruments are much more common in Europe (organ being the most common one), and in Norway I've even witnessed several times that they played an organ at OALC meetings if there was one in the meeting locality.

  9. “Accusations of bias often result from unacknowledged favoritism on the part of a critic or judge, … Any tendency to favor a certain set of values naturally leads to an uneven dispensation of judgment.”


    Promote religious tolerance. Are you anymore tolerant?

    If you feel that this a fair and balanced approach please reconsider.

  10. Many Trails Home1/08/2007 04:47:00 PM

    To Wikipedia quoter: I suspect you are the one who frequently posts quotes and I suspect you are a Finland Finn from your use of English. So who says we need to be "fair and balanced" and unbiased? I hereby wholehartedly acknowledge that I am biased and play favorites. I am biased in favor of Free2BMe, for instance, and in favor of those who fearlessly question the spiritual pap they are force-fed. What's wrong with that? We cannot be passionate without favoritism: Here's to passion! MTH

  11. To the wiki quoter: what or whom are you addressing? This blog in general or a particular comment? Please be more specific.

  12. Riddle me this:

    I am Wu wei.

    You are Lex Talionis.

  13. Clever, professor. I love riddles and verbal jujitsu.

    But you misread my motives if you think that I -- or this site -- is "eye for an eye." I condemn no one to hell, or even to a particular church. I speak of my own experiences in hopes that in doing so, I will help others. And I have.

    Wu Wei (action without action, in harmony with the Tao) is an appealing ideal -- but tell me, how exactly are you an example, and how am I a counterexample, if that is what you mean?

    Or do you prefer riddles because actual distinctions risk "intolerance" . . . !

    Riddle me this:
    One way is yang, the other: yin. In balance: Ming.

  14. I’m an example of “barely myself”… “Agonies are one of my changes of garments, I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person, my hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe.” Walt Whitman (1819–1892).

    Yin/Yang - Opposing forces, Continuous/Discrete
    Newton's Third Law states:
    "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

    I reflect on – no reaction.

  15. I reflect in a mirror

  16. Lovely . . . thank you. Note that Whitman wrote, and so do you . . . this writing is action. Please continue. I'm intrigued.

    “He who sees the inaction that is in action, and the action that is in inaction, is wise indeed. Even when he is engaged in action he remains poised in the tranquility of the soul.” Bhagavad Gita

  17. Lovely . . . thank you. Note that Whitman wrote, and so do you . . . this writing is action. Please continue. I'm intrigued.

    “He who sees the inaction that is in action, and the action that is in inaction, is wise indeed. Even when he is engaged in action he remains poised in the tranquility of the soul.” Bhagavad Gita

  18. Also:
    "I know perfectly well my own egotism,
    Know my omnivorous lines and must not write any less," WW

  19. Hello everyone. I am an attendee of the OALC and would like to say that I am encouraged by the discussion on this blog. It is very difficult (as some of you undoubtedly know) to have any sort of discourse on the validity of the doctrine with OALCers. When taking part in any part of any sort of discussion, the assumption is always that one is in lock-step with the others. I have no hard feelings for I understand the mindset. Just wanted to drop a note to show that all OALCers aren't as close-minded as portrayed.

  20. I appreciate the above comment very much. It is so true that it cannot be assumed that any one person subscribes to a certain way of thinking no matter which church they attend.
    I know I attended the OALC for at least a year afraid to voice my own opinions. Just to look at me did not show what was in my head or heart.
    Blessings to you,

  21. more info on the OLAC.


  22. http://www.apostolic-lutheran.org/history/index.html

  23. Does anyone know why the OALC changed the Luther's Creed to read "descended into hell (in Gethsemane)"? If I understand it correctly it was the cause of one of the major splits in the church.

  24. If we're talking about the same thing Anon, the OALC had nothing to do with any changes to the creed -- and it's not "Luther's Creed", although perhaps the version used in the Lutheran churches is called that. The history of the creeds is the following.

    The Apostle's Creed, has been around since the second century and was formalized in the 11th century -- long before Luther. In part it reads "...suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended in heaven..."

    Many people -- especially Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Churches --are more familiar with the Nicene Creed, which has roots from A. D. 325. It in a similar portion reads "...For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day, he rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures; he ascended into heaven..."

    Speaking of those historic creeds, are you aware that the original wording in the Apostle's Creed said "...believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints...", while the Nicene Creed read "...We believe in one holy and catholic and apostolic Church. The word catholic in these creeds meant "universal", and did not mean the Roman Catholic or Orthodox churches. Many of the protestant churches changed the wording to read "...I believe in one holy and Christian church..". For some reason, I happened years ago to be at a service in an American Lutheran Church in North Dakota when the pastor explained that, and said that henceforth they would all recite the original words. Those old Germans in the congregation did it because the pastor said they had to, but they said it through gritted teeth. It was pretty amusing.

  25. Actually the OALC did change the Apostolic creed. I think it happened in the 1880s or 1890s. They moved "descended into hell" forward so that it would appear as if Christ descended into hell before his death, and they also added the words "in Gethsemane" after that, although in parenthesis, to make their point clear. As far as I know, they are the only Christian group using exactly that wording, and I've heard even Finnish oalcers call the American oalcers heretics because of the change...

    In the Orthodox church we don't use the Apostolic creed because it was never officially approved by any church council (only the Nicene creed was), but I still find the change they made to the Apostolic creed very strange...

  26. Many Trails Home1/16/2007 05:29:00 AM

    Theoforos, I am grateful to you scholars and historians among us who can enlighten us on some of these issues, for history's sake. On the other hand, I find it amazing that groups of Christians call others "heretics" over the darnedest things. Jesus never said, "You will not get into heaven unless you recite XYZ exactly perfectly." He did not even say, "Here is my Lord's prayer. Memorize it and quote it exactly like this." No he said, in effect, here is an example of a prayer and you might consider including these elements when you pray.
    What is the matter with us, that we think these things are of such supreme importance, when what Jesus said was, "Love one another, as I have loved you?" Obviously that requires a lot more of us than intellectualizing, doesn't it, folks? MTH

  27. What we believe inevitably affects our relationship with God, and faults in the doctrine can jeopardize salvation. The fact is that there are varying degrees of heresies, and they can be dangerous if you embrace them.

    However, I agree that one should be careful in calling others heretics. Heresy is a very strong word... In the Orthodox church the church councils, led by the Holy Spirit, take stand on doctrines and define what is heresy. However, to my knowledge there is no such decision about Christ's descent to hell in Gethsemane being heresy, which makes me very hesitant to call it heresy although I find it very strange and don't know what to think about it. It also amazes me how someone would be so confident of his own understanding that he'd consider himself competent to change a text that's thousands of years old...

    By the way, I looked for some more information about the mentioned addition, and it seems like it was done by John Takkinen in early 1880s, spurring strong criticism among his opponents. Later, when the community split, Takkinen's followers, i.e. the OALC, continued to use Takkinen's version of the creed, while the other factions clung to the original unchanged version. I also learned that a Finnish theologian and church historian, Seppo Lohi, who belongs to the SRK/LLC faction, is writing a book about the controversy around Takkinen's altered creed.

  28. Heresy, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is a "theological or religious opinion or doctrine maintained in opposition, or held to be contrary, to the Roman Catholic or Orthodox doctrine of the Christian Church, or, by extension, to that of any church, creed, or religious system, considered as orthodox. By extension, heresy is an opinion or doctrine in philosophy, politics, science, art, etc., at variance with those generally accepted as authoritative." The study of heresy is heresiology.

    What churches are considered Orthodox? I am searching for a church and I have been very cautious because I don't want to join one that is not preaching truth.

  29. Faith, the Orthodox Catholics and Roman Catholics are sort of kissing cousins, who separated many years ago, but still maintain ties. For example, if there is no Roman church available, an RC may attend Orthodox Mass and with the permission of the local prelate, receive communion. I assume vice versa is true as well, but don't know for sure. This is the only exception that I am aware of to the shared communion rules of the RC church. The reason for this ban against shared communion with other churches -- which many protestants have a problem with -- is that we believe that communion implies a shared faith -- and while we do have a shared faith in the salvation through Christ, there is too much difference in the details. Theoforos, can you expand on this from Orthodox side?

    I have taught RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) in the Roman Catholic church for many years. If anyone is interested in learning about the RC faith, I would encourage you to stop by a parish and enroll in the classes, which typically start in the early fall, and run weekly until a culmination at Easter for those who have decided this is the right home for them. It is an exploration of faith program, and we have a lot of fun discussing differences in belief, and finding that in most cases we are indeed far more alike than we are different! I -- and all of the co-teachers I've worked with over the years -- treat the program as a no pressure exploration and explanation of our faith and the journey we've all been on, and we try our best to answer any and all questions. Some of the teachers are "cradle Catholics", and others like myself are converts. In some small parishes, the priest or deacon might leads the exploration, with little lay help. I have always taught in large parishes, and we would ask the priest to come only rarely. Frankly I like that, because it tends to make people more free to open up and ask questions -- you know, important stuff like "why does the priest wear that goofy getup?" and other things they might not ask a priest himself. I feel guilty sometimes because I think I learn more about my own faith in those classes than the inquirers do!

  30. Interesting.
    I have heard that the Catholics believe they alone have the keys to the kingdom. Is this true? Do you accept Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterians as Christians? So who would be considered heretics?

  31. Many Trails Home1/16/2007 12:52:00 PM

    Good question, Faith. If you really want to know what a "heretic" is, it's a person who doesn't believe what I believe! That's the definition. (The "I" varies.)

    Theoforos, I am going to take a strong stand here. To your comment "What we believe inevitably affects our relationship with God," I would say, "If you think so." I personally don't think God cares a fig what I believe (as my belief and understanding are puny compared to the magnificence of God). He cares what is "in my heart," period. What if I am a "bear of little brain" and don't understand any of this? Am I then "lost?" What if I have little education, low IQ, mental illness, am an 8-year-old native somewhere on the planet? Am I "lost?"
    And this: "faults in the doctrine can jeopardize our salvation." I don't think so. I am strongly convinced that God is not that picayune. These are the hair-splittings of men (usually in some powerful committee, or "council"), men who have a little trouble with "Love one another as I have loved you." They'd rather exercise their intellects, power, and control than exercise their hearts, and they ever eschew simplicity. Back to basics, folks, back to basics: "Love the Lord your God" etc etc. It should work every time. And that is my most profound belief and faith, that God and the Christ are there for each of us, by direct access, regardless of the fine points of our doctrinal beliefs.
    May we all learn, be strengthened, and draw ever closer to God as a result of these exchanges. Many blessings. MTH

  32. As cvow wrote above, in the Orthodox church we believe, just like the Catholics, that a shared faith is the prerequisite for a shared communion. In the Orthodox church this is symbolized by the fact that the communion is always preceded by the Nicene creed, in which we confess the most fundamental beliefs of our faith. The communion is the most concrete sign of unity, not a means to achieve unity.

    The word 'heretic' is rarely used in the Orthodox church, mostly about groups like Mormons, Jehova's witnesses etc. The word 'heterodox' is a much more common term used about the non-Orthodox, i.e. those Christians whose faith deviates from ours to some extent. In addition to "heretics" and "heterodox" there are also so-called "schismatics" who share the same faith with us but have broken communion for some reason. Besides, in very many cases it is very difficult to say which category some Christian group might fall in... Anyway, although we consider our church the original church from which all the others have left, we don't want to judge others. God is the only righteous judge. He can save anyone he wants, and only he knows who will be saved. This applies also to Faith's question about Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians etc. We consider them Christians because they believe in Christ, but their beliefs are somewhat different from ours, and as we are "orthodox" Christians they are "heterodox" Christians. :) We pray that they will be united with us here on earth, but if not, we pray that God will be merciful to them and hope they will be saved.

    Cvow also told about the practice of allowing intercommunion between Orthodox and Catholics if one is far from one's own church. Well, there are many opinions about that, but the general rule seems to be that the Catholic church allows Catholics to receive communion with the Orthodox and Orthodox to receive communion with the Catholics, whereas the Orthodox church only allows Catholics to receive communion with the Orthodox but normally doesn't allow its own members to receive communion with the Catholics (or any other church). In practice, there are exceptions to that rule, though, i.e. Orthodox receiving communion with the Catholics.

    If anyone wants to find out about the Orthodox church, I suggest you take a look at the following site:


    All the Orthodox "jurisdictions" listed on that site are in communion with the church I belong to. Usually there should be only one local church (jurisdiction) in each area, but immigration and some other reasons have unfortunately led to several overlapping jurisdictions in some areas, North America being the extreme.

  33. MTH, you had many good points in your last post. :) However, I'd like to emphasize something that western Christians tend to have a very distorted view on. God is not an angry old man who makes a labyrinth of stupid rules we have to follow lest we want to have him running after us, yelling and hitting us with his cane. No, God is a loving Father who has revealed himself to us so that we would grow closer to him. My point is that the doctrine is not some test we have to pass, but it is given to us as a guide. If you are hiking in the wilderness and your map is faulty you risk never coming alive out of that wilderness.

  34. MTH, how shockingly unorthodox and Eastern of you. (Of course, Jesus was those things, too, wasn't he?).

    Thank you for putting into words what I've often tried and failed to say.

    Faith, here's another unorthodox idea: what church you attend is not so important. Does it insult your intelligence or inspire it? Does it walk the walk or just talk the talk? Does it feed people or drain them? Is it close enough to visit frequently and become your community? Is its coffee good (okay, maybe the last one is not so critical).

  35. Theo, I like your idea of doctrine as a map, although many folks do just fine in the woods without one.

  36. I have to agree with MTH and Free. There are things I cannot accept about the Catholic church. Not saying I think your wrong, I just don't accept some of it.
    Its hard to know who is right or wrong. I think its possible every church is teaching something wrong. We are humans. I have been attending mass at a Lutheran and a Methodist and have enjoyed both and agree with both. I guess I feel that I just have God in my heart and he will lead me where he wants me. I just have to trust him. Churches that have deviated from essential Christian doctrines such as Jehovah Witness I do not accept as Christian. I guess I feel that is a church has the foundation of Christ, it doesn't matter whether your church is blue, green, purple, frilly, plain or whatever. The foundation is there. There is still unity, Christ.

  37. There is only one thing about the Laestadian churches that I am not understanding, I have figured out the rest. The teaching that a person HAS to be present when the Holy Spirit enters you. I know there are examples in the bible where this has happened. God appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus and told him to go find Ananias. Then when he did, the scales fell from his eyes then, not on the road.
    Well, I felt the Holy Spirit enter me and I was alone. Its just something I know was God and nothing else. How do I explain this? Is there anything in the bible? I know theres a verse that says the spirit is like the wind, you don't know whether it cometh or whether it goeth, so is everyone born of the spirit. Could this explain it?

  38. Many Trails Home1/17/2007 10:44:00 AM

    Faith, you are an angel. The Bible often refers to people alone, advising us to go into a "closet" alone to pray, Jesus and others going alone into the wilderness etc. If God comes to us in the "still quiet place," are we not more likely to be alone?
    I for one think you are on the right track. I am ABSOLUTELY SURE that God (the Holy Spirit) is very capable of coming to us, and even more likely to come to us, when we are absolutely alone. Many blessings to you. MTH

  39. Thanks MTH! I enjoy reading your posts. This site is a blessing from God.
    I knew it was possible because it happened to me, I just didn't know how to explain it, so that helps and makes sense to me.
    I don't have any Christian friends as of yet. Trying to figure out which church to belong to. I am particular to one, so that will probably be it. They have small groups and I am going to join one and I think that will be very helpful for me.
    I went 14 years being turned off by God, church, and religion. 14 years! How sad! I don't know why, maybe because of the experience I had, just turned me off to it all. Confusion? Didn't bother to figure out what was true and untrue, just forgot about it. Sad, but so very happy God called me back to him!

  40. I believe most who depart an LLL church find it difficult to be at peace very soon, as most other churches have so much other "baggage" which will seem troubling. In fact, many of these other churches are apostate in my books. Some of you may have ended up more "universalist" which is kind of a far cry from fundamental Laestadism. I don't think you become that way overnight.

  41. Many Trails Home1/18/2007 11:49:00 AM

    Faith, your experience is very common, as others on this site have also reported. I for one went through two decades (age 18-40) of "dark night of the soul," unable to believe the OALC dogma of my youth, yet unable to find any replacement. Dark bleak years indeed. There seemed to be no avoiding it. So if any of us older folks give you younger folks any advice, it is usually from the perspective of having been where you are and having slogged our way through it somehow, often by the grace of God even though we could not see it at the time. That's why we can say, "Take heart. Go easy on yourself. Cut yourself slack and cut everyone else slack as well. Ask and you shall receive. God and the Christ are there for you now and always." Amen MTH

  42. On leaving my church:
    For many years I struggled and stayed. I kept trying to figure out if I was being complacent or patient. I knew so much of what I was seeing or hearing (in the chuch community) was not what I garnered from my reading of the Bible. It seemed in such strong contrast. I'd go for long stretches where I wouldn't even read the Bible because it was causing me so much distress! Hiding from God, in a way!
    But through patience and prayer, I was lead out of the darkness and confusion. The final and full realization that it was all done on the cross and all this other stuff was hooey was liberating for me. But liberation can be terrifying. I don't know if I will ever be comfortable in this skin. I suspect not. I once heard an announcer on Christian radio state that of course we feel like aliens here. It is not our world. Our world will come next.
    Free, don't be afraid of taking your sweet ole time and trying many different churches. Don't be afraid to try even all the non-denominational ones. There are many wonderful congregations that belong to no order or federation, but they get it! God will tell you when you should stay.

  43. Anonymous, I think you have some interesting thoughts there, and I probably would agree with you on many points. You are right, every church has some baggage, and yes - some churches are actually apostate, I totally agree.

    One thing that was mentioned was universalist, and I wanted to say something about that.. There is a difference between the 'universal church', and being a 'universalist church'. The universal church is made up of all believers in Christ. Ephesians 2 is eloquent, I think.. this passage speaks about the Jews and the Gentiles 'both having access by one Spirit unto the Father'.. fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God..build upon the foundation of the the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. (Can't you imagine the picture that is portrayed here, of a house on a foundation, with Christ as the cornerstone, or the critical and most important stone upon which the entire structure is built?). We are all 'fitly framed together growing into a holy temple _in the Lord_. And we are 'built together for an habitation - a dwelling place!- of God through the Spirit. WE, as individual believers, are a dwelling place for God.. through. the. Spirit!

    This is the universal church, which began in Acts 2 when a 'sound of heaven as of a rushing mighty wind' filled the house where they were sitting, and cloven tongues of fire sat upon each of them.. This is when the Holy Spirit was breathed on them, and this is the same Spirit which has been breathed on generations upon generations since then, and still is with us today. There is no 'Jew or Greek', we are all one in the Spirit.

    I'm not a theologian, so I use words that probably aren't the most eloquent or correct, as in the way a pastor would speak them. But I hope that these words would be truthful, no matter how poorly I type them here..

    I'd be interested in hearing more from you, Anon.. please feel free to question or respond to anything I or others have written. I think many of us have been where you are.. I hear ya.

  44. I found this article on the batteredsheep.com website. Rings true for me!

    Leaving an unhealthy church situation can leave some very deep scars. One example of the collateral damage is a very painful exit process. Those who leave an unhealthy church situation suffer isolation, bitterness, embarrassment, grief, and anger. This is coupled with confusion and wondering how God could let this happen. They also chide themselves for getting into such a group and staying in the organization as long as they did.

    One man who left an unhealthy situation stated, "I am confused over the emotions I feel. At times, I am glad to have left the organization. I enjoy the new freedoms I have in Christ and relief from the burdens I was carrying for many years. At other times I suffer the pain over the lost years and lost friendships. It's like experiencing a death in the family." The Ryans, who left an abusive situation, state, "Spiritual abuse is a kind of abuse which damages the central core of who you are. It leaves us spiritually disorganized and emotionally cut off from the healing love of God."(2)

    Many end up forsaking the church or religion. One ex-member wrote, "I know that when people finally decide on their own to leave, they are so beaten down and confused that they don't know what is true to hold on to versus what is false to discard. Many quit seeking God and give up on the church all together."(3)

    In his book, Recovering from Churches that Abuse, Dr. Ronald Enroth states that victims of church abuse suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.(4) Many are unable to trust anyone--including God--which complicates the process, since developing healthy relationships is essential to the recovery process.

    Although exiting is difficult, recovery is not impossible. There is hope! Keep in mind the healing process is not the same for each person. For some, healing may take years; for others it may happen in a few months. Some will be able to recover through the help of a mature Christian community while others may need professional Christian counseling.

  45. Just wanted to throw out an invite. Been following your blog site for some time now. Have friends who are OALC.
    I attend a non denominational church in Vancouver (I live in North Clark County). Our congregation is fairly conservitive, we have worship, small bible study & life groups that meet during the week, ladies bible classes, mom's support groups & all kinds of stuff. (Writing groups, quilting, ladies retreats, teen coffee house, marriage enrichment etc.) We enjoy acapella singing with traditional hymns & some modern praise songs. There is truly a little bit for everyone. We are a new testament church. We are autonomous & have no "higher ups" other than Jesus Christ. No creeds or confessions. We adhere to the holy bible as our only source of authority & instruction. The web address is www.vanchurch.org. If anyone has any questions or would like to visit, our doors are always open & I'd meet you there or pick you up. My personal email is katsantiques@yahoo.com.
    I too, took a 20 year hiatus from religion & God. I feel very at home with this congregation. I have also been told that there are a "few" people from the OALC church that attend there now.
    Again, it's just an invite & I wish you all the best in your spiritual growth & wanting to be closer to Jesus Christ.
    In Christian love,