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

Friday, April 13, 2007

Delurk Thread

Oldtoot suggested on the last thread that there are a lot of folks hanging out here who don't comment. With upwards of 130 hits a day, that must be true. What are you waiting for? No one has to know. You can remain anonymous or choose a handle. You can rant or rave, share a joke or book recommendation, or just say hi.

This blog lives on comments.

So here's the deal. Ten newbies delurk (post a comment) and I'll share a puppy photo. A really cute one.

Regulars, you may comment also, of course. But no cheating! Use your handle.


  1. I say now HI!

    I am a finn and I live in Finland too. I don´t remember how I found this site (perhaps there was a link somewhere).

    We are so similar, I have found it when I have read your comments. I understand you who have left Laestadianism although I have not left this congregation we have in Finland. Some years ago I found a Finnish radio programme "Bible from cover to cover" (it is in internet too www.sansa.fi). I have listened it nearly every day and it has been fantastic to be able to learn the Bible!

    Many people in our congregation cannot accept that kind of things because that man who has written that programme is a clergyman in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (although we all are members of that church..!)

    Now I say greetings to all of you! Thank you for this site and this possibility to practise my English...!

  2. Kiitos for delurking and for your interesting comments. Your English is already better than many native speakers, but I encourage you to practice here. Please tell us about your congregation. Would you say it is becoming more or less traditional?

  3. Oh, it is the same as OALC! But we have been here a part of our Evangelical Lutheran Church always and that is why I think it is not just the same thing...

    Already when I was young (I´m now 55) I used to go to that "official" church often. I liked organ music and liturgy too. I used to go to "seurat" too... I think our congregation here is not as closed as OALC is in USA. Laestadians here have no sacraments of their own, we are members of this Evangelical Lutheran Church.

    In future it is not sure because there are many people who don´t accept our "formal" or "official" church (women priests for instance).

    Some years ago I had a crisis of my own and then I had to think everything, what is the basis of my life really and so on...I found that I don´t believe anything...

    Then I found this radio programme I told before and I could study the Bible. I found all those old stories we studied at school when I was a little girl and those too I had never heard to be explained.

    I think many of those problems you are talking here are the same we have in Finland in spite of differences I mentioned. I am used to go to Laestadian meetings only some times a year; I think it is rather the same as to go home I had when I was a child...I can never forget those songs and that atmosphere, so why to try to leave it? It is part of my life, it is so deeply in my heart. My friends are too there.

    Don´t understand me wrong, I mean this is just my experience. My children have not experienced this by the same way as I have and they have always lived by their way and they have left.

    It is very interesting to read about different life stories and how people can find their ways out of difficult situations and what kind of experiences people have.

    Now excuse me this story, it is rather imperfect because my vocabulary is so small; I have no words to explain these things!

    Greetings to you!

  4. I´m here again!

    I would like to add one word: I have read that I wrote before and I found it was CHAOTIC!

    Perhaps I take part only reading these comments...

    Bye, bye!

  5. anon above: i understood what you said, it wasn't chaotic like you thought! keep commenting!!! Your english is better than you think!!

  6. anon,

    It's good that you write! Your story is important, too. You are courageous for writing even though you have a hard time thinking of your words. The more you do it, the easier it will be.
    It was interesting to read because it is helpful to know what other people have experienced.

    Thank you!

  7. Dear anonymous from Finland--oh please don't leave-I understood you completely. Your feelings are very clear, and there are many who have the feeling of going home again when they hear the old songs, and it is one of the things that keeps you there. That is what bothers some of us who left. We can't believe the teachings of the OALC as being the only right church, but I for one, wish I had a childhood church that I could "go home" to. I don't, so I have had to create my own "home". That is the only true thing to do, but it doesn't take away the longing for "what could have been". Some members of the church would like it think that longing is an indication that I know their church is right--but the truth is very different. The longing is for a childhood that would have been filled with lessons on loving the Lord, rejoicing in his love for us, and reading of the Word. All I learned to was to be worried about what other people in the church thought and how important it was to follow the church rules--had nothing to do with God.

  8. To clarify 1 thing......
    I believe there are specifically many OALC lurkers here. No question that with that many daily hits, most people dont post. However, despite the warnings preached in the OALC about the internet (which is because they dont believe God can provide them with self-control to keep members from surfung for porn on the web. HONEST!) there are many OALCers with internet access at work and at home because they "need" it. Those wo no not have computer visit those who do and then everyone`s couriousity is then fed. No question OALCers are here.

    TO the anon who thought I was getting "heated".... NOPE- just telling the truth. I noticed that you or nobody else corrected my statements and I stand by them.
    No doubt in my mind this site is setting doubts in the minds of OALCers. I know it would have for me if this site would have been there for me when I was a Toot.

  9. To the Finnish anonymous OALCer, thanks for delurking! It's good to know there are other fellow "Finlanders" here, I'm in Finland, too. :) I haven't contributed much lately, I guess I just haven't had anything to say, but I've participated more in the discussion in the past. I like to visit OALC meetings every now and then, too. Although I don't approve of much of what they preach there and don't feel any spiritual need to go there I still like the social aspects of it, meeting people etc, and singing all those old songs is kind of fun, we don't sing along that much in the Orthodox church. I guess it's now more than a year since I went to the OALC last time, but I've been to the ALC a couple of times during the past year, it's pretty much the same feeling there as in the OALC.

  10. Thank you, tk and daisyaday! It was nice to read your comments.

    And illreader, I can agree many things you wrote... I too remember many things from my childhood that are not good. I know very well those rules...I have many distressing experiences. I don´t believe it is the only right church in the world and that is why I go there only now and then just as Theoforos said. That is why many people think I have left, my sister for instance, she said me last yesterday that my way is bad and I ought to think my death. It is very difficult to explain her this.

    But I think that we cannot have a sinless congregation or sinless friends or siblings. We have problems where we are... I think this is sometimes rather funny because some of my siblings really think I am lost and my children think (and say too) that I am narrow-minded and oldfashioned.
    I´m afraid I´ll be one day a skitsofrenic woman...

    (My husband is wise: he doesn´t say ANYTHING. If he loves himself it is the best for him :-)

    Theoforos, I have read your comments and I think they have been fine: I wonder who you are? Perhaps I know you?
    I must now admit I envy your good knowledge of English!

    I have found in this site so much more acceptance and love than here in Finland in our websites where we can discuss with each other. I have seen your comments there, Theoforos, and I think you can see the same thing...Perhaps we cannot respect each other´s opinions in Finland?

    Old toot, the preachers warn of course about internet too here in Finland but I think nowadays people cannot help using these possibilities to connect each other. And this is fine! Of course there are always possibilities to use EVERYTHING wrong...

    It is fine to think I can have friends in USA. I have there some relatives (in WA, I was there many years ago) but I suppose they are not lurking this site...

    Our spring has been warmer than ever (+20) and now I go out!

    Bye bye!

  11. I am an exoalc'er (and a physician also). My family honored our dad's request to go home to die. I think it's unconscionable NOT to honor a parent's dying wish. I can think no reason on God's green earth not to.

  12. To our Dear Friend from Finland--I got a laugh out of your comment that if your husband loves himself it is best for him to keep quiet. I just told my husband the same thing!!! Do you have relatives that stay away from you because you have new ideas? What about cutting your hair, makeup, and those kinds of things? What are the rules?

  13. Lurker for some time4/16/2007 04:35:00 PM

    I've been a lurker on this site for quite some time. This is my first post. I'm an LLL church member but not the OALC. I will not say what my LLL group affiliation is.

    This site has helped me validate many views I've had for a long time. Many thanks to all you that post. I totally understand what all of you have been through because I'm on the inside and see how the outside is refered to at church and in social gatherings. Most people seem to be blind to what they are saying and doing. I keep my thoughts to myself and don't say anything. It can be rather difficult at times because hypocrasy and inconsistancy are difficult to ignore.

    It would be nice to hear personal experiences from other LLL groups' former members besides OALC. Not that OALC posts are unwanted or that posts from other LLL exmembers would be any different. It's just easier to relate when I see a post refering to the LLL group I am in; especially in the position I am in now.

    I'm sure that once one makes the leap to the other side, your experience as to how you were treated by your former church members is the same regardless of which LLL sect you are in, but I'm still on the inside and haven't been through that experience. I'm dreading it(if it gets to that point), but thanks to this site I've come to understand the freedom that one can experience as one gets further away from the difficulties of leaving. It gives me hope.

    I'm not unhappy now, in fact I'm quite happy. I've got many good friends in my LLL church, but it's a social and cultural happiness. Not Spiritual. I used to not care about the spiritual side that much. I talked the talk, walked the walk, but never really thought the thought(for myself that is). I thought the thought in the past but they were thoughts I heard from others; then interalized them, and understood them as being my own.

    Now that I've developed a curiousity(started 4 or 5 years ago) and desire to learn, AND overcome my fears of the questions I had; my Spiritual happiness has become more important to me.

    It's amazing that when I used to question things and then try to find answers(from church publications, sermons, fellow members, bible, etc.); the answers as I understood them put intense fear inside of me.
    I would figure that I'm not going to learn, I'm just going to believe. I would then go back into my old mode for few weeks or up to a year and a half one time. Now that the fear of learning is gone, I'm able to persue my questions. The answers from my LLL church haven't added up, especially when I've used the Bible as my guide. I've been reading the Bible for over one year now in reletive secrecy. Can you believe that? Secrecy!!!

    Gotta go. Please excuse any my poor grammer. Back to lurking :)

  14. Lurker for Some Time,
    Welcome to the discussion, and thank you for joining! I'm former OFALC myself, but have strong personal ties to what we knew as the FALC as well. Perhaps someone can tell me what branch it was, because I had no idea growing up that there were so many. Preachers that held services in that church included Werner Visto and George Wilson that I can remember. I know Wilson was from somewhere in MN.

    Hopefully you will find things here that will encourage you, and will bring your perspective to the discussion!

    I recently had a discussion with some old (a generation older than me) FALC friends, who surprised me when they said that they were not welcomed or visited by very many of the OALC families when they lived in that community. Our family and a very few others ignored those unwritten rules and we maintained close relationships with all of the Finnish community, no doubt because we were related to more people in the local FALC than we were in the local OFALC!

    Funny how as not only a child but also as an adult I never sensed that separation, perhaps because the thought of such a thing would have been so idiotic to me. I do not suffer fools well, and never have.

    Those friends told me that Laestadius was never read in their church, which suprised me as well. I always thought they did. We didn't attend many church services with the FALC, but we did go on occasion for special meetings and things. The local FALC church was forced to close its doors before I reached adulthood due to declining membership, so I guess I never paid much attention to what was in the service as a kid and a teenager -- most likely because I was far more interested in a FALC girl than in listening to the sermons...but hey, she was cuter than a bug's ear.

  15. A bit more about the FALC that I knew...

    When I was quite young, an old friend of my Father died, and since the local FALC church had already closed, Wilson came from MN to conduct the funeral. The guy that died was kind of a town character and known for some heavy drinking. To this day I recall being at that funeral and hearing Wilson thunder out in his sermon that "This man is burning in hell right now, and if you don't want to share his fate, you should be careful."

    While we tend to focus because of our background, the OALC obviously does not have a monopoly on the fire and brimstone, put me on a pedestal and I'll make 'em feel as bad as I can, "preachers".

    I mentioned that to my old friends and they agreed -- Wilson was a bad one! BTW, only one of three of those friends is still FALC.

  16. just a quick question for Lurker for some time,
    By LLL do you mean the laestadian lutheran church (LLC) or is it something different?
    What does FALC and OFLC stand for? I'm an ex-llc memeber, and i dont know much about these other branches.. They never told us anything, just that there was a herecy and that it was an "aweful time"..other than that, they never told us what really happened..can someone explain it to me?

  17. oops..
    i mean awful, not aweful

  18. and another correction..
    i meant OFALC, not OFLC..
    sorry, i guess i dont look at my spelling too close when i'm typing

  19. What we refer to now as the OALC -- Old Apostolic Lutheran Church -- used to be known as the Old Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church.

    The other church just dropped the "Old". In later years, both churches dropped the "Finnish".

    As a kid, it seemed very logical, since there were very few non-Finnish members. How well I remember those horrifically long sermons, preached in Finnish and then translated -- and in one of the few times I've really regretted being bilingual, getting a double dose just so I wouldn't miss anything, I guess. It was kind of like getting hit on the backstroke with that double edged sword. Maybe that's what they meant...hmmmm...

    In the last years that I was in the OALC, I was a "lukkari" or song leader (if you ever heard me sing, you'd know how desperate they were). I took a perverse pleasure in picking Finnish hymns.

    When my Mother passed away a few years ago, there were only about a half dozen of us who could still manage "Joppa loppui päivän vaivat". Funny, I was kind of sad thinking that at my funeral there probably won't be anyone able to sing an old Finnish hymn for me...

  20. Anonymous from Finland, I don't know if you know me, but if you really really would like to know, you'll have to send me an e-mail, I'm not going to give you any more hints here. :) My e-mail is theoforos(at)yahoo.com. Replace (at) with @.

    I agree with you about the discussion here being more civilized than on the Finnish boards. I think I maybe even mentioned that here before. Maybe the American debating culture could be at least one of the reasons? In Finnish schools debating skills are not taught to the same extent as in America, if at all.

    I've got relatives in Washington, too, and I know some of them are lurking here, so I wouldn't be so sure about yours either, you never know what they are up to. :)

  21. backtothefuturecc4/17/2007 06:21:00 AM

    I remember the "split" in the early 70's- many of my close friends went to the "other side".I was raised in the FALC with Rev. Tulkii and Rev. Torala in Calument. I never could quite understand the reasons- but I thought "they" thought we were not strict enough. Its strange that now however "they" have a website, camps for kids- seem more worldly than the FALC .I was curious about some people I met in the UP. They attend the ALC, in Chassel Mi. and they have churches all over the USA. They remind me of the Amish- they wear long skirts, men wear no ties, , they don't cut their hair, they home school their kids, they have very large families. Are they a break off group from any of the branches mentioned on this site?

  22. I was in the LLC. I was told the reasons for the split in the 70's were these

    1. disagreements on worldly sins
    2. disagreement if Peter (in the bible) was in denial or if he lost his faith
    3. Greeting others not in church with God's Peace
    4. Who the mother congregation was (which I'm not sure what this meant?)

  23. I think the worldly sins were:

    1.Participating in organized sports
    2.Attending sporting events, especially on Sundays when there was church.
    3.Going to movies and watching TV
    4.Greeting "unbelievers"
    5.The overall acceptance of marrying couples in the church when the women was already pregnant.
    6.Men with beards and long hair.

    These are a few amongst many and maybe they were not all discussed in the open, but at social get togethers and such. The LLC is much more dynamic than the FALC from my perspective(Ex LLC), which is seems odd because they are still more conservative. I think it's because while they are very conservative, they are not nearly as tradition based. This explains the camps, the web site, the mission work in South America, Africa, and even Russia(I think).

  24. Lurker for some time:
    When I read your story, I felt like I could have been reading my own. How many people are out there in the same situation? When I go to church I feel like I am so alone in my doubting, I must be the only one.
    I am married with many young children, if I were to leave this would be devasting to my husband, children and everyone I know. My life would be a mess. Can anyone out there relate to this?
    I can actually readily accept the lifestyle, in fact I like it, the only thing I feel I can't accept is that we are the only ones saved. This has tormented my mind for so long. Yet the thought of leaving gives me a horrible stomachache.
    I would really like to hear from others on here who are in a similar situation.

  25. backtothefuturecc,

    your question about the ALC in Chassell and in the US.. The ALC is called the "Federation", and years ago would most likely have been called the "Mickelson" branch. Other ALCers would most likely have better information, but my observation and understanding is that the ALC has always had a very wide variety under the ALC name. To me, it's easiest to categorize them/us as conservatives, moderates, and liberals, all within the same ALC name. And then there are variations within each category, and it seems the more I talk to people the more I find that there is nothing 'typical' any one of those categories, either!! Therefore, I, as a current ALCer (and I would consider myself a moderate), just live my life and go to the Bible (as daisyaday so eloquently wrote), and be guided by God as to how to live my life, cuz ya sure can't please everyone, and I don't think that's the way to live anyway. Just be yourself, my hubby says :-).

  26. Anonymous 8:49,

    my heart goes out to you. Maybe, for now, it will be helpful for you just to have people to talk to, and read and participate in the discussions here.. just having that support and someone to talk to, and especially anonymously, can be very helpful I think. There is a very wide variety of thought here, too, just like everywhere in life. But it's good because it dues help to understand ourselves and our backgrounds better, in my opinion. Welcome to the discussion, dear one!

  27. Hi, lllreader! I DO have relatives that stay away from me!

    And what about the rules? It is difficult to believe but when I some years ago had my hair cut my sister did something unbelievable...We met in the street in the middle of the town (100 000 inhabitants) and she came and took my hair and hold it in her hand (it was not SO short) and I and my husband only stood and couln´t do anything because we didn´t want anybody see what happened!! She then said :"YOU HAVE HAD YOUR HAIR CUT!" My husband said he urged me to do it (he did) and then she let me go. It was not so serious, we laughed too but at home we laughed much more when we imagined what could have happened if I had begun to wriggle out of her hand...

    I´m 55 but I´m ALWAYS a little sister...:-( SO SAD!

  28. Theoforos, perhaps I have no courage to contact you. Perhaps later... I am not afraid I could be disappointed in you but... (I love these dots as you can see, it means I´m always thinking a lot...)

    As a Finn you understand, I suppose.

    Miksi en sanoisi suomeksi sitä, mitä en osaa sanoa englanniksi: jos Luoja suo aion osallistua ortodoksikirkon pääsiäisjumalanpalvelukseen! Se ei ole ollut mahdollista tähän mennessä, mutta toivon että joskus on!

  29. Lurker for some time4/17/2007 03:32:00 PM

    Anon 8:49

    Sounds like we are in the same boat. I'm a father of many young children and I to like the lifestyle. I also don't believe that we are the only ones going to heaven. I think those who are heaven acceptable are not part of a certain outward group, but are part of a group that holds the Holy Spirit in their heart; no matter what particular organization they are in. To believe this, you cannot believe in LLL doctrine. It throws the whole LLL concept of foregivess of sins and of the complete purity of LLL doctrine out the window.

    I believe that the LLL concept of foregiveness of sins is something that was created by man in his self righteousness. Forgiveness as LLLers see it, cannot be found anywhere in the Bible.

    LLLers preach that the only thing different between "us" and the "world" is that the world is in unbelief. Then immeadiately afterward they go on to list how much better our lives are and how much better we are. It can be quite sickening at times.

    I travel quite a bit for work and deal with many different people. I have developed close professional relationships with people who are more honest, caring, generous, foregiving, humble, etc., more happy, the list goes on, than LLLers are. Not that that matters because we are all sinners and not one of us is perfect, but a little humility would go along way in my LLL church. I'm not speaking of the false humilty that many confess, but do not show in their actions and words. When people are rebuked for assosiating with the "world", or sometimes even for bringing someone from the "world" to church related events(they should always be brought to church first), something is wrong.

    If Jesus was around today and showed up at an LLL church with some of the people he associated with, he would be run out of the congregation.

    My intent is not to degrade LLLers or the LLL Church, but to point out how some of the prevailing thoughts, preaching and behaviors in LLL churches are not reflections of what Jesus taught in the Bible. I guess I'm rebuking. Most LLLers are good people, but are misguided in some of their beliefs. I could go on for pages and pages but I have to go.

    I wonder how many others share these beliefs with me. Maybe know each other anon.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a perfect person nor do I think I am.

  30. Lurker for some time4/17/2007 04:27:00 PM

    LLL means followers of Lars Levi Lastadieus. It seems that all the different groups have the same doctrines, but different cultures.

  31. Hello. I am a lurker. I have posted a few times. I have not yet figured the name thing so I am still anonymous. I am so grateful to have this site. Has helped me alot. I am an ex-OALCer. Thats all for now folks:)

  32. Isn't it sad that we can't even post our names for fear of being "found out"?

  33. To the short haired Finnish anonymous--what on EARTH does that 27 letter word mean???? You are really a delightful addition to our little band.

  34. Anonymous said...
    I was in the LLC. I was told the reasons for the split in the 70's were these

    1. disagreements on worldly sins
    2. disagreement if Peter (in the bible) was in denial or if he lost his faith
    3. Greeting others not in church with God's Peace
    4. Who the mother congregation was (which I'm not sure what this meant?)

    Tue Apr 17, 07:49:00 AM PDT

    anon2 said...
    I think the worldly sins were:

    1.Participating in organized sports
    2.Attending sporting events, especially on Sundays when there was church.
    3.Going to movies and watching TV
    4.Greeting "unbelievers"
    5.The overall acceptance of marrying couples in the church when the women was already pregnant.
    6.Men with beards and long hair.

    Anon and Anon2, Thank you for the information. I was a teenager in the 70's and I remember my mom really getting on my brother's case over the length of his hair. And beards have only fairly recently come back into acceptability. I see many young men with beards in the LLC, although not long beards. They are always nicely (or not so nicely) trimmed fairly short.

    It still boggles my mind when I read the first list from Anon and think to myself, one of the things they seriously split their whole church over was whether Peter was in denial or if he lost his faith??? That is too sad.

    There were things that happened when I left the LLC that I didn't expect. I had many young children, and until I was sure what I was going to do, I continued to bring them to Sunday school so their lives wouldn't be in too much of an uproar over a decision I had made. I hadn't expected it, but I heard that people were treating them disrespectfully there. I heard that someone told my oldest child that he was now responsible for making sure that all of the kids kept coming to church. What?? Says who? And yet, they were excluded and treated like outcasts. Hmmmmm...Yes, I think that will really make them want to keep going to church! Go figure.

    I would say, if you plan to leave, do your kids a favor and take them out of the church, too.

    I agree, lurker, that most people do mean well, and are sincere in their beliefs. I, too, think they are misguided. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your perspective and information.

  35. No, ota yhteyttä sitten joskus toisen kerran, kun uskallat, jos haluat. :) Hienoa, että olet suunnitellut osallistua pääsiäisyön jumalanpalvelukseen, toivottavasti joskus onnistuu. Tänä vuonna on vähän myöhäistä, koska pääsiäinen jo meni, mutta ehkäpä ensi vuonnakin on pääsiäinen. :) Myös sitä edeltävän viikon palveluksiin kannattaa osallistua, niin saa paremman kuvan kokonaisuudesta, vaikkapa torstai- tai perjantai-iltana.


    lllreadr, the word 'pääsiäisjumalanpalvelukseen', which I guess is the one you were asking about means 'to the easter divine service'. :)

  36. Its hard to know what to do in this situation: Shall I leave the church, take my children with me and go through all the heartache and pain? Or shall I stay and keep my thoughts to myself? Its not an easy decision especially with children involved.

    Leave it up to God. Just pray and ask him for guidance on what is the right decision for you and your family. Listen to your heart and what he tells you. Maybe staying in is better for you? Maybe not? Only he knows that. Lean on him right now, he'll help you!

  37. Lurker for some time4/18/2007 07:20:00 AM


    Did your spouse leave with you? I know my ponderings are my own and are not shared by my wife. At least I think so, we never talk about it. I've gently forayed into a few topics with her and met what was the makings of a very stiff resistance. I beat a quick retreat. That was over a year ago and I have not talked about it with her since.

    I'm glad that she's that way because it's much better for the childrens' psyches if I choose to leave. I know my wife and I can preserve the peace in our household no matter what happens; and my children won't get the furtive glances and pressure from other "believers" at church so much because all the "sorrow" will be directed at their mother.

    If your husband went with you Daisy, I'm sure your kids were treated as though they had the bubonic plague. I'm sure many hollow statements were made on how the congregation must care for their spiritual lives, but then every father and mother instructed their children that they can't go to your kids' house anymore and they can't have your children over anymore. It's not long and your kids are blacklisted by innocent children. Is that being a light onto the world? I've seen it happen. It's more the norm than the exception for children who have both parents leave "faith".

    Not everyone is like this of course and most are not filled with harmful intentions. But their misguided efforts cause deep pain. I find myself having a difficult time foregiving these types of actions because of the pain they cause. "Misguided" feels like a meaningless excuse.

    One might say that I'm being rather harsh on people who are only just sinners themselves. The actions of the congregation as a collective, which is supposed to be the home of the Holy Spirit, is what bothers me the most. I can see the Holy Spirit alive in some individuals, but it's difficult to see in the congregation as a whole; which is where the Holy Spirit is supposed to be according to LLL. I try to do what I can for those who are different and avoided by most of the congregation. In fact, those are the people I find most interesting at church. They always have something to say or an experience to relate that you won't really hear from others.

    Maybe this type of behavior is just a common sin for "believers". We all have different trials that we struggle with that are unique to each individual. Maybe "groupthink" is one that many people fall into. I certainly don't, but I have many struggles in other areas that others don't seem to have as much a problem with. Or maybe they won't admit it. I don't know. Like I said in an earlier post, a little true honesty and true humility would go a long way in my LLL church.

    This is my last post. I promised myself just one post and here I am on my fourth or fifth. It feels strange to have a place where you can open the floodgates and be heard and understood. Of course I could do this at church if I was drinking, stealing, lying. If I have doctrinal and congregation concerns and don't conform after some discussion then the misguided abuse starts. Very sad. One must really have the courage of their convictions (or maybe it's just the true Holy Spirit) to go through that and come out of it well.

    Bye All. Time to go to work, I'm running late.

  38. backtothefuturecc4/18/2007 07:45:00 AM

    When I hear your comments "lurker for some time" my heart aches and I feel such anger and compassion at the same time. I know for years after I left I felt such confusion related to religion and churches, although I never felt anger at God. I just felt lost and unable to connect with a church without feeling paranoia, distrust. But I knew I had to find a place where I could raise my daughters to know Jesus Christ with out the focus on religion or the accompanying politics. I found a church and I remember the pastor saying that he wants to be a christian not a religious person.I go there not for the culture but rather for my nourishment from the Lord so I can spend my week as close to God as possible. It doesn't seem as important there as to who you know or who you are- you are just there to serve the Lord.

  39. I will post! How do you go to church and sit knowing your living a lie.You lie to everyone. A fine christen example you are. Makes me so confused. Do I really belong in this fake church.MAKES ME JUST WANT TO DIE. I am the one that caused all the pain because I was too smart to believe the lies. I should have never came to church then everyone could go about peacefully. That is the problem when worldly's come to the oalc. They know too much. This church confuse's me. Do I stay and hear all the whispers on Sunday. will I be the famous one that ruined a marriage. Yes that would be me. Oh but listen to the preachers they say.Ok! I just want to die. I have nothing I don't belong in this church. I am a worldly and always will be.............

  40. Lurker for some time,
    I really hope you stay around. You present really well a slightly different position, and I find a lot of value in what you write!

    It's through the discussions we have around issues, with all of our varying opinions and positions, that makes this forum so interesting and valuable -- and helps us all grow in our faith!

  41. Lurker,
    I made the decision on my own and when I shared it with my husband, he surprised me by saying he felt the same way. We both left. And yes, it was hell on our kids. Well-meaning (at least I hope they were well-meaning) people made their lives miserable.

    Most people treated them as though whatever their dad and I had was contagious. Most of my immediate family were pretty decent to them, though. But yes, it was painful. I had already accepted that things would be different, but I knew that I couldn't continue to go through the motions anymore.

    I stayed for a while before I made my decision. I got to the same point that you sound like you are at, anon 10:36. I tried desperately to reconcile what I believed and what the church preached. I wanted to find a common ground between the two so I wouldn't have to leave. There was none. I thought I was going to completely lose my mind. I contemplated ways to end my life because I couldn't see my way through to a resolution in either direction. I knew that if I chose to leave, it would be the end of my life as I knew it. If I stayed, I would have to give up on myself. It wasn't until the pain of staying where I was became so great--it was greater than my fear of what would happen if I left--that I got the courage to make my decision to leave.

    I was also the first ever in my side of the family to file for a divorce. That was another thing that resulted in "different" treatment for my family. No one seemed to know what to say, so there was always this awkward silence and artificial small talk whenever I was at a church event.

    So I have the reputation for ruining the family, ruining our marriage, and and being responsible for condemning our children to hell.

    The best part? I've never been happier in my life. I went through hell getting to this point, but I am so happy. I'm very content with my life. I have faith in an awesome God, and I don't have to worry that my salvation could be snatched out of my grasp at any second.

  42. Dear Lurker, don't go--for each of the people in "the church" who would judge you, there are many, many, many, more who would support and love you. God is living within you. Just keep talking to us. Remember you don't have to make a "bold statement" to church members, just live and grow with the knowledge of God's love and the support of those of us on this site. If you know of anyone who has left in the past, you might want to talk to them. Surround yourself as much as possible with people who would understand your feeling. Remember there are no doubt many other people who are sitting in church with you on Sunday who have the same feelings. My prayers are for you Child of God

  43. A regular lurker...I enjoy all of the conversation, you people make me think. Never been a Lastadian, never will be. I am the proud Grandma of a beautiful little girl with ties to the OALC church. I will post again sometime,I have a few questions that I haven't seen addressed here. Thank you all-you inspire me.

  44. Long time lurker, you have inspired me to post, and leave lurkerdom also. Because what you have written about what you see in the church congregation is exactly why I left. I left the LLC when what I was seeing on the inside of the church was worse than what I was seeing on the outside. I couldnt handle the hypocrisy, and didnt want to be part of it.

    How could I say I was the only right one, and the good people I was meeting everyday on the "outside" were going to hell? My friends and people I knew in the church were saying racist things and self righteous things, and they didnt think anything of it. Things that would never have been accepted in polite conversation in the outside world. And they were just spouting things without actually experiencing them!
    I worked at a job where I met many people with different cultures, races, and religions. The people at church frowned upon my choice of job. Couldnt I work in a place with people more of my own kind?

    It was very interesting to me, Long time Lurker, to find another person who wrote so much of what I was thinking at the time I left. I feel I left because of the Holy Spirit, not because I no longer had it. I had to follow the truth, and the truth was no longer in the church for me.

    Good luck to you, keep up the open mind!

  45. "Joppa loppui päivän vaivat"

    Cvow, I was thinking of you today. If I'm still around, I'll come and sing a Finnish hymn at your funeral, ok? :-). There is something about those old "laulut ja virset". Was looking through them yesterday and they are so beautiful, I should spend some time just singing them to myself.

    To our friend in Finland, your post about cutting your hair made me chuckle, and when you said "some of my siblings really think I am lost and my children think (and say too) that I am narrow-minded and oldfashioned." - I understand that situation..!!

  46. Lurker for some time4/23/2007 06:38:00 PM


    I wasn't going to post but you are squeezing another one out of me. I'm not one to go on and on about different isms but you are correct about how LLL believers are comfortable with racism, sexism, etc. I think an LLL church is the only place where you can find cheerful bigots.

    Not all are this way, but it is accepted by the majority. When someone persists in talking about how it's wrong, they are given a lable.

  47. mia from the llc4/23/2007 07:38:00 PM

    I agree. I saw that on a fairly regular basis as well. I'm laughing at your term cheerful bigot. Its so true

  48. i agree too! its sad they way the judge anyone like that without thinking twice,sometimes i wonder if even once, about it!!!I had a friend who always stood up for ppl when they'd make racial comments, or comments about "unbuns" on their busses and stuff. She'd shut them down pretty good sometimes!! haha I had to look up the term bigot (i'm not much for big or different words..lol) but now i know what it means, and what you said "cheerful bigots" was a good way to put it, its true, unless of course someone's going against them on a religious topic or something.

  49. tk, I think compassion for others sometimes needs to be taught. When those in the LLL churches are told that anyone outside the designated church is not worthy of any consideration, many/most accept that as the Gospel Truth and don't question it. They need to be taught that everyone is a Child of God and deserves to be treated as such.

    I think some of that stuff is hard-wired into the brain and takes a lot of jostling to free it from its moorings so other ideas can replace it. I know it's been a long haul for me, decades, I'd say. I still struggle, on occasion, with that instant OALC condemnation of someone or some idea.

    Maybe it takes some of us a life time to overcome.

  50. Lurker for some time4/24/2007 02:54:00 PM

    I'm sorry I had to post rather quickly yesterday. I wanted to say more but did not get the chance until now.

    LLL believers preach that they are "in the world, but not of the world." This is very true, but LLLers are "in the world, not of the world" in many more ways than they realize. Sisu's comment on compassion is a perfect example of this. There is much compassion and love between believers, especially the ones that fit the mold to a tee. For example there is more compassion for a believer who is related through blood, marriage, or grew up near you, or is related through blood, marriage, to someone who grew up near you; or any creative combination of the above. It may seem funny, but that's because it's true.

    There is no compassion for the people "outside". LLLers do not love their neighbors like they preach.

    One example of this love brought up by LLLers is how they can travel this place and that place and as long as there are believers in the area they will have a place to stay because of this "love". This is true and I have marveled at it many times....But, if an unbeliever would show up and need a place to stay they would be directed to the nearest hotel. So is this love the love that is spoken of by Christ? I don't think so.

    All people would let friends, reletives, and people close to them stay with them. It just that all people don't belong to a highly exclusive, members only, type of group that their lives are centered around. That does not mean other people love any less. In fact, I think others(not all) may love more because they aren't members of this type of group. They have been taught TRUE compassion, not just compassion for other group members masquerading as "godly" compassion.

    This behavior is the product of the doctrine that is taught in LLL churches. The frustrating thing is that the people who adhere to this doctrine believe they have the Holy Spirit trademarked. There can be know MEANINGFUL discussion about things such as this.

    It's so hard to remove the blinders that were placed on ones head in childhood, especially when one doesn't even know that they are there.

    I guess I just have to believe for myself.

  51. Sisu, I think you are right that sometimes compassion needs to be taught. I remember when I was going into fourth grade and was eagerly waiting to find out who my teacher was. When I found out that I had the school's only African American teacher for the year, I was devastated. I remember sobbing to my mom that I didn't like her and didn't want her for a teacher. I think my mom tried to switch teachers for me but to no avail. Not once did she reprimand me for behaving the way I did or tell me that the way I was thinking was incorrect. How I managed to see "the light" is beyond me when I grew up this way. When I'm at family gatherings and they start talking about how all the crime these days are committed by non-caucasion people or other racially charged topics, I get extremely upset but I always have to remind myself that I was once in that state of ignorance. It doesn't mean that their actions should be excused though.

    Anyways, this is the first time I've posted on here but I've been "lurking" on the site for close to a year now. I'm a young ex-LLCer and this site has been wonderful for me. It's so nice to have other people see the hypocrises in the LLL religions.

  52. mia from the llc4/24/2007 03:48:00 PM


    I'm so glad you stayed around for more than one comment. Your point of view is appreciated.


    thanks for delurking! it's great to know I'm not alone

  53. Also to add to Lurker's comment on fitting the mold to a tee, have any of you felt like church gatherings get to be a competition of who's the wearing the nicest clothes, who's the thinnest and driving the nicest rig? We have some high standards to live up to, especially considering most have big families to feed and clothe.

  54. Lurker for some time4/24/2007 06:26:00 PM

    Anon 5:02

    Sometimes it seems like their is a competition to have the nicest car or something like that but gossip about people who are doing well or doing poorly is more of an issue in my LLL church. If a person drives by in a nice car, they are gossiped about as being materialistic and worldly. On the other hand if they come to services in a rusty old car they are gossiped about as being lazy. If a person takes care of themselves and has natural beauty then no matter what they do they are vain or self centered to some people. Many times people gossip about people they don't know that are skinny or fat, or materialistic, or something; and the gossiper has family members that are they same way. The gossiper doesn't see it though, because they see a beloved family member; not a skinny, fat, or materialistic person. I think most people outgrow material hang-ups in regard to themselves. Maybe it comes with age.

    Maybe someone has a nice car because they like nice cars. Maybe they are into some hobby because they are into a hobby. Only people who are not happy with themselves compete with other people to be better or gossip about other people who are doing well in some way.

    Maybe the people that are competing with others or gossiping about others are not happy. It's easy to tell when you talk to someone if they are competing or gossiping.

    I don't know the situation where you are Anon, but I don't much competativeness amongst the members in my LLL Church. Maybe different LLL sects have different issues. I could be totally wrong about my LLL church. I've never really thought about competition.

  55. Lurker for some time4/24/2007 06:29:00 PM

    I do see many unhealthy types of competition at my workplace.

  56. There was lots of competition at the llc church i was raised in. It's not an open thing thats talked about alot, but i saw it! theres so many different "cliques" theres the "cool" kids, who didn't fallow all the rules, but most of them. (they listened to music and went to movies, but "grew out" of that stage, and got married) then theres the "losers" (which was me! haha) some of us rebeled totally against the church rules, and some didn't go against the rules at all. This is just how i saw it, someone else may have seen it differently. These little "cliques" were mostly based on looks, family name, if you were in style, if you were skinny and had a perfect body..but thats just my opinion. i see it in the young kids too, it keeps happening over and over again. its so sad to see such little kids making fun of other kids (in the church) for things that shouldn't matter to them like what family they come from. I remember the "cool" kids (i was like 8-10..) they used to tell me i couldn't hang out with them because i wasn't related to "anne". (not her real name)..anne was my great aunt!! pretty sad!!
    sry if that doesn't make sense..feels like i'm just rambling..

  57. Tk, I understand. I was able to be a part of the cligue at my church because of my last name but really always was an outsider with in it, I think maybe because one of my parents was not one who was born into the church. I really get the part where they "grew out" of that stage. So very true, the coolest ones did all of that but then grew up and are now the worst ones to gossip and criticize others. They claim to not be worldly and be caught up in style and vanity but there are strict trends they follow and spend lots of money on clothes. I never felt comfortable spending that much money ( and never had much of fashion sense maybe) so I wore the same stuff year after year and just tried to look presentable. And the scaves....vanity there because they had to be of the highest quality and match their outfit completely (and me with my white one b/c it matched all outfits, ha ha). Its sad to remember and see how it was okay to make fun of anyone who did not attend the church. They were so cruel. I just only hope that someday they can realize it and treat others better. I did and feel bad that I was ever a part of it.

  58. anon above..you said it perfectly! I guess my parents both had the "right" last name, so I dont know why I wasn't in the "cool" group...I guess I just wasn't "cool" enough for them haha! It was the same way when my mom grew up, and i think it'll always be like that, because nobody's going to do anything about it. When i was around 12-13,and going thru all that crap trying to fit in, my mom told me it was exactly the same for her as it was for me (except that it was the mothers of the kids who wouldn't include me, that wouldn't include her.) its a viscious cycle! It probably depends what families your family visits when you're younger too... I dont know! Yea, the whole fashion thing it the church is getting outrageous! Even the monthers of like 10 kids, who already have grandchildren (well, some of them anyways) feel like the have to be right in style all the time. Pretty pathetic!! anyways, i should go cuz i gota go to work! bye for now!+

  59. anon above..you said it perfectly! I guess my parents both had the "right" last name, so I dont know why I wasn't in the "cool" group...I guess I just wasn't "cool" enough for them haha! It was the same way when my mom grew up, and i think it'll always be like that, because nobody's going to do anything about it. When i was around 12-13,and going thru all that crap trying to fit in, my mom told me it was exactly the same for her as it was for me (except that it was the mothers of the kids who wouldn't include me, that wouldn't include her.) its a viscious cycle! It probably depends what families your family visits when you're younger too... I dont know! Yea, the whole fashion thing it the church is getting outrageous! Even the monthers of like 10 kids, who already have grandchildren (well, some of them anyways) feel like the have to be right in style all the time. Pretty pathetic!! anyways, i should go cuz i gota go to work! bye for now!+

  60. I am still in a LLL church and in a way, I'm out. I tried to annouce an exit several times but when my family started crying and grieving I could not go through with it. I, too don't have problems with the culture or the lifestyle or not drinking or dancing or any of that--I am a simple, home-loving kind of woman. I now have a bit of an uneasy pact with my family--I'll keep going--but I won't believe that we're the only ones. And if I'm forced to believe that or be considered an unbeliever, then I will leave. How grateful I am that it is God and not I that makes these decisions. After threatening to leave many times I think their mind is at ease just to see me in my regular pew they don't ask any more of me. Once my mother tried to get me to answer who I thought was saved...like Baptists, other LLL followers, maybe I even believed CATHOLICS were saved as well?

    I looked at her blankly and told her neither she or I had the right to make such judgments, only God and Jesus could make these determinations and she admitted, maybe I was right.

    It takes courage to leave, I believe. But it also takes courage to stay and profess what you believe is right with all the pressure around you to conform. It's not easy for me to stay, either. And I have to continually examine every sermon at times and try to determine which part is rhetoric, and which part is Biblical, because often the speakers don't really know. They say we should trust what the preachers say, but in the past some ministers have left in a split or been asked to step down, so trusting can only go so far. My group does not discourage Bible reading so I'm glad I don't have any guilt about that!

  61. mia from the llc4/25/2007 02:47:00 PM

    you're right, anon 2:22. I think it takes more courage to stay and not conform. I couldn't do it. The only way the system could possibly ever change is from the inside, but it's such a long slow process. I give you mad props!

  62. I'm new to this site - it was just brought to my attention by one of my friends and I have to say...I wish I had found it years ago! It would've helped me through a lot of hard times I had after leaving "the church". I am an ex-LLC member and I always felt like I never belonged or was actually supposed to be there. I don't know how to describe it properly (I'm not great with words) but I just never bought into the whole - if you watch TV or listen to music...the list goes on, you all know it - that you're going to hell. Another HUGE issue of mine was the fact that the Laestadians thought that they were the only ones who were going to be saved. If they just believed in their sins forgiven, they would be saved from eternal damnation! I always found that SO hard to believe because of all the wonderful people I knew and I always felt like there was no way that they were going to burn in hell for not believing the exact same way the LLCers did. I am so glad that there is a site like this where you can actually feel like you're not alone in your thoughts and beliefs and it's great to read through the comments here. I'll write more later! Bye for now.

  63. Anon 2:22 I also think you are right. Staying and not conforming is harder. I don't have that kind of strength.

  64. Welcome anonymous from the LLC! I understand when you say that you didn't feel like you belonged because you didn't buy into all of their "stuff". I had those same issues for many years before Ileft. But a person doesn't really have a forum for addressing those doubts within the church. Stick around for a while. You're with friends, here. Thanks for posting.

  65. I want to let the "new posters" know how much your input and perspective is appreciated... I thoroughly enjoy the similarities yet diverseness of individuals on this site; it makes for a well rounded, satisfying forum. It brings the lessons of love and compassion into sharper foucs for me. So thank you for gaining the courage to post, and please feel free to continue to do so :)

  66. In thinking of the "compassion" topic and I can remember growing up and hearing those in the church talk about it: Even the word "compassion" was considered a "new age" or "modern" idea credited to "accepting gays and blacks and sin" and deemed unacceptable. Its interesting to remember that "extreme" examples were given to discredit compassion, with no regard to what the bible had to say about it, nor with any thought about applying the concept to ourselves (those within the church)

    Also as Lurker for some time noted, there is a different attitude towards those within the church than those "outside" Im sure my relatives still "in" the church would argue my memory and general interpretation of the church's stand on compassion. Yet if asked specific examples, ie Lurkers example of needing a place to sleep, well the one attending thier church would indeed get the place to sleep and the other would not. Yet somehow they can seperate that example from my statement that they do not show Christ like compassion to everyone. Its kind of crazy making logic...

    Its something that definately needs to be taught. Even today I get frowns when I tell my children, in front of OALCers, that God made everyone different and special. Im asked if I teach them to love gays and all manner of sin too... such an extreme jump -from loving a person's soul no matter what, to accepting all manner of sin. Its the extremist nature of the church I think. Yet they will still argue they are compassionate people; such a different interpretation of compasson...

  67. yeah, i totally agree with you hp3! my parents thought that by coming to visit me and my fiancing would be like giving us approval that we're living together. I think it made them realize that it wasn't when i told them about our marriage prep, and that the pastor comes to our house for meetings. we still know that he doesn't approve of us living together, but it just shows that he accepts us for who we are, and isn't going to let how we're living get in the way of that. I wish the everyone in the lll churches could read the comments on this page with an open mind, and try to understand where we're coming from..

  68. oops, i meant fiance, not fiancing..haha

  69. backtothefuturecc4/27/2007 06:52:00 AM

    Regarding compassion I never felt comfortable enough or trusting enough to let my weaknesses or fears be known- seeming to anticipate the lack of compassion available. It was not the kind of environment one could open up in, for fear of always being judged or condemmed.

  70. Backtothefuture, you are SO right on! I married someone outside the church, and yet I have never been able to get past that fear and let my guard down. I still, after all these years, expect the judgment and condemnation. If not from others, then certainly from myself. Oh, the burdens placed on us!

    As we have discussed at great length way-back-when, judgment/condemnation goes right along with conditional love/acceptance. It's something we were taught, and it is very difficult to unlearn. I am trying.

  71. Sisu, I think many of us can identify with what you've said. It took me several years of not belonging to the OALC anymore but not advertising that fact before I finally realized that was not being honest either.

    Now if people ask, I tell them I am a very contented Roman Catholic, and if they don't like it, it's their problem, not mine. The people in the OALC who were my real friends accept that and still are my friends. Some of them make comments like they wish I'd come back or come around again, and I accept that as love and as them evangelizing in a gentle way, and I am pleased they ask, even though both they and I know what the answer will be.

    I do not go to the OALC except for weddings or funerals, because I think to do otherwise would be less than honest.

  72. One thing that I always found very discouraging growing up was that everytime I had an "issue" about something or was wondering why something was the way it was, I was told "that's just the way it is, you just have to believe". I understand the general concept of "having faith" and just believing that that's just the way it is, but I always felt like my parents or other LLCers didn't know their own faith well enough to help me understand WHY they believe the things that they do. I honestly don't know if they even do know why they believe the way they do! I think they just accept things the way they are and don't try and change anything in fear of being rebuked or judged by others in the church. I think that even though you belong to a certain church group, you can still be your own person and do your own things without having to look over you shoulder and feel like there are people watching every step you take in case you "screw up" just once! I always felt like I had to be SO sneaky in everything that I did in fear of, not God, but of other people in the church! How can they say that everything is God's way when they are acting for him?

    I just attended a United church this morning (first time going to chruch - any church - since I left the LLC church in 2000) and I really enjoyed the service. It felt a lot different than the LLC church services (of course) but in a good way! You felt like you were part of the service rather than just a spectator or listener. I will definitely go back again! And as someone else commented that they only go to LLC or OALC church for weddings or funerals - I totally feel the same way! I feel like I would be an intruder if I went for a usual church service. I don't even enjoy or feel comfortable going to the kids (my brothers and sisters) Christmas programs! And I HATE the staring! Does anyone else notice how much Laestadian kids and adults stare at "unbelievers"? Sickening!! Anyways, that's enough of a rant for right now. Everyone's probably getting sick of listening to me go on and on!

  73. Yeah, i got stared at continuously by all the kids the first time I went to an OALC service. Needless to say, I havn't been back.

  74. I see someone is calling themself "mia from the llc". Well there aren't that many American "Mia"s in the llc, but there is one (me) who is pretty liberal and somewhat well-known and I think someone else may be calling themself me. So just to set the record straight, "mia from the llc"s comments aren't the mia some of you may think they are, although I read this site quite a bit.:-) Mia Gutierrez

  75. Mia,
    I don't think the Mia from the LLC is trying to act like she is you because if I remember right I think she has said in the past that she has left the LLC. And there is several other Mias that have been in the LLC.

  76. Lurker for some time4/30/2007 07:46:00 PM

    Is there any other LLL church sect members that are going to delurk besides OALC and LLC?

  77. Lurker for some time4/30/2007 07:49:00 PM

    I understand that I'm being a bit hypocritical by not identifying my particular LLL church myself, but asking others to do so. I think it maybe a bit easier when you've already left. I would like to hear some experiences from other sects also.

  78. mia from the llc5/01/2007 08:55:00 AM

    Sorry for any confusion...I put it in caps as in MIA--short for missing in action, but the comment thing made it all small so it was harder to tell that.

    No masquerade intended, original Mia.

    It is easier to self-identify once you have left but not that much easier. The gossip mill goes from zero to ninety in no time at all if someone thinks they know who you are

  79. Is this site well known in the LLC? Just curious..

  80. I don't know if it's well known but some definately know about it. I do and I am from the LLC.

  81. backtothefuturecc5/01/2007 03:04:00 PM

    I've just been coming to this site for a couple of months and I was from FALC, but really after listening to everyone talk- it all sounds so much the same- not enough of a difference to have so many different churches and argue amongst the different groups. It just proves to me how very narrow minded all of them are.

  82. thanks missing in action, I appreciate your clarification.

  83. I think alot of them are not as narrow minded as you might think, they probably just don't dare to say otherwise.

  84. Anon 5:05, I believe you are correct, but I don't think it's always about not daring to say otherwise. We all move at our own pace on this faith journey, and we all make our own decisions about when and if we want to make dramatic statements, or whether we want to work quietly for the good in other ways. Some reach thresholds they cannot cross and must make a hard decision to leave. Others cannot or will not leave -- and for very good reasons. Others exhibit a different kind of courage and choose to stay and patiently try to affect change from within. Others weigh the evidence and decide that what they have still is right for them and outweighs the alternatives.

    As long as we are asking for and accepting God's help on the way, all of those choices are right and correct, regardless of what anyone might say. Prayer, faith, and courage cannot be wrong.

  85. Lurkers are curious. Maybe people lurk because they are afraid of technology.

    Free, you should rename your site iExtoots, because people like adding an 'i' or an 'e' before terms that relate to technology. It helps Google and Apple draw people to their technology, why not Extoots? :-)

  86. Right, I think people that don't agree with all the church teachings stay for a variety of reasons. As long as your faith is in God though and not the church. There are some things I don't agree with at the current church I go to, but thats probably expected anywhere. We aren't perfect. Those minor things I disagree with in my church wouldn't make me leave. I for one couldn't in good faith attend a church that preached they were God's only children however, thats just my personal issue. People don't have to agree with that and can still stay there, but they will have to keep quiet about it. I tend to prefer a healthy place where I can speak from my heart without fear of what people will say.

  87. Joy, you're spot on about having to be quiet about things that people don't agree with. That's how churches such as the OALC maintain their power over the people. People are not only discouraged from disagreeing with anything, they are out and out forbidden to do so, by means of implicit and explicit disapproval, shunning, and that most powerful tool of all -- gossip!

    Can you imagine what would happen should someone accost one of the preachers and tell him that he is wrong, and should reconsider his position and teaching? First of all, there would be much hand wringing and somber talk about the preacher being a poor Christian who only speaks "that which God gives", immediately shutting the door to further opposition -- because obviously if the preacher is speaking what God gives, the implied message is that to go against it would be blasphemy. The next thing that would happen is that all of the blind followers would accost the questioner, telling him or her how wrong they are, how the devil has closed their eyes, and how they will pray for them. Third, those same people would race for home to call the news from coast to coast about what the person had the nerve to do -- to question a preacher!

    Have I got it about right?

  88. Cvow,
    10 4 backdoor! You are absolutely correct.

  89. Right cvow. Also you would probably face church discipline if you disagreed with ANY issue. I can remember growing up going to the church meetings, where I knew they would be talking about people (because thats what happened at them), well I would be terrified that they were going to talk about me in front of everyone because of something that I might have done wrong, and I would be forced to confess in front of the congregation. Sad for a child to feel that way, it was alot of anxiety. I just feel sad that people cannot be listened to with an open heart. But thats in the past, thank god! He is so awesome!

  90. I'm curious to know if anyone has any idea who benifits from maintaining power over the people? It isn't for money, because I think that LLL churches are notoriously poor. Is it to keep the community going for the peoples own benifit?

  91. I don't think anyone is trying to maintain power over the people for any personal benefits or gains. They just honestly believe they are doing the right thing and teaching the truth. They honestly believe they need to keep people in line and rebuke them for anything they feel is wrong.They don't want them to fall from Gods kingdom, which we all know they believe you need to be a part of their church to be in Gods kingdom. I don't believe they are sincerely doing anything to mislead people. They are just blind. I believe bible verses have been taken out of context and they preach that their interpretation is the only correct interpretation.

  92. The organizational structure in these churches is interesting. There are three types of societies that have appeared amongst humans: tribes, bands, and civilizations.

    Since the LLC has no clear leader or leaders, it appears that their organizational structure reflects the organizational structure of the Sami people, which was a band-like society.

    However, given that the OALC has "elders", the OALC's organizational structure resembles a tribe-like society.

  93. Hi.
    Ex-OALCer here, or at least almost there anyways.
    The one thing that so confuses me, is WHY? Why are the preachers and elders doing this? What are they getting out of this? Is it for the power trip or do you really believe that they whole-heartedly believe in what they are preaching? Who wins here? Would love to hear what other people think about this.