"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Slow-Rising Blog

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Slow-Rising Blog

Hello friends. My apologies for the confusion over the shutdown. I had some difficulty managing my different blog and email accounts, and then vacation got in the way, and then, well, maybe a little inertia. Okay, a lot of inertia. Why? I dunno. I guess I'm bored silly by Laestadianism and religion as topics. I find myself increasingly distressed and distracted by world events, and eager to align my daily life -- my tiny sphere of influence -- with my values.

I'm not sure where this blog fits in.

But since "community-building" is one of my core values / hobby horses / compensating behaviors (pick one), I'll keep blathering away.

What's new with you? I just finished reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini, and highly recommend it. What a vivid depiction of life behind the veil. You will find it difficult to think in stereotypes about Afghanistan and Muslims after reading this.

In the past few months, I joined a group of neighbors in bringing a farmers market to our hood. It has been incredibly rewarding. Not just for the glorious variety of fruits and veggies, but the event itself. In Bill McKibbon's "Deep Economy," he cites a study showing that there are 10 times the number of conversations at farmers markets versus grocery stores. Indeed, ours is a royal jabberfest, with the cental aisle so clogged with conversations at times that snits have snitted (can you DO something about those people who just STAND there and TALK while I'm trying to buy my PARSNIPS and get OUT?! Erm, no, We. Encourage. That kind of thing.)

At last week's market, I ran into an old friend, someone who danced at our wedding and lives just blocks away, but somehow, I'm ashamed to say, fell off the face of the earth when our kids were born (hers are older). She has aged so much in 10 years that I barely recognized her! No doubt she was thinking the same thing about me.

As they say, time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

So what's up with you?


  1. Great to see you back!

    I know what you mean about Laestadianism. When I was first searching and questioning, Laestadianism was just fascinating to me. Now that I'm more settled in my opinions again, it is less so.

    I still am reminded of Laestadianism often though, even by things that don't seem to be obviously related.

  2. Hello Free. Great to see your blog is up again. Laestadianism is boring to some of us, but central to the healing of many of us, also. Your site has been a Godsend to many.

    Again, welcome back!

  3. Hooray! Glad you're back. Your blog is like Cheers. I stop in to see what's new and to see if there is something going on that I want to talk about with my two cents worth of chat.

    I haven't read A Thousand Splendid Suns, but I think I'll reserve it at my local library and give it a shot. I work with people from many different cultures and it's absolutely fascinating what you can learn from them.

    As far as Laestadianism, I'm ten years or more out of it, but didn't realize how much certain things still had not been resolved until I found extoots. It's been helpful for me while I figure out some of those things, and it's been a great place to reconnect with people from the past. So there's a vote for keeping it going.

    But I don't think it has to be all about the XLLC stuff. It is your blog, and you are about so much more than that. I posted a few posts about my experiences on my blog, and that was helpful, but there is much more to my life than that. Life moves on, you know?

    It's healthy for all of us to have multiple interests. Thanks for sharing yours!

    Welcome back to Bloggityville!

  4. Tried to post earlier-didn't work. Have become addicted to this site-glad it's back even if you're bored w/it, provides a real service to those trying to get by without the tight social network they had before they left.

  5. i agree...this site is an awesome place for people who have just left one the the LLC churches, reading everyone elses stories gave me strength to keep going on, and made me feel like i wasn't alone anymore..not the only one going through the same things. Sure, after awhile we start to move on... there's more important things to do, but its a great help for those who need it! thank you so much for having this site, and keeping on doing it, its amazing! it brought me through a really hard time having you ppl on here to give me comfort and advice!!

  6. Thanks for reminding me of what this is all about. Laestadianism is relevant to so many things, and it seems I am always revisiting my issues with it.

    Recently I read about a man who went to his orthodox Jewish school reunion and discovered later that his image had been digitally removed from the alumni photo. Why? He had married outside the faith. The letters to the editor, are particularly interesting, I thnk, to former Laestadians.

    One says we should liook to Fiddler on the Roof for instruction. "While Tevye could accept certain of his daughters’ modern behaviors, including choosing their own spouses, it was one daughter’s decision to intermarry that he would not accept, as it is a definitive step toward the extinction of the faith.

    Tell me what you think.

  7. I ran across a sect called "Plymouth brethren" which seems to be very similar to the Laestadians. Anyone heard about them? I never heard about them before, until I read a Swedish newspaper article critisizing the Swedish government for granting them a licence to have their own private school.

    Here's a link to a North Dakota newspaper article about them:


    Plymouth brethren in Wikipedia:


    Another sect that is very similar to the Laestadians is the Norwegian sect called "Smith's friends".


  8. I met a banjo player a few years back who was raised in the Brethren. We've had many hours of conversation finding familiar ground. Like me, he couldn't wait to leave, and like me, he can't fathom why his siblings remains stuck . . .

  9. My therapist grew up in the brethren.
    Same program.

  10. stranger in a strange land8/10/2007 11:07:00 AM

    Garrison Keillor grew up in the Plymouth Brethren, although in his writings he refers to them as the "Sanctified Brethren." I remember reading his "The Protestant" when I was about twenty, and being horrified that he had not only heard about Apostolic Lutherans, but that he was also writing about us too.

  11. I bet that's why lutherans/laestadians feel so close to Keillor--he just seems to know how it was and just skewers it so gently. I read that orthodox jewish piece and letters too and was especially struck by the letter that pointed out how similar all fundamentalist groups tend to be. I think post 9-11 and the internet are making that even more obvious as everyone starts to really look at religion more closely. I also just read a book about why the Jews don't accept Jesus that really took a hard look at Paul for viewing the law as such a curse when it is so central and loved by so many jews. Very interesting to look at old testament first, then the new--instead of the other way around as christians do.

  12. Flora, I wonder if I'm reading the same book as you did. The book I'm reading is called "The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue", and it is written by James W. Parker. Parker sees the attitude to the law as the main reason for the conflict and he also seems to put most of the blame on Paul. He also accuses the early Christians of falsifying Jewish history and making it their own by interpreting pretty much everything in the OT in their favor. It's an interesting point of view, but I'm not "buying" it entirely. I'm reading also other books on the theme as background for an essay I'll have to write as part of my hobby-based theology studies.

  13. By the way, I used to post here as 'theoforos'. I decided to start using the same nick I've been using on a similar Finnish discussion board. I think some of the same people are reading also this blog, so I guess it's easier if I use the same nick in both places.

  14. Yesterday one of my husbands work friends was over, he left the hutterite colony when he was 16, about a year ago. It surprised me to find out that hutterites are basically like the laestadians, except that they live on colonies, and they are stricter with a few things, like how they dress. This guys Dad is making him break up with his girlfriend, quit his job here, and move somewhere else. When the guy was talking on the phone with his Dad, it sounded just like when I used to argue with my parents on the phone just after I'd left the church. They seemed to use the same "come back" tactics like.."its breaking our hearts to see you like this"..and "i heard this and this and this about you, how do you think it makes our family look?"..(rumours!) I guess the only differece between me and my husbands work friend is that he still does what his parents say (in a way..) to keep them happy, but he's still a minor, so i guess that could be why. It is interesting to look at all these different religions and see how they are kind of like laestadians...even tho they all think the other ones are going to hell..it would surprise them to see how much they are alike! (not like they'd even consider it tho!)
    well, thats it for now

  15. Glad to see your back. Your site certainly does fill a purpose! Most outsiders would have no idea of the intensity of the childhood Laestadian indoctrination process. At least that how it was in our home and other ex's have verbalized to me that they had similar experiences. It can be a frightening experience to begin to probe one's own doubts about the 'party line' that one has been taught since birth.

  16. hibernatus/theoforos:
    I've been reading your and free and daisy and tomte et.al's posts for almost a year now--good stuff. The book I read was titled "Why Jews Deny Jesus" or something close to that, so I think it's a different book. And yeah, I wasn't buying all of it either, but really thought provoking to shift paradigm and think from a jewish standpoint. I'd be interested to read your essay...

  17. Would it be possible to do subjects on the psychological aspect of being in the Laestadian church?

  18. Many Trails Home8/27/2007 09:35:00 AM

    Liz, I think half of the posting is about the psychological aspects of being EX-Laestadians. So what do YOU think are the psychological aspects of being a Laestadian? Free has posted a number of references that apply, I think: if you read any lit on the psychological aspects of being a Mormon, JW, Amish, etc etc, you will find that much of it applies. Laestadians (contrary to their own belief, and sometimes, ours) are NOT unique. That can be both reassuring and disappointing. We are all, first and foremost, members of the human family and children of the same God. Many blessings to you. MTH
    PS Welcome back, Free! I missed you, but was too busy to act on it, ie email you.

  19. Creak, creak, this is a little rusty, but it looks as if I can still post. As far as practical psychological issues, I recommend two things: cognitive behavioral therapy and moving to an area that's not saturated with Laestadians. It worked for me.

  20. I agree, ilmarinen. Lack of contact helped me. It's ironic, isn't it?

  21. I guess I was thinking about the mind control. It really fascinates me how the mind can be made to believe something that is totally false, and believe it so strongly. I often wonder how my mind was able to re-route out of the Laestadian mindset and how the ones still there do not. It just fascinates me. It blows my mind really.

    Its like being taught since birth that an apple is an orange. You are taught that everyone else outside our group thinks its an apple, but its not, its an orange. We are correct, everyone else in the world is wrong. If you think its an apple, you are wrong! So you can imagine the turmoil that goes on in the brain if you consider that it just might be an apple. What you've been taught is hogwash.

  22. One other thing I was wondering about is the ability to open yourself up to others outside the church. Is this common to have a problem there, or maybe it was just a personal thing for me. It has gotten alot better, but I have had a hard time in the past trusting people and reaching out to people. This could just be me, or I'm wondering if its a psychological issue from being in this type of upbringing?

    Because when I think about it, I was taught not to get too close to others outside the church. The wolf could get me. So I think maybe for a long time I subconsciously put that wall up without really realizing what was happening to me. Just curious if this has happened to anyone else. I finally feel free from all that, but the scars are still there and like to come out once in awhile.

  23. Great posts. One way of thinking about fundamentalism is that all of us, as beings with limited intelligence and bandwith for intellectual inquiry, are compelled to live with unexamined assumptions (gravity, God, love, consuming, whatever).

    By nature or nuture, some are more comfortable with this than others.

    But it is universal that a basic level of psychological security frees an individual to question his/her assumptions and to be the actor in his/her own life, to take risks, to explore.

    Insecurity does the opposite, encouraging passivity, over-reliance on authority, caution, and escape from the "dangerous" mind (in dogma or mind-numbing entertainment).

    It is easy to see why those seeking control use fear to keep the hordes in perpetual childhood. Political, not just religious, history is chockful of examples.

    Less easy to understand why so many submit. Perhaps the psychosocial payoff is greater than we can imagine, lacking the need ourselves.

    In Khaled Housseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns," the two wives of an abusive man find that submission (to him and the veil) is necessary for survival . . . until they can't take it anymore, and resist. Both their submission and their resistance are rational.

    While breaking points vary, among victims of corrupt people, religions and regimes, sunshine hastens them.

    But even light on the lies must be looked at, and some refuse to look.

  24. Free: thanks for sticking around. I know it can get old to continue the same discussions with new people, and watch the cycle get all fired up, then die down for awhile... I take breaks too, and thankfully life does move on :) but then it seems there are new issues that surface when I least expect it to, old ways are still impacting me today in ways I did not realize and its great to let it out and disect it with those who understand (dont have to go over so much history and explanations) Also we all learn from each other. Of course we realize you and all of us are multi faceted well beyond Leastadiasm :) we can take breaks when we dont feel like focusing on it anymore. A counselor once told me to put those things into a mental dresser; then I could open a drawer and close it again as I felt neccessary.

    So again, thanks for being here, for all the newbies just starting on thier journey and for us oldies when we need it too :)

  25. Many Trails Home8/29/2007 02:50:00 PM

    Well said, hp3. MTH

  26. I have two thoughts at the moment. I'd like to invite you to think about them and leave them alone if they don't fit. There are so many perspectives that one person's can't fit us all. I think most of you know that already, but I'm relatively new to this forum, so I might overstate the obvious. :-)

    Liz, I think you're right on in tracing our fear of strangers or "worldly people" (though we may not consciously think of them that way anymore) to our training in the Laestadian church. It's a problem also common with abuse survivors; it's easier to project the fear to the "outside world" than to admit the fear is of those who are in our own home or family.
    I think this site has some good links if you want to look deeper into this issue: http://home.earthlink.net/%7Ejcmmsm/Groups/index.html

    Free, around the issue of why we stay in fundamentalist churches (or continue to solidify our new beliefs, whether religious, political or social, into fundamentalism)-- I think there is a human trait to want security, solidity and dependability, which is related to a fear of the unknown.

    It is especially difficult to leave when some of us are not taught the skills to look after ourselves in the world. I don't think that this is usually deliberate, by the way. But for example, if a woman never went out into the world to work, she simply wouldn't know how to teach her daughter the necessary skills. Or if a man doesn't know how to communicate with people who think differently than he does, he won't be able to teach that kind of skill to his son. This can happen to various degrees within a church group and even within a family.

    I think that some of us are fortunate that we run into outsiders who can help us develop the skills to live in the "outside" world, and others of us have an internal drive that will not let us settle for anything less than freedom.


  27. Flora, if you really think my essay would be worth reading, please send me your e-mail, and I will send it to you when it's ready. But don't hold your breath, it'll probably take a while before it's done. :) I will have to work my way through my Bible study essays before I can start working on the church history essays, one of which is the Christianity-Judaism essay.

    hibernatus_fin (at) yahoo (dot) com

  28. Thanks for the web link Amelia. Very interesting and helpful.

  29. Ditto that, Liz. I've added Amelia's link to this blog's LINKS section.

    Amelia, I've mused about the truism that "we can't teach what we don't know" and how isolation, whether it is physical or social, inhibits the diversity of views that lead to growth and change.

    That's the thinking behind "Big Sister" and other mentor programs. Exposing kids to "successful" adults normalizes success.

    As an OALC kid, I had mentors who normalized "worldliness" to me, or should I say "human-ness" . . . for which I'm eternally grateful.

    Now as a parent, I understand my own parents' desire to protect me from what was, for them, "the dangerous outside." The world was never normalized to them, as we did not socialize with family who left the church.

    Do you think we formers have a responsibility to provide a mentor-type "normalizing" gift to those left inside? If so, how is this given?

  30. My heart feeling is that I wouldn't want to lay that on anyone. Just as with another person who had left an unhealthy or abusive situation, say a prison camp survivor, that person may be able to help other similar people, but I wouldn't say they had a moral obligation to do so. That would feel like blaming the victim or holding the victim responsible for what the perpetrator did to others. That said, if a person *can* help and *wants* to help others who are similarly recovering, what a kindness and a blessing!

    In some cases I think that a complete outsider may be more helpful. For me, separating completely and having little-to-no contact with Laestadians (including my family) and learning to get my emotional needs met by "worldly" people seemed vital. Part of a separatist, fundamentalist religion like Laestadianism is that there is a sort of group or mass ego that is very difficult to differentiate from. For some people, relating with others who have left might be the the first step in individuating, while for others, it might not be so helpful. As evidenced by this blog, people from the religion *can* help each other a great deal. As I have experienced in my own life, people from outside the religion can also be helpful.

    We used to say on Usenet, "Your Mileage May Vary." What works for some may not work for others. And that brings us back to your point about diversity supporting growth, doesn't it? :-)

    Part of what I'd like to do as a therapist is to help people free their own minds. But fundamentalism, as has been pointed out in this thread, is definitely not limited to Laestadians or even to religious groups. I would argue that it is a widespread, universally shared human tendency-- not the only shared tendency, thankfully-- and so there will never be a shortage of people looking for support on their paths!

    I don't know where I personally can be most helpful. I will continue to go where I am inspired to go, both for my own growth and to offer any help I can give to those who may want it.