"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Speaking of Psychology...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Speaking of Psychology...

...I recently have been reading about something called "Positive Psychology." While psychology has traditionally focused on mental illness, pathology --basically negative feelings and emotions-- positive psychology focuses on what makes people thrive and what constitutes happiness for a given individual. The idea is to identify and build upon your strengths instead of focusing on the negative or one's weaknesses.

There is a free on-line strengths inventory that you can take at ViaSurvey.org. It was a pretty long questionaire, but it pegged me pretty well!

I've listed my "top five" strengths below. Are these signature strengths for people from a Laestadian background? Or of ex-Laestadians? My suspicion is that different people have different strengths and that people from a Laestadian background will vary every bit as much as the general population. On the other hand, when I saw that my Number One strength was caution and discretion I couldn't help but wonder if this is something that got pressed upon me at an early age precisely because of my Laestadian upbringing.

I invite you to take the survey and post your "top five" strengths here, as well as discuss all aspects of psychology and Laestadianism. At the very least, we might get to know each other a little better!

My "top five" strengths:

1) Caution, prudence, and discretion
You are a careful person, and your choices are consistently prudent ones. You do not say or do things that you might later regret.

2) Fairness, equity, and justice
Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.

3) Industry, diligence, and perseverance
You work hard to finish what you start. No matter the project, you "get it out the door" in timely fashion. You do not get distracted when you work, and you take satisfaction in completing tasks.

4) Curiosity and interest in the world
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

5) Love of learning
You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.



  1. Re-reading my post, another comment jumped out at me. Looking at my "top five," I think that 1) and 3) were very conducive to staying within Laestadianism. 2), 4), and 5) seem more opposed to Laestadianism.

    I definately know that 2) influenced me to leave Laestadianism. One of my earliest questioning childhood memories is one of me feeling very strongly that it just wasn't fair that so many (non-Laestadian) people were doomed to hell! ;-)

  2. Many Trails Home8/29/2007 02:45:00 PM

    Hi Tomte, this is a great discussion topic. In reading your "strengths", I immediately came to the following conclusion:
    Number 1, Caution, may be either Laestadian or Finn, 3 is definitely Finn (one of the definitions of "sisu" is perseverence), numbers 4 and 5 are why you (and I) are EX-Laestadians. As for Number 2, a love of fairness, I always considered that a family trait - my sibs and I have a passion for fairness, and truth perhaps even more so, but maybe this is more than a family thing. Wonderful topic. Maybe I should take the "inventory" also. MTH

  3. I definately reccomend taking the inventory. I found my "bottom five" to be quite illuminating as well, although cautious me didn't care to post those. ;-)

    Note, while you have to register with an Email address to take the inventory, you don't need to give them your real name.

  4. Your Top Strength

    Your Second Strength
    Fairness, equity, and justice

    Your Third Strength
    Forgiveness and mercy

    Your Fourth Strength
    Appreciation of beauty and excellence

    Your Fifth Strength
    Capacity to love and be loved

    I have to say, though, my score would be much different if I had taken this survey right after I left the church. I was recognizing that as I answered the questions. Now that I'm ten plus years out, my outlook has changed much for the better.

  5. I don't trust surveys like this (too bad there is no category for healthy skepticism!). That said, it was fun to take and made me laugh to realize my LOWEST score was humility. No wonder I never cut it as a Laestadian.

    Top Five:

    1.Curiosity and interest in the world
    2.Appreciation of beauty and excellence
    4.Love of learning
    5.Capacity to love and be loved

  6. Someone just sent me this fascinating essay in the New Republic. In a nutshell: it reviews psychological research and American electoral politics, concluding that the unconscious anxiety about death can be exploited to stimulate "worldview defense" reactions, from increased conservatism and religiosity to xenophobia. In one surprising experiment, judges set much higher bail when asked to first meditate on their own demise.

    The effect was muted when respondents were asked to be cautious and rational.

    On the one hand, this seems obvious. People who watch TV news overestimate crime statistics. Raise the spectre of a terrorist attack, and the masses vote law-and-order. Drum it into Laestadians that eternal life can be lost in the blink of an eye, and the fear/shunning of "worldlies" is self-maintaining.

    But surely this phenomenon is not universal. What about other cultures with differing views of death?

    It would be instructive to see these experiments done with practicing Buddhists. Does daily meditation on death leave one with less anxiety about it (as well as a physically large prefontal cortex)?

  7. I have long been solution oriented, knowing what I DIDNT want out of life, what I DIDNT want to do and/or be, but I was amazed at how little guidance there was for me in what TO do instead. (could be where I looked) Its easy to know whats wrong, but not so easy to figure out whats next, whats right... Its kind of funny there is finally an actual name and study of things positive. Maybe it will get to be less of a struggle for people who want to focus on the positive :)

    I think tests like these are fun, but like anything we have to be careful and use it for information and not as a definition. It is a fun way to get to know more about each other this way! I will be back :)

  8. Well, no "Laestadian" typology is emerging yet, although I do find it interesting that both Free and daisyaday had "Appreciation of beauty and excellence" in their top five. That was number 6) for me.

    I can see beauty in the plainness and austerity of Laestadian worship and life. But I also see beauty elsewhere, which may have been another contributor to my leaving Laestadianism.

  9. I can't remember exactly what my top 5 were because my computer froze before i could take a good look, but i know in the top 5 there was something like: gratidute, fairness and equality, appreciation of beauty, hard working, and capacity to be loved. I'm not sure what order those were in tho. I can see us having the "fairness and equality" trait because all our lives in the church we saw and heard that "everyone but laestadians are going to hell"..i know that was one of the major things that got me doubting the church..and then there was the thing about what groups of the church were "cool" and which ones weren't...after going throught that growing up, being looked down on, i guess you just kinda start accepting everyone because you know what it feels like to be not accepted for stupid reasons. anyways..just a few thoughts, might not make much sense!

  10. Hello everyone. Here are my top 5:

    1. Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith

    2. Capacity to love and be loved

    3. Love of learning

    4. Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness

    5. Curiosity and interest in the world

    Don't know if these results mean anything as far as me leaving the oalc, but if we get enough people to take part, we may see a pattern. At any rate, it is an interesting topic and fun to do.

    On second thought, love of learning seems anti oalc. And interest in the world is definitely non-Laestadian. And honesty and genuineness could be lacking there also, don't you think?

    Maybe there is something to this after all......

  11. Hi, Ex-Doubter! Can you post some more about what Spirtuality, sense of purpose, and faith mean to you as an ex-Laestadian? You are the only person so far who has had that in their top five, so my interest is piqued.

    I can see that particular attribute as helping one leave, or helping on stay in, depending on other factors.

  12. Finally took the test 1. Fairness 2. Leadership 3. Capacity to love 4. Gratitude 5. Honesty. LLLreader

  13. 1. Curiosity & interest in the world
    2. Fairness, equity & justice
    3. Appreciation of beauty & excellence
    4. Love of learning
    5. Bravery & valor

  14. Tomte,
    I,m afraid I don't have any profound thoughts about how/why I left the OALC, and I'm not sure these surveys are to be taken seriously. I do, however, take my faith in God seriously, and I couldn't be happier after leaving the oalc!
    I have said previously that I didn't realize how controlling and manipulative the church was until after I left. I have had serious doubts about the church for years, but was reluctant to act. When I did decide to look into scripture, after many recommendations from people on these blogs, a whole new world opened up to me. I quickly saw that the old church was wrong in so many ways, and I eventually left, leaving friends and family there as so many others have done. I am thankful for what has been revealed to me, and saddened that so many remain in that misguided church.
    I try not to dis-credit the oalc, and have said at times it seems to work for some, but that thought seems to be losing steam in my consciousness. Here of late I have had nothing but negative thoughts about that church, and what it did to me and so many of those I hold dear. So I suppose I am a work in progress. Still sorting out my feelings about the church and my new found freedom.
    Blessings to all. Ex doubter

  15. ex-doubter,

    I think anger is part of the process as you start to heal. You have to acknowledge the wounds and the pain, and doing that can bring out anger as well. Sometimes it seems easier to avoid them so you can avoid the pain, but just know that they are only feelings, and that you need to go through them to get to the other side, where peace resides.

    Peace does come if you allow yourself the freedom to simply have your feelings and work through them. If you're angry, be angry. When you're sad, let yourself grieve. Journaling helps, having people to bounce things off of helps, staying in touch with a community of supportive friends helps, being here can help. I'm glad you're here. Thanks for sharing.

  16. "If growing up were easy Feival, would it take so long?" -Mr Mouskavich

  17. ttg- I think it is a bit narrowminded to say that 4 and 5 are what make you(well thats a personal opinion) or other people leave the kingdom of God. What makes people leave is the fact that they've lost site of the destination. I for one am a laestadian and love different cultures and places and enjoy learning about new things immensely. Its really a very personal issue, and we must remember that even though we believe that there is only one true faith, God is the final judge.