"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: The Movement: Compare & Contrast

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Movement: Compare & Contrast

Welcome back to Troll, who hasn't visited for a while. Anonymous Poison did us all a favor in shaking things up around here. HP3, the poem I posted from Markus turns out to be a hymn; it was sung at his funeral. The LLC ELCA clearly has more to offer musically than the OALC.

I am very tempted to tell you all how FIRED UP I am about Barack Obama, but I'll save that for another thread.

MTH in her last comment asks about the differences between churches in the ritual of asking forgiveness. In 1979 I brought my high school "worldly" sweetheart to the BG OALC (a parental precondition for seeing him). While I can no longer recall his reaction to the "movement," I vividly remember my own sweaty discomfort. The drama could get pretty dramatic, if you know what I mean, and it never had the catharsis for me that it had for others.

An IALC member writes:
"confessing your sins to another is considered optional and private. I've never seen anyone do this at a church service. Though I've seen a lot of rejoicing and crying, but most often its a joyous sort of rejoicing. I've always been told not to look back at sin, lest you turn into a pillar of salt like Lot's wife. In other words, have your private conversation with God, or a trusted believer if its still bothering you, go to communion, and go and sin no more. So not all Laestadian churches practice the same way."

Well, shiver me timbers. More diversity among Laestadians.

How did they "move" at your church?


  1. There are geographical differences within the OALC, too. Go to an OALC service for example in BG and Detroit, and the general atmosphere at the end of the sermon will be significantly different. There will be people asking for forgiveness in both places, but in Detroit the whole thing is quieter and calmer while BG can be frightening if you are not used to that kind of emotional fireworks. In Europe it's usually more like Detroit than BG but it can get pretty noisy and tearful in Europe, too, especially at bigger meetings like Christmas meetings in Gellivare. There's also a geographical difference in who you ask forgiveness from and where. In America the whole sanctuary is typically taken over by the "movement", while in Norway it typically takes place only in the front of the sanctuary around the pulpit and the preachers. In Finland, it's sort of the middle of the road in this regard, most of the action takes place around the preachers but people do ask forgiveness also from those who remain sitting on the benches.

    As for the old-time rejoicing, i.e. clapping hands, jumping and shouting, which someone said is still common in the IALC, I've witnessed it only in Finland and Sweden. Never in America or Norway. I think it will die out also in Finland and Sweden within a few decades when the older generations pass away.

    In Norway, the private confession, i.e. when you have something particular to confess and want to talk with a preacher, takes place in a separate room called 'skrifterommet' (=confession room). Often this is followed by a public announcement by the preacher from the pulpit with a wish from the penitent that also the entire congregation will forgive him. Pretty similar to the way it is done in the American OALC. In Finland, confession typically takes place on a bench in the sanctuary, and it is almost never followed by a public announcement to the congregation. The congregation can see the confession taking place, but it is not announced from the pulpit, as it's often done in Norway and America.


  2. When I was living at home, the Movement was loud and high-pitched, especially among the young people. Older ones were quieter about their tears. This was done almost exclusively on Communion Sundays, because one couldn't go up for communion without a Clean Conscience (or you would be denigrating the Lord's Supper and the blessing that accompanies the bread-and-wine would be worthless). All other Sundays were rather quiet affairs with only a few (usually) older folks going up to the altar.

    As I grew older, I found this mandatory asking-forgiveness to be showcasing and not exactly from the heart. How can one force a contrite heart on cue?

    Crying in church COULD be cathartic, but for me that usually was during funerals.

    So now I'm wondering: is a good belly laugh as cathartic as a good cry?


  3. To Ilmarinen: you said on "Goodnight Sweet Prince" that the Heidemans (FALC) "emphasize forgiveness of sins like mad." But what do they DO exactly? What is their ritual, if any? HOW does someone ask forgiveness? I have a close friend who was raised a Heideman (altho it seems she barely knows anything about it) and I was quite sure they had no "movements" of the kind we are discussing in their church. But then what did (or do) they do? TX for the enlightenment. MTH

  4. You're right that the FALC doesn't have the movement like the OALC does. All I know is that their preachers talk about forgiveness of sins in almost every sermon, but I'm not sure how common public confessions are as opposed to private confessions. Maybe someone with more recent experience from the FALC can chime in here.

    I was wondering how common it was for the preacher to ask for absolution during his sermon? I seem to remember both OALC and ALC preachers asking, "Is it possible that even such a poor one as I could lay claim to this precious gift?"

  5. ilmarinen, that happened EVERY Sunday.


  6. we were at the BG oalc on Sunday, and it was a bit different when the confessions started from anything I have ever witnessed. I grew up in a nazarene church and have never seen or heard of a preacher asking his congregation for forgiveness and then having everyone forgive him all together, and then for people to ask others to forgive their sins was totally foreign to me. I can see how if you sinned against someone you could go to that person and tell them you are sorry, and ask for forgiveness, etc... but why do they go to anyone and ask for forgiveness of wrongs not commited against that person. I don't understand it, but my oalc friend told me it was Biblical.

  7. Because they believe their sins are not forgiven unless they ask them to be forgiven from another person. You are taught that you cannot ask God for forgiveness, you must ask another individual. So I suppose doing it in church may be easier than going to an individual? Just put your hand up and your sins are forgiven by the preacher. We were taught if you had a "name" sin on your conscience, you had to confess that sin and ask for forgiveness for someone.

  8. I can't remember where the verse is, but the bible verse they go by is the one where Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into his disciples and said, "Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted. Whosoever sins ye retain they are retained". So that is their claim that Jesus gave power to man to forgive sins. How I think of it is that the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to forgive others when they have wronged us. I do not believe this verse means man must VERBALLY proclaim sins forgiven to someone in order for them to be forgiven.
    You can get bitter, angry when someone does something wrong against you, and the Holy Spirit gives you the ability to forgive that person whether you tell them you forgave them or not. I believe this is what the verse means, others may have a different view?

    Jesus would have died for no reason if we had to rely on another person in order for our sins to be forgiven. He paid the price for our sins.

  9. I think its comforting to have the OPTION of confessing your sins to another believer if your conscious is very bothered about something you have done and you simply cannot get over it on your own. We can talk to God, but not many of us have had the experience of him talking back to us. Therefore, having another believer to confess ones' sins to and to receive absolution is a great source of comfort if you're not able to find comfort on your own. There is doctrinal evidence to back that up, if you see one of the previous posts. However, its in making it mandatory that the OALC'ers have perhaps erred. I'm sure that at times for some it can be very cathartic, but requiring it probably makes for some strange confessions, i.e. "I was tempted to watch televion at the neighbor's house last week."

  10. At least the following two passaged are used by the OALC and other churches in connection with confession (in fact the one from Hebrews is included even in the absolution prayer read at the end of confession in the Orthodox church).

    Hebrews 20:23 "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

    James 5:16 "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed."


  11. This is the Orthodox prayer of absolution I was referring to:

    "My spiritual child, thou who hast confessed to my unworthiness [my unworthy self], I, a humble sinner, have not the power to forgive sins on earth but God alone can do this. Through that divine voice which came to the apostles after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and said, 'Whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted,', we, trusting in it, say, 'Whatsoever thou hast confessed to my deepest unworthiness and whatsoever thou hast omitted to say either through ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, God forgive thee in the present world and in that which is to come.' "

    "O God, who, through Nathan the Prophet, forgave the sins of David after he confessed them, and to Peter, bitterly weeping, his denial, and to the harlot, shedding tears at His feet, and to the publican and the prodigal, may the same God forgive thee, through me a sinner, all thy sins in this world and in that which is to come, and may He stablish thee uncondemned before His fearful judgment seat. Without anxiety for thy confessed transgressions go in peace."


  12. I have said this before on this site, but I have a problem with the interpretation of the Hebrews quote. If a human has the power to "remit" sin, it is useless if he does not also have the power to "retain" sin. But then that means that a mere human has the power to hold someone in bondage to sin by refusing to forgive him. Does that seem right? MTH

  13. I think it means that if someone does not regret what he has done his sins are retained. For example if someone comes to confession and does not show any signs of real penitence or a desire to stop doing what he is confessing, the absolution may be withheld and he will remain in his sin until he repents. Not very common in practice, I think, but possible at least in theory. I remember an Orthodox priest telling at my religion class in high school that he had actually had to do like that a few times when it was obvious that the "penitent" really wasn't penitent at all.

    I think also the Laestadian preachers are considered to have that option, at least in theory, because someone, I think it was John Raattamaa, writes in a letter that they should be "fast to remit but slow to retain".


  14. It's all absurd.

  15. This link provides useful information on the topic.

  16. mia from the llc6/11/2008 07:16:00 PM

    This doesn't make any sense to me, because it calls for the "forgiver" to be the judge of what is in someone else's heart, and the only one who can do that is God.

    I also heard the scripture used where Ananias had to come to Paul when he had been blinded after persecuting the Christians. The logic went that since Paul could not free himself from his blindness, we cannot free ourselves from our sins. We need another believer to help us out as Ananias helped Paul.

  17. True repentance means a change of the heart, one wants to get rid of the sins one is repenting from and not to sin any more. If someone does not show any desire to stop sinning, there's really no need to "judge the heart" because it's so obvious.


  18. Anyway, Hibernatus, since "God can read our hearts," I suspect that if a sinner is non-penitent, it probably does not matter who offers absolution or how many times his "sin" is forgiven, I think that "God" would not release him. So it still comes down to God and priests and other "Christians" are merely human agents but not the true "court." I will never believe that a human has the "power" to bind another's "sin" - under any circumstance. That's God's business. MTH

  19. I agree wholeheartedly with you, MTH.

    Anyhow, have you ever heard of an example Laestadian withholding forgiveness when asked?

  20. You are right, MTH. Without a sincere repentance there is no forgiveness even if the priest agrees to complete the confession with the prayer of absolution read over the "penitent".


  21. Re a Laestadian withholding forgiveness when asked: No, of course not, I have never heard of such a thing. But if it is even theoretically possible, the entire interpretation is suspect, in my opinion. I personally think it's a power trip: WE have the power to release or withhold release from sin. BS. Can't be.
    Not that I think the issue of forgiveness is irrelevant, it definitely is not. For us exes, however, it is terribly tainted by the conditioning we received around that.
    So here is my (brief) take on forgiveness: If we hurt or do wrong to someone, we should ask that person to forgive us (not some random preacher) and do what we can to MAKE AMENDS (a non-Laestadian concept). I think it is also good for the "soul" - or for our mental health - to periodically tell "God" what our intentions are (hopefully for the good), ask for guidance and assistance in working toward those intentions, and ask for forgiveness if we are in general off the mark.
    Seems to me that pretty well covers the waterfront. If I ask "inside" (my intuition, "soul," "God," conscience, or whatever we want to call it), I get an affirmative response, a sense of peace, and that is how I check these things. Any other ideas?
    Many Trails Home

  22. That sounds pretty reasonable to me, Trails.

    I do remember when an OALCer refused forgiveness to another OALC friend of mine many years ago. I also remember the anguish the person who had been refused was going through as a result of that. There are many degrees of cruelty!

    I sometimes feel I have a real shortcoming in my nature, because I tend to hold to a concept of yes, I will forgive -- but that does not mean I will forget. It seems to me that if a person were able to truly forgive another, then the event would be completely dismissed and forgotten. Why does my inability to do that sometimes make me feel sad? Thoughts?

  23. Just another note about the IALC and the concept of forgiveness and a historical reference. I am not a church historian by any means, but it is my understanding that the IALC split from the FALC/LLC (when they were together) over doctrinal differences regarding the concept of oral confession of sin in the 1920's. The group which became the IALC left the FALC/LLC group because the IALC did not think that oral/public confession of sin should be required. It leads me to wonder if it always had, and if the IALC became opposed at some point, or if the church was then leaning more toward a requirement that the IALC group was not in favor. Who can really know, as everyone involved at this time were dead. A few years ago I had the occasion to meet a wonderful young woman from the FALC whose father as a minister began to preach against the public/oral confession of sin and he was "dis-ministered" and their family left the church. She knew a lot more about church history than I do. However, she was surprised that "rejoicing" still existed in the IALC as well, as she had never seen this phenomenon in the FALC. She doubted that it could be genuine. I know that it is. I am a modest person not known for excessive shows of emotion and do not like calling any particular attention to myself, but on rare occassion I too have felt that kind of joy in the holy spirit. It is not because I am saddened by my sins, I expect I will continue to be in some kind of sin every day, as much as I try to avoid it the flesh is weak even if the spirit is willing. The joy I feel is in my salvation, and the fact that I, too, can be a child of God. In this world we walk in it is hard to be a good person. I work with a diverse group of people, including racial, sexual, and other minority groups, and although I do not feel called to judge upon others or hold myself as an example, I try to walk as the Bible tells me to. I fall short. I have befriended a person at work who is going through a sex change; although it seems strange to me, I don't discount his/her experiences in life and why he/she feels compelled to make this choice. As a believer, we must do as Jesus instructs and to love our neighbor. My friend would be a bit surprised, I think, if I were "outed" as a laestadian, she/he is new to our workgroup, and some people do know my religious affiliation as I work with two other ex-laestadians. They know I don't drink alcohol, and I've been teased in sometimes a not very nice way about it, and its not always easy. It's not that I never have drank, I've tried it, and it does nothing for me and I don't have the same hang-ups that some laestadians have about being around alcohol. My other half does not follow my faith, and I even have to arrange gatherings that include alcohol at my place of employment. It has never been a big temptation for me personally. I think if I had a big temptation, it would be that I have a hard time with people thinking that I am somehow judging others negatively by my choice of lifestyle, when I try so hard to be just and fair and to be a loving person. Perhaps that is why I've always been drawn to people who are a minority in some kind of way, because I feel like one myself, I feel I can empathize with them for not fitting into the cultural paradigm. It is hard to have to be different and stand apart. These are just my thoughts that I am having today...

  24. There's so much I'd like to say about this thread, but can't seem to pull my thoughts together.. but it just seems as though the topic of sin, grace, forgiveness, sanctification..umm.. seems so misunderstood.

    Anon Jun 14 12:04 - Not being a drinker can be good thing - there are a lot of people in recovery these days, and the support from you could really be a help to them. You bring up an interesting aspect of Laestadianism - that is that one could be "outed". Hmmm, why do we feel that way, as if it's something to hide. I don't understand that, except that we have a reputation for being stoic and judgmental perhaps? But we really are not that different from other Christians of all denominations.. we share so much with them, it's too bad that we feel so seperated.

    IALC music contributes to the rejoicing, I think. There is a certain way of cutting short the last beat in a measure which can be sort of hypnotic...

    The rejoicing was scary to me as a child, although it was usually at "big services" and rarely in my home church. I think most younger people in the ALC would be surprised to find this phenomenon in our history... A phenomenon which is usually associated with Pentecostal or charismatic churches.

  25. LLLreader sez: I wanted to respond to anon 12:04. For the part about alcohol, lots of people don't drink--in or out of the OALC. I find that anyone who creates a fuss about someone else not drinking, usually has an alcohol problem. If that's not the reason, then they are just idiots who don't know how to have a good time without getting loaded. However, on the other side, if a person is having a social drink, and somone by word or action, shows them they don't approve-- then the judgemental one will probably catch some flack. I think the feeling that you have to hide the fact you are Apostolic is naturally caused by the nature of your church. People don't like being told their religion is "dead faith", and even if you don't do it, others do. Again, if the OALC serves your spiritual needs, then that's the path you should follow and God bless you. Naturally, the spiritual journey of everyone else needs to be respected too. I believe you when you say you don't judge, but you are in a church that does judge others by the way they look and where they go to worship. That's the dilemma.

  26. RWB here...

    Since the "movement" in the OALC has already been described I won't add anything further except to say that any of you who wonder about this should come and see for yourselves.

    On the forgiveness of sins:

    Luther says:"Let, therefore, every man seek the forgiveness of sins from men, and from nowhere else. In that way alone can it be found, for the commandment of our Lord Christ is this: 'Verily, verily I say unto you: Whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven' (Matthew 18:18). And again: 'Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them' (John 20:23). God will not tolerate that each man starts to build his own ladder to heaven; He alone wants to be the builder."

    I wonder how many "Lutheran" churches still follow this teaching. This ladder building is what many describe here.

    The Bible shows forgiveness one to the other:

    Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

    James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

    And that we must confess:

    1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    It is also very clear that we must forgive or we ourselves will not be forgiven:

    Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

    Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    Also, we must rebuke (this is seen as "judging") sin when we see it and forgive when repentance is asked for:

    Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

    LLLreader????....they judge others by the way we look???....where we go to worship??? huh? enlighten please!

    Of course we can't win either....if we rebuke or confess our faith we are seen as judging and self-righteous by others...if we don't do this we know what the Word of God demands and are accused by our own conscience...so goes the battle...


  27. RWB,

    maybe you can help me walk through this a little bit.. There are two kinds of repentances. One is our initial conversion or repentance, and we all need this- we need to be born again, even if we are childhood Christians. This is when God calls us personally (awakens us), and we realize that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all of our righteousnesses are like filthy rags" Isaiah 64:6. We are utterly lost, and our own 'holiness' is like the ladder you mentioned - building our own way to heaven, without Christ.

    The other repentance is foot-washing, as in John 13.. Of course our flesh is going to sin daily. But we do not go to the original repentance for this (we do not need to be totally washed), only our feet, which have become soiled along the way. That is, we are saved, but the footwashing helps us keep peace and a pure conscience.

    I think that most Laestadian churches believe that sins must be confessed to another person, but I believe there is a place for individual prayer to God also, as in the Lord's Prayer. But hearing the Word is important too "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God".

    And then sanctification. What would you make of Hebrews 10:10 - being sanctified once for all.. And do you think repentance can become a work?

  28. To RWB from LLLreader: What isn't clear? I am telling a member of the Apostolic church that he/she is in a church that looks at people and makes judgements based on appearance. If a women has short hair, is wearing makeup, earrings, and such, then that women is a sorrowless one. However, if a women is seen sans makeup, has long hair, wears a huvvi, then she is a sorrowful one. Then there is the belief in the Apostolic church that if a person goes to a Baptist church, they are going to a dead faith church and their hope for salvation is mighty dim. If they go to the OALC they will be saved. However, that does get tricky, since members of the other Apostolic churches certainly don't believe that. People do need to follow their own conscience. I don't believe you are right, you don't believe I am right--so what's the problem? God is the final judge, and I would pray that both of us end up in Heaven

  29. I grew up in the FALC. The only time I experienced people "yelling out" and crying for forgiveness was during St. John's services in Calumet, MI. It has been quite a few years since I have been there, but I assume it is dying out. In church growing up, it was awkward when the minister would ask the congregation for forgiveness. He would even do it at weddings and funerals. The minister would do it even more when there were a lot of people at the service who were outsiders (for weddings, etc.). I always thought it was weird how the sermon would be longer and "so directed" at "the non-believers", as they were referred to. I married a "non-believer." When he first attended the church, he was very offended to find that the minister of the FALC was referring to him, his family, and loved ones as non-believers. Yes, they all believed in God, that their sins would be forgiven, and that their prayers would be answered.

  30. RWB, I might point out one small thing. Small, but significant. The scripture you quoted says, "Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him."

    If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him;

    It doesn't say if thy brother trespass, rebuke him. You have the right to call him on something he has done wrong against you. But it does not call you to be his judge. That's one thing that I think people often misinterpret.

  31. Here is another small but significant point from this scripture RWB quoted:

    1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    If we confess our sins, HE is faithful to forgive us our sins. Obviously the HE is referring to God. It does not say confession to a brother or sister is a requirement, it is saying we can confess to God. If you want to confess everything to a person, thats your choice.

    RWB: Why wouldn't God forgive you if you asked him? Why is it a requirement to go to another person for absolution? God knows all, we cannot hide anything from him. Obviously if you have sinned against another person you should go to them and ask forgiveness. But a sin against God is really no one elses business. Its between you and God. Wheres your relationship with him if you can't talk to him and ask forgiveness from him?

  32. RWB here...

    This subject is a hard one to get a hold of and understand...here are my thoughts...

    Repentance is continual and life long just as sin is continual and life long and forgiveness follows from it....we don't receive forgiveness if we don't repent. How do we repent if we don't know what sin is? Me must know sin and it must have a name if we are to repent of it. This comes to us through God's Word. It shows us the truth, that we are sinners and nothing good of ourselves. Faith in Him comes from God's Word and through this faith we are justified. The moment we believe we are justified. It is instantaneous. This doesn't mean we are free to live life as we please according to Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

    Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

    Sanctification on the other hand seems to be the ongoing work of God through the Holy Ghost in man. Sanctification has no part in Justification. I guess repentance could be a part of that "work" of which man must be an active participant. The Holy Ghost can remind us but we must do our part and move our members unto repentance.

    Hebrews 10:10 says...we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Verse 14 says, For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Verses 17‑18 say, Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

    I think this passage from Hebrews was being directed to the Jews and their practice of a sin offering as atonement for sin....the writer, understood to be the Apostle Paul, was saying because the sin of the believer was sanctified, or made holy, through the body of Christ these sin offerings were no longer necessary.

    To LLLreader: What does 1 Peter 3:3 mean to you: Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. I'm not saying I would judge someone based on this or anything else, but I'm just wondering what you think it means. It's a minor issue, but these are the issues some of you here seem so hung up on and bring up time and time again. Of course we all (including you if you really know yourself) make judgements about people based on what they look like everyday.....we are weak and faulty...or maybe you're not...I don't know. I guess it's that schadenfreude kickin' in again...

    Daisy: Who is thy brother? Like I said and as you seem to have stated...rebuke is often taken or seen as judgement when it is not.

    Anonymous 10:03....read back to some other posts I have left on here....


  33. To RWB from LLLreader: My Bible, The New American Standard, says that adornment shouldn't be merely external,with the braiding dressing etc. but we should likewise adorn our hearts with a gentle and quiet spirit. I think that dressing in a flashy way with scads of makeup detracts from a women's natural beauty. I too think that how a women dresses, simply or fashionably, is a minor issue and is really up to the individual. Yes, I make judgments about others, but it is something I really try to guard against. I'm not always successful, but I am aware that God does not look favorably on that behavior. We have different beliefs RWB, but I believe God will bless both of us in our attempts to follow his word.

  34. LLL reader, I agree with you.. the outward appearance can reflect where a person's heart is, but we certainly shouldn't judge - or dismiss - anyone by that. James 2 says we should not be "partial to ourselves, and become judges of evil thoughts" by respecting a person, or not, based on outward appearance..especially those among us in church.

    RWB - sanctification. Is sanctification a process? I'm not so sure.. I believe we are either sanctified or we are not. 1 Cor 6:11 says "but ye are washed, ye are sanctified,..ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God".

    Romans 7-8 speaks of the struggle between our justified and sanctified spirit and our flesh. I think we need to be clear that if God's Holy Spirit is in us, we cannot sin. It is our flesh that sins.. there are two parts to us. When God looks at us, He is looking to see if Christ dwells within our hearts, and that is how we are saved. Cleaning up our flesh will not save us, and in fact can be deceptive. However, "..to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" Roman 8:6. I agree, we must keep this flesh in subjection, as it is so 'prone to wander', in the words of a familiar hymn.

    Continual repentance, and naming particular sins.. hmmm.. If we dwell on our sins, isn't that discouraging to our faith? Isn't it better to remind ourselves of the the One who has saved us from our sins? If I look at myself, all I see are faults and failures, temptations and sin. But my consolation is that God does not see my sin, he sees Christ.

    Those are my thoughts this morning :-)

  35. Short of parenting your child(ren), it's no one's business what another person looks like, how they choose to wear their hair, or how they choose to dress.

  36. RWB here...

    Certainly we cannot judge what is or isn't in someones heart by the way they do or don't dress, but I think the Bible is pretty clear that the dress should be plain and simple. I just want it to be clear that what LLLreader has observed and stated about some/all members of the OALC and their judgemental nature is no different than the nature of any other person...OALC or not....LLLreader even admits to it. This fault and many of the other faults have been propagated here as being part of the theology or spoken word of the OALC when it very clearly is not. I have not seen here where someone has shown that it has been spoken one way or another...it is always..."these OALCer's do this" or "they don't do that"...or "I heard once of this". I'm not sure what purpose this serves except to make yourselves feel good about the fact that you left. Very little of this is constructive theological discussion.


    It seems that Justification is what we receive when we first believe. Sanctification is the ongoing work (process) of the Holy Spirit in us throughout our lives following Justification.


  37. LLLreader sez to RWB--Good luck to you RWB--I'm not going to reply to you anymore--it just goes round and round--God bless.

  38. RWB

    I'm in an LLL Church and have been lurking here forever. This is my first post. Most of the time I agree with you, but this time I must say that you really need to take the blinders of and observe the people around you for who they really are.

    ALL LLL churches exhibit faults that are typical of extremely tight knit homogeneous groups. They are human beings after all and are heavily influenced by their environment. These faults are less prevalent in the outside world. Not because outsiders are better people, but because they choose to live in a different environment.

    This argument can be flipped around and used to point out positive things about LLL Churches in comparison to the outside world.

    You cannot have your cake and eat it to. Although I don't think that you realize that is what your doing.

  39. mia from the llc6/18/2008 10:10:00 PM

    The opposite of sin is grace, not virtue. ~Philip Yancey

  40. RwB ~ 1 Peter 3:3 Inner beauty is more important that outer, our priority shouldn't be on our looks... I have a problem with people using that verse to put jewelry, and hairstyles into the "sin" category.(and I know that they do, as I was raised that way) What about the "putting on of apparel"? Should we go naked? Of course not. But if we look at in the context that the rest of the verse is taken, it should be simple(like the bun and wedding band), but it's usually top name brands and styles. Also, at this time, straight hair is "in". Does that mean that to "not follow the styles", hair should be cut -n-curled?? Just some thoughts...

    Also, about forgiveness... We don't even need to ask God, He forgave ALL past, present, and future when Christ died and rose again. We need to BELIEVE that He did it for us as an individual.


  41. I agree, it just goes round and round. Anyone still in the LLL churches are so convinced they alone are correct. They have a mind block up without realizing it and will not consider anything we try to tell them. They are right, we are wrong. End of story.

  42. If the OALC'ers believe they should dress simple, why aren't they walking around with just a sheet over them, or why aren't the women covering themselves in public like the muslims do? Simple is in the eye of the beholder

  43. I think it's odd we keep talking about simply. Quite frankly, they are known as the most fashion-forward people in town.
    The kids at school struggle with image because they can't keep up with the "simple" folk.

  44. RWB here...

    A few thoughts I have on all this: You don't have to agree with me....I know I can't give my faith to anyone...

    A person is not saved/saved by what church they attend, what they wear or what they don't wear, whether they curse, swear, lie, steal, etc....period....

    BUT...We are saved when we are called unto repentance and we repent. We must repent and then we will be forgiven. This repentance must be through our faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. Luther said "Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in him unless he knew where his believers are?" You must find that church where that sermon of repentance is still preached....that law that cuts and that gospel that heals. If one is present and not the other it is not the whole Word of God. I talk with different people about what their church professes. As many here say, these people often times say it is all gospel...that there is no place for the law...I have heard there are some that only preach law and I know many of you would accuse the OALC of this, but I don't believe it is so. But according to God's Word you don't get to the Gospel without first preaching the law.

    I will quote Luther again here because he had such a keen understanding of this: "Our righteousness is nothing but the imputation of the righteousness of Christ; and the just have need of a continual justification and imputation of the righteousness of Christ." Notice he said "the just have need of a continual justification". Thus we must, through faith, continually seek forgiveness for our sin...which doth so easily beset us.

    As far as the comment "They have a mind block up without realizing it and will not consider anything we try to tell them. They are right, we are wrong." Round and round is right! So many of you always say....those OALC'ers...if they would only read their Bible they would see how it really is..I read the Bible, I ask questions, I listen in Church, I read Luther, Laestadius, and others. I have read and studied a bit about the Orthodox Church, Catholicism, Quakers, Mormons, Methodists, Latters Day Saints, Jehovahs, etc. This has not made me a better person...but it has tested and proven my faith and beliefs.

    Through my own family experience, as I related on here before, I have felt a need to prove to myself and try to prove to others who have left that this is THE saving faith. Again, I'm not saying this faith I speak of IS the OALC, but in my personal family experience those that have left have not found peace anywhere else..and they have tried....they always come back to this "religion" of finding fault with the Christianity, exactly as I see it here on this site and others like it. There is very little doctrinal discussion that would show any proof of our supposed wrongness.

    Then once one has left it is so easy for the Devil to say in one ear....you can't go back, they won't forgive you. Then the heart hardens and self-righteous says in the other ear...no no, you are right, they are wrong. A close one to me has related of these feelings and thoughts and even though they realize the error they just haven't been able to get past it. I suspect it is so for some of you. I can't say to much because I wish to remain anonymous, at least to you....I know God sees all.

    For those of you that have never experienced what the OALC has to offer...I would like to invite you to come and see for yourselves if you are curious about it...don't listen to me or anyone else here...don't look to OALC members to be a shining example of what a christian should be...although we should be this...we in many ways fall mighty short....just simply come and see....


  45. I find it fascinating and infuriorating that so many from the different LL churches still chose to dis-believe another's reality; comments such as "oh you couldnt have been told that" or "you must have misunderstood because thats not what I heard" or "you must have left so young and not really understood or really been exposed" etc.

    Why is it so hard to accept that your particular reality is not the ONLY reality? That your particular branch of LL is NOT the only branch, and not the only branch who feels the same way you do? And that your particular church is NOT the ONLY right church?

    RWB and others: we each have our interpretation of the biblical verse (Im not going to accept a substitute quote from LLL as a foundation for my salvation)These interpretations come from our own experiences, our own prayerful searching... unless we truly know each other from the heart we cannot even begin to presume to assess anothers interpretation.

    Also, what I found to be the most controversial with the oalc church I left, was the DEFINITION of what is a sin. I do not try to define beyond what is written in the bible. If a phrase, such as "simply" is left open to interpretation, than I believe it is indeed left up to the individual to put that into practice in THIER OWN LIVES, as the Holy Spirit and thier consciousnce has revealed to them, and not push that interpretation onto others.

    How "far" is "far?"
    How much is "too much?"
    What is "simple?"

    We would all do best to believe there is no ONE right answer. God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell among us and in us. We need to listen to His soft, still voice, not the voices of clammoring and arguing men here on earth.

  46. I agree with you hp3.
    RBW- you said: Then once one has left it is so easy for the Devil to say in one ear....you can't go back, they won't forgive you. Then the heart hardens and self-righteous says in the other ear...no no, you are right, they are wrong..........I suspect it is so for some of you.

    That is what the preachers ALWAYS said in the LLC almost every sermon I heard. But it's not like that, you're not seeing the big picture. I didn't see the big picture until about a year after I left the LLC. I could REALLY see what was going on around...how the LLL branches are all basically the same, and how they're so small compared to the whole worlds population. Do you really think that out of the whole worlds population, only your church is going to be saved? God is loving! I can't judge who is going to be saved and who is not because that's not for me to do, but I'm pretty sure that its not only going to be a small group of people.
    There is no point in argueing with you though, because it's impossible. We're looking at the same picture, but seeing a totally different thing.
    Hope that all made sense, its kind of hard to put this into words.

  47. I have never "heard the devil (or anyone else for that matter) whisper in my ear 'you can never go back" I wanted to leave as long as I can remember. I had a longing and thirst for more than the oalc was offering me. A desire to drink from the well of life and never thirst again. To live in love and the promise God has for His people, a life of more than I could dream.

    And it doesnt have to be 'self-righteousness' to believe differently than those I left behind at the oalc... Why do we always have to boil down to someone being right and someone being wrong? how come its ok for an oalcer to do that, but when a non-oalcer does it, its called self-righteousness?

    rwb: I commend you for continuing to post here. It must be very difficult to have so much coming at you from everyone all at once, even more difficult to resond coherantly :p Yet you do well at stating your beliefs. Though Im not as good with the words, I appreciate an opportunity to be listened to, and really heard, and respected, even if we disagree. Thats what I try to extend to you, as well as everyone I encounter on this wonderful journey.

  48. LLLreader sez: To hp3-well said, the disbelieving of other's reality is frustrating. I had to look up what "schadenfreude" means--enjoyment taken from the misfortune of others.

  49. I have been trying to plow thru some of these long posts. I need some clarification.
    RWB: You say that ". . . this is THE saving faith" and then you say "I am not saying this IS the OALC." I don't get it. What exactly ARE you saying? If the OALC is not THE saving faith, then are we not free to find "saving faith" elsewhere? Just because your siblings did not find it does not mean that it is not there.
    Incidentally, I discovered that a young man (new convert) was recently told by an OALC preacher that he should not read his Bible as he would get the wrong interpretation. To me this speaks volumes. Someone in a food line at an OALC church told me years ago that we should stay so busy that we don't have time to think - that speaks even more volumes. Who but indoctrinationists (I made up that word) would say such things? And we don't even NEED the Bible per se. Just ask the Holy Spirit. That's all we need. Many blessings. Many Trails Home

  50. Being in a reflective and pensive mood tonight, I've been pondering all of the things that have been said here and in the other posts, and it came to me that we argue the wrong things so often.

    With the professed exception of AP and probably a very few others, the posters on this forum are bound by a singular and all important truth. We believe that we are saved through our belief in Jesus, the Christ, and that his dying on the cross has brought to us the forgiveness of our sins, the salvation of our souls, and the promise of eternal happiness. We believe that this tremendous gift has been given us not through anything we can do or say, but by the incredible grace of God. There is no discernable disagreement on this point. This is what will allow us to enter heaven and rejoice forever.

    So what do we talk about? We talk about whether women should wear long unadorned hair or is that old fashioned and not applicable in out times? Should people wear jewelry, or is that just vanity? Should people watch TV, or drink wine, or participate in sporting events, or are those sure pathways to the devil? Then we get past the "thou shalt nots" and ask how should we properly ask forgiveness -- by going to our brothers' and sisters' shoulders, to a priest, or in private conversation with God? We pontificate about whether we should worship by listening to the sermons written by a founding father of our faith, or should we adhere only to the Bible (because surely that can be the only inspired text?) -- and then to which version of the Bible should we adhere to? We wonder whether those observing the traditions of the ancient church are in some way wrong, and think perhaps we should instead worship only in plain action and simplicity, or is it all right to remember using those traditions? Should we accept statuary in a church as a reminder of strong examples who have gone ahead and a way to focus prayer, or should we denounce them as idols and something evil? Should we shun others who do not believe as we do, or should we rejoice that we all -- every one of us regardless of church affiliation -- look to the risen Lord as our saviour and redeemer? Should we teach our children to avoid those of other faiths, or should we teach them that by the grace of God, we are all traveling toward redemption in a way guided by the Holy Spirit, and we should all rejoice that God works in so many mysterious and magnificent ways?

    It seems to me that we need to focus on the one important thing, praising Jesus as best we can, thanking God as best we can, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and understanding as best we can -- and we should not get hung up in the details.

    Forget the details and think instead of the morrow -- in the words of an old friend, Walter Ek, when we will have a "uusi paiva, ja uusi armo", a new day and a new grace.

    Peace and blessings to all of you, my friends.

  51. Well said, cvow, well said!

    We do get wrapped up in arguing the right and wrong of this doctrine and that one, and over our religious practices, and about why we are right and everyone else is wrong.

    And the whole while that we are verbally pushing and shoving at each other, taking potshots, the focus is taken off the sacrifice that was made specifically for us. For each of us. It's definitely distracting.

    Thanks, cvow, for the wisdom here. :)

  52. The term "schadenfreude", initially used by RWB in an earlier post, brings the following to mind:

    Once I left the church, I could no longer be referred to as "precious". That is a word reserved for churchgoers only.

    One of my siblings questioned how I thought my future would be since I am no longer considered "obedient".

    Church members will say that things are not well for me. One of my siblings asked me what to say to other church members when they ask how I am doing.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think those in the church would like to see my life go down the toilet. Then they can say, and their position can be reaffirmed, that this is what happens when one is disobedient. There is no blessing. Blah, blah, blah.

  53. Yes, well said cvow.

    It would be interesting to have a conversation dedicated to what we can all agree on :) What types of things do we still believe, even after leaving our particular (LL or any other) denomination?

    anon 5:35
    I have had similar experiences. Its still strange to me that they cannot truly listen to me, and consider accepting that I am truly happy. I understand its because they have been told thier entire lives that happiness can only be found within thier church walls, and with outside exposure discouraged, what else do they have to compare? I find myself yet again in the position of having my reality denied. I cant PROVE to them Im happy, I can only try to show them, but if they wont see and wont listen to ME and MY words (they just hear the preachers words defining my "wordly" reality) what can I do?

    I just keep being me :p They dont have to believe (although I would like them to) I smile and tell them I care most what God calls me (precious and obedient) not men. I tell them to let others know I am truly happy and living in God's mercy and grace. (This message doesnt get passed along, I know, but again I can only do my part)

    And I do believe they want me to be truly happy, but that is one of those tricky "interpretaion" words and experiences. For thier own fears and doubts, they probably do need some affirmation that others outside thier church are not "happy" Its a very scary place to doubt and believe diversity, if you have been told those thoughts & experiences take away your faith and will send you to hell.

  54. Ahhh, Cvow, the voice of reason! Boy, you really must have been in a reflective mood, and I agree we sometimes argue over the details, but I still carry the wounds from the judgemental and self righteous members of my old OALC congregation! Condemning members of my family to Hell because they did not attend their church.

    While I believe some there will be saved in spite of their doctrine, I would never recommend that church to anyone!

    OK, I'll now wait for the flames!

  55. RWB here...

    According to world and its ways: Very interesting comment about religion being 3000 miles wide. Contrary to God's word I would say. This site and the thoughts of many here go right along with the feelings and thoughts of mainstream America...interesting.


  56. I would venture to guess that every church in the world, yes, EVEN the OALC, has members with different viewpoints on MOST issues. What kind of world would this be if we all thought the same and had the same life experiences?

    I don't think this news about christians having many different viewpoints is anything new. I just think it shows that its not what church you go to that should define who you are. It should be your own personal experiences with god that define who you are and give you your own, individual view of the world you live in.

    Please don't try to tell me that everyone in the OALC acts, thinks, and believes EXACTLY the same as every other single member in the congregation. Plus, even if they confess to believe a certain way, you never really know. I used to go to one of those churches, and I went through the motions, as I am sure many others do.

    Thankfully, now, god has given me the strength to be...well, an individual!!!

  57. I just wanted to comment on RWB's comment:

    Through my own family experience, as I related on here before, I have felt a need to prove to myself and try to prove to others who have left that this is THE saving faith.

    I can appreciate your concern for us because I feel your concern is legitimate and you honestly feel that those of us who have left are unsaved.

    My response to that would be that I could never be a part of the OALC. Even per say (which I don't believe for a minute) that I did have to be a part of the OALC to be saved, I still would not. If God himself came to me and said I had to attend the OALC and adhere to their beliefs in order to be saved, I still would not do it.

    WHY? Because a God that would be so picky and only save 0.001% of the population, a God who turns his back on the rest of the 99.9% that have faith in Christ, is frankly a God that I would not even want to be with or honor. I have seen changed lives, I can testify to my own that the Holy Spirit does indeed live outside the people of the OALC. I cannot make you believe that because you choose not to. Its what I have seen and experienced. I cannot worship the God you believe in. He is not the God I know. The God I know loves all people who have faith in Christ and accepts all who believe in his son, not just a select handful. He is a more loving God than that. And if I am wrong for whatever reason, like I said, I cannot worship or honor the God you preach.

  58. I have been "off the grid" for awhile. I enjoyed reading all the comments. Anonymous above me: I agree with you -- up to a point. I think God loves ALL his children, and everyone born onto this planet is a child of His. I don't think there is a cutoff line ANYwhere. We too often want to give God human characteristics, making Him an image of us. We don't really know Him, so saying that He will punish us if we do not toe the OALC line is going WAY above and beyond, I think. Comments such as RWB's do not ruffle my feathers because he sees the world differently than I do. And, RWB, God made ME, too.

    Cvow, I enjoyed your reflective posting.


  59. Right SISU, thanks for pointing out my error. I believe God does love each and every one of us the same, not just those who have faith in Christ. However, I don't believe each and every one of us will be saved. I believe you have to have faith in Christ. I realize there are lots of different beliefs on this site, this is just mine. Also this verse comes to mind, the OALC claims to have correct teaching, well this verse clearly states all who believe in Jesus will not perish.
    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    I think people get too caught up in the little details and differences and it takes the focus off of Christ and what he's done for us.

  60. Honestly, RWB, what you say sounds nice and all, but are there really many at all in the OALC that believe it possible for someone to find the tools for salvation outside of the OALC? Saying that it is possible, and really truly believing it, are two different things entirely. Why all the "sadness" when someone leaves, why all the grief and carrying on about the person not going to heaven in thier condition. Why are they only appeased if the person converts back to the OALC? If they believe it's possible that salvation can be found elsewhere why do family relationships almost always change just because the person no longer attends the OALC and maybe attends elsewhere? Why are they not just hopeful that what that person who leaves believes is also a saving faith?

  61. Other churches also teach repentance and preach the gospel. Repentance isn't only taught in the OALC. Repentance means turning from sin and turning to God. Where it gets complicated is that some of the things you consider to be sins, are not sins in my eyes (tv, makeup, movies, etc) They COULD become sins, depends on how you use it. Anyhow, doesn't pay to argue. You believe how you must and I will do the same.

  62. RWB, I don't want to argue with you, I hope you'll consider this more of a discussion..

    you've quoted this verse a few times: "2 Peter 1:20 "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation."

    Reading that verse in context with the ones before and after it and continuing into Chapter 2, I can see why there is this caution. It's to warn against false teachers. My response to that is this: that we must test what we hear against what the Bible says. To know what the Bible says means we need to study it, then we can be alert to false teaching. If we read the Bible for ourselves, then we will know when what we are hearing is contrary to the word of God.

    Some of the LLL churches (as well as other denominations) do not have Bibles in the pews so that people can follow along. That should change!

  63. RWB, I just let your comment slide until it was pointed out to me that your response was most arrogant, which it was. I was NOT speculating; I was merely passing on more or less verbatim what this young man was told, or understood he was told (I was obviously not there.) I frankly don't care what the "context" was: if a "Christian" is told not to read the Bible because the preachers want to make sure they get the "right" (ie OALC-approved) interpretation, I personally think that is bunk. We are allowed, in fact encouraged by Jesus, to go straight to the Lord. We do not even need to go "through" the Bible, let alone "through" an OALC-preacher. The Holy Spirit is right here, now, for you and me and everyone, period. WE are responsible to create our relationship FIRST-HAND with our Creator. Anything else is the arrogance of small human minds, and a "stumbling block" to which these "preachers" will have to answer. All they have to do, all anyone has to do, is just ask . . . I do thank the Lord for that. May we all be blessed, you too RWB. Many Trails Home

  64. Sacred texts are valuable, and rightly so, to believers and folowers of nearly any religion, and scholars view context as one of the most important aspects of serious study.

    www.sacred-text.com has a wealth of info:

    "Welcome to the largest freely available archive of online books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric on the Internet. The site is dedicated to religious tolerance and scholarship, and has the largest readership of any similar site on the web."

  65. Just wanted to post what I was told in the LLC. I asked a preacher (when I was in the LLC and curious) where it says in the bible that we need to ask each other for the forgiveness of sins to be saved. I was told it was from the verse about "I give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." It was the first time I realized the whole LLC forgiveness ritual wasnt actually spelled out in the bible!! Now I believe the forgiveness ritual gained significance over time and eventually became the only way to get to heaven.

  66. I was a member of the AALC from 1971 until I nearly had a mental breakdown in 1992. I was there thru the 1973 "heresy" as they call it, and I know many of the families and children that are still there. I have some very sad memories and I am extremely grateful to have had the strength to see the hypocrisy and get myself and the children out of what I consider a cult. Nice to see someone has actually founded a place for people that have been involved, in a positive or not so happy way, to connect and relate.
    I will take the time to review this site a length when I have more time.
    Thanks again.. =)
    A former AALCer.

  67. I am curious about the other LLL branches. Did you have friends all over the United States too? Summer services every summer? I remember growing up I thought we were so special because we had all these friends from around the US. Just curious if other branches were like that too? I was in the LLC.


  68. I believe the current LLC is the same group as the past ALLC, that they changed it to just LLC to be more exclusive and less associated with any kind of "worldy" Luthern group.
    Yes, they were very proud of having "services" on occasion..and the biggest thrill was for someone to get to be "blessed" by someone as "gifted" as Peter Nordstrom or the Peter Nevela..or especially special if you got time with a Finnish visiting minister! My gosh..that was a real event!
    It was all very strange to me the fact that a lot of Leastadians "looked up" to those people, yet they ridicule the other faiths for doing the same thing. Another clear example of hypocricy.

  69. anon 07:07, I think you're right about which group it is. Although I don't know that I heard anyone talk about being blessed by anyone specific, it very well could be. If I remember correctly, the name was changed from the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church to the Association of American Laestadian Congregations after the split in 1973 or thereabouts. I believe it was because we wanted to distinguish ourselves from the other side of the church split--the ones we called heretics. I THINK the other church was just called the Apostolic Lutheran Church then.

    It was in the mid-1990's that the name was changed again to Laestadian Lutheran Church, and honestly, I don't remember why it was they said we were doing that...maybe to create a bigger distance between "us" and "them".

    mia from the llc

  70. That's funny that they changed it. I remember it being changed to "LLC" when I was younger, but couldn't remember why, or what it used to be.

  71. Two questions:

    How were the legal issues resolved after a division in a Laestadian community?

    Following such a division, were there any attempts at reconciliation between the two sides?

    I'd prefer factual firsthand accounts, but opinions and secondary/tertiary sources are fine too.

  72. Questions tend not to get answered on this site.

  73. That split happened before I was born, so I can't give you a first hand account. Their has been no attempt at reconciliation as far as I know because their is too much pride on both sides. I grew up in the FALC and I remember the LLC kids calling us heretics. A side note - it's sad that the parents were teaching their kids to hate and judge at such a young age.
    Both sides take pride in being the only faith and like to keep that their faith to themselves. In some ways, they're kind of like an elite club. They don't seek out new members, so outsiders have to seek them, and conform to their customs and ideas to be accepted. I don't know of anyone joining the LLC or the FALC unless they married someone from the church. Actually, the LLC does do a little bit mission work to recruit new members, which I have to give them credit for, because the FALC does none. I know they have recruited some members from Africa. What I hope is that they still appreciate and accept the customs that the Africans bring to the church. Dance and music are a very important part of the African culture, and I would hate to see the Laestadians to expect them to not practice those customs anymore, especially if it brings joy to their lives.

    Does this help to clarify a little? I am sure some of the older bloggers can add more to this.

  74. This site helps with reading about the history and the splits..

  75. Does the FALC (First Apostolic Lutheran Church) have a website?

  76. Not that I know of...and not sure why. I think they like to think they are different than the LLC. They are proud of the fact that they are not as organized as the LLC. I remember when I was growing up, my mom said that the LLCers run their church like a busines and we were the right faith and they weren't, so we couldn't copy them...lol... So I am also guessing thats why they don't do any mission work and don't even have a website to promote their church. Maybe it will change in the next generation because I know that basically all the young kids have a facebook account and are connected online.

  77. The LLC has affiliated congregations in Africa and Ecuador. Those congregations have local customs that are much different than in the U.S. In Ecuador they clap during church, in Africa some of the men have two wives. Rumor has it that one woman came to church topless in Africa.

    I grew up in the LLC, I always was told that the FALC was obsessed with traditions because that's all they have. This is why they all looked alike and were not very fashion conscious (this was in the big city).

    Go figure!!!! I guess mudslinging is something all branches have in common.