"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Laestadian adventures on Youtube

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Laestadian adventures on Youtube

Thanks to an Anonymous commenter, my attention was drawn to these Laestadian related clips on YouTube. Unfortunately, I don't know Swedish or Finnish so I don't know exactly what these clips are saying. Can any of you Scandinavian language speakers out there provide a brief paraphrase or summary translation of what is being talked about in these clips?

The first one had a description, which I ran through Google Translate to get this mangled rendering of the Swedish: The movie is a description of Laestadius' birth and .... Laestadianism is the largest revivalist movement and active in the Lutheran churches. The film tries, in contrast to most other youtube snippet makers, to describe Laestadianism in a positive spirit.

I couldn't help but feel a certain sense of irony watching this clip, with the beautiful organ and accompanied choral arrangement --wouldn't these be musical forms that many of Laestadius' followers (especially in the United States) would condemn as sinful? Yet here they provide the musical backdrop to the pictures and Swedish captions. I'd love to know if the singers are Laestadians...they certainly sing a lot faster and more in tune than most of the Laestadians I ever heard in church. :)

The next clip is in Finnish. Google translated description: A detailed description of Laestadianism origins and current status. The film goes through Laestadian early stages, distribution, and trends report. The film seeks to describe the positive wake-up movement, unlike many other products in this Youtube Code.

It looks to be virtually identical to the first clip, but in Finnish and a little more recent footage. I'm curious about what look to be large gatherings of Laestadians. Are these the Finnish equivalents of the Fall Services, Conventions, and Youth Rallies that existed in my ALC (Federation) youth?

Last clip, apparently in Swedish: Film and photos from laestadianernas meeting in Bosund 5-7.6.2009 with a pension song as background music.

What's a "pension song," or did Google Translate mess that up? :-) The people singing in this shorter clip sound more like the Laestadians I grew up with. Our services were often translated from Finnish to English, and we sang a lot of music out of the Finnish hymnal. So this singing, in a language I don't understand, has the same slow, soulful mournfulness of that music. The clips of large families, children playing in the parking lot, and the cadence of the preaching (used here as a voice over the music) all transported me back to similiar services during my childhood.

Anyway, I enjoyed watching these. Thanks, Anonymous!


  1. Sorry I can't help you with the translation, I don't know finn.

    The songs with singing sound pretty close to the LLC's music..some of the piano stuff does too. The LLC's here don't sing quite that fast tho. hehe:)That could be the SRK?

    1. the song they're singing is "When Jesus Is Mine By Faith Only" :)

  2. It seems to me that a version of the first video was posted here not too long ago, and was translated by either Cvow or Hibernatus, who thought the text was probably written by someone with an ALC background.. the video includes film of SRK services, they are the largest group in Finland.

    The song in the last video is called "When Jesus is Mine by Faith Only", and I believe that the melody is a Swedish folk song. Maybe that's what's meant by pension song? I think it is absolutely beautiful, but I don't care for the preaching in the background that appears for a few minutes.

    For a different stylistic version of this song, check out this short clip from pianist Clay Hilman's CD:


  3. Testing, testing . . . tried to post yesterday (after a months-long lapse) but the post never showed up. Trying again, just to see if it works . . . Many Trails Home

  4. Thanks, cvow. Guess I needed a break. So, my motivation for jumping back into the fray was this: I recently attended church (OALC) and, try as I might, I could not maintain my concentration through the whole boring, redundant sermon. But I did come away with this to ponder: Why was Laestadius so insistent that "The World" wants to "lap the 'Christians' blood"? How disgusting. What has been the effect of this imagery on me? And what is the effect of this pernicious belief on the OALC?

    To the extent that "Christians" believe this arrogant rubbish, they can assume everyone not OALC "hates" them (as if the world cares, as if they would bother wasting the energy). And because people of "the world" hate them, the OALCers (I believe)can disregard Jesus' admonition to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and set the captives free - because these people hate them anyway and so they don't count. Love your neighbor? Fine, as long as he is OALC (can't even be FALC).

    I can't help but wondering what effect it would have on the OALC if they suddenly woke up and realized this is not true.
    Whew. Sometimes I can hardly believe where I came from.
    Many blessings to you all. Many Trails Home

  5. Yes isnt it amazing to realize how far we've come?

    I also wonder what would happen if the OLAC members I know "woke up" and realized a few things. I try to tell them, but they dont want to hear, wont accept etc. I wonder if they would accept a "worldly" version of thier history, of thier esteemed founder, prophet, torch carrier, whatever. I cant even remember, what do they call him? Or if they would just write it off as "worldly" and stay away from that too?

    Thats been the case with the ones I know anyhow. Im so thankful Im not there anymore, dont even live close by anymore so I dont have to even deal with it. I can enjoy the life I have, enjoy learning about God and Christ without people looking over my shoulder saying "your doing it wrong" It sure makes me thankful there is a God who sent Christ to set us free from all that!

  6. LLLreader to Trails: So good to hear your "voice" again.

  7. The last film clip does not have a pesnion song (retierment song :o) I´ts a "Sion" song, Sion is an old singing book. The pictures in that movie must come from what we here in Sweden would refere to as "mor openminded" laestadians. Because where I live, people in the (more strict, "west") laestadian church don´t have music instruments and the women cover their hair at service. in the more "open" church they don´t cover hair.

  8. The first movie is a story telling aboyt the movement. It says that after laestadius died the movement divided int many branches. Now adays there are 3 major congregations. East, west and old laestadian. I thin that the song sounds more lie a song from east och old laestadian. Not west at all. Thanks for this site, I like to read what you all write.

  9. LLLreader to Miss Sweden: Greetings-the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church, OALC, here is the one without pianos or organs and where the women wear huivvis. I hope you write again.

  10. Hi Miss Sweden, I'm glad you wrote too! Is the west the SRK or the OALC? And would the East be the Rauhan Sana or 'ALC Federation' group?

    I was thinking about the translated sermon in the last video, and how fast the translating was.. We (ALC) have had some ministers from Finland/Sweden who speak very fast like that, and the congregation is amazed that the translator can keep up with them. (Finnish to English). It must be like a marathon to them! The problem I have with it is that it's kind of mesmerizing to watch and listen to, but I don't know if the listeners get that much out of what is said, it's more the emotion of the pace and tone of voices... I don't like the feeling that emotion seems to take over. That's just my opinion.

  11. Hi again!
    I would say that the west is the Oalc if I have got it right.

  12. A new video has just been posted of the Laestadian summer services going on June 26-29. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHZMtacol5k

    This must be SRK (LLC equivalent), because they are the largest group. I love listening to the hymns.

  13. There is a 'Finnish Comedy Group' from Hancock MI which has videos on YouTube also. I haven't watched them all the way through, and actually never heard of them until a week ago. http://www.youtube.com/user/FinnishComedy

  14. In Sweden they usually talk about Western Laestadians when they mean the OALC and about Eastern Laestadians when they mean the ALC because in Sweden the strongest OALC area is in the Western part of the Swedish Lapland (e.g. Gellivare, Kiruna), while the strongest ALC area is in the Eastern part of the Swedish Lapland (e.g. Karesuando, Pajala).

    The LLC branch has traditionally not been strong in Sweden at all, but it has been growing during the last few decades due to immigration from Finland. I don't actually know what they are usually called in Sweden, but I think Miss Sweden's "old Laestadians" is probably referring to them.

    I didn't watch the videos now, but I did watch them some time ago when they were posted here for the first time, and if I remember right, the meeting scenes were from the ALC and the LLC, nothing from the OALC except for some information in text + a couple of prayer house photos.

  15. Hi! yes that would be what I meant. The LLC is not at all so known here in Sweden. They are called "old laestadians" but are (as I read)supposedly the most open mided of the three groups.

  16. "nothing from the OALC except for some information in text + a couple of prayer house photos."

    That’s true. I live in middle of Finland, which means I have a long way to any OALC congregation (both north and south).

    That’s why I have so little material from OALC in my video. A week ago I was tempted to drive down to Lahti for the big OALC summer meeting held there, but didn’t.

    Here is a movie from the LLC meeting in Turku (Oripää) this weekend with about 70000 participants, which makes the meeting the largest in Finland. (bigger than any concert or similar happening)


  17. Miss Sweden said...

    "They are called "old laestadians" but are (as I read)supposedly the most open mided of the three groups."

    Old laestadians are the most modern group, but not the most openminded. I would say OALC branch here in Finland is more openminded, but very oldish.

  18. Anon 4:05, you must be "Laestadianinfo" on YouTube?

  19. Yes. I Am Laestadianinfo. Forget to mention that. I just found out you can put your name with anonymous comments.

    I Am actually now planning to make a film about laestadianism i USA.

    I found a lot of good photos from different churches.

    If I have enough time today I will start making the film.

    You can see my last film on the provided URL.

  20. I meant to write I forgot to mention that I Am Laestadianifo (not forget).

    There are actually an preacher from USA preaching on this weekends services in Oripää:


    His name is Peter Lever from Longview in USA.

    In ALC services in Esse 10-12.7 there is another US preacher: Arvi Aho.

    The bonds to laestadianism in US is in other words still strong.

  21. What does "Esse 10-12.7" mean? Is that on one of the videos? By the way, I'm one of your subscribers :-).

  22. "What does "Esse 10-12.7" mean?"

    It's the largest summer services for the small firstborns (Apostolic Lutheran Church of America) which will be in Esse (Ähtävä) this year. I will post a video from the services. One of the preachers is from USA in that meeting.

    The preacher in this video (standig at the pulpet) is the one from USA (Peter Lever):


    You can listen to his speach at the following link:

    I have also started to make a video about laestadianism in USA. Right now I Am searching for some good background music. I know a good CD with laestadians singing in english, but it will take some days before I have it in my hands.

  23. The link to Peter speech got broken in the previous message, but you can click on the link at this message.

  24. Where I live there are two large laestadian groups OALC (firstborns?) and ALC (small firstborns?). I meet them everyday in my erveryday life. I have been redaing about this movement on the internet. Everywhere in our society (wghere I live I mean)theese groups are discussed, and not seldom, in negative ways. I have asked my friends who are OALC about their belifes, but I dont wish to intrude so i´ts not always easy.

  25. LLLreader to Miss Sweden: How good to have you with us. We have talked in the past about what differences there might be between the churches in Finland and here. What are the negative ways the church is discussed? I know there is a preacher from Hockinson named Hilman living there too.

  26. Are you perhaps talking about D. Hilman?

    This preacher is not living in Sweeden, he is living in Ostrobotnia, Finland. A sweedish speaking area of Finland.

    He belongs to the small firstborns (ALC).

    Very nice man. I know him personally.

  27. Laestadianinfo, we might have met if you had driven to the OALC meetings in Lahti. :) I know a lot of people there, so I occasionally go there, although it's not my spiritual home. As for getting video material from OALC services, I think it may prove much more difficult than getting it from other Laestadian branches. Many OALC people are very opposed to filming, even taking pictures inside the prayer house building is frowned upon. You can of course try, but be prepared for possible negative comments from people who may notice what you are doing.

    By the way, it would be interesting to see what their reactions would be if a bunch of ALC Laestadians from the Swedish speaking Ostrobothnia came to their meetings. Those two groups are so similar in many ways.

  28. Hibernatus, I know there may be problems to get video material from OALC meetings. I have written to several members of that branch but no-one had any pictures for me.

    This is a little surprising, because I don't know OALC teach pictures are a sin. A smaller branch of OALC (Leeviläiset) teaches all pictures except personal photos are a sin. (This is going a step further to keeping television as a sin :-))

    Now I have a lot of pictures of their prayer houses, but I got them from another source.

    Otherwise I think the OALC branch here in Finland is very healthy. As I wrote in a previous message they are not as close-minded as the LLC branch. I know our branch (ALC) cooperates very well with them in our mission work at Russia.

    I don't either se any reason why not small firstboorns could go to OALC meetings. The teachings are almost exactly the same. One reason why the two groups have relatively little to do with each other is because thy are geographically very separated. OALC:s are mostly in north Sweden, Norway and southern Finland. The largest concentration of ALC is in middle of Finland.

  29. I know many Russians go to both OALC (firstborn) and ALC (small firstborn) meetings, and don't see any difference. So, I guess other nationalities could do that as well. ;)

    When the "leeviläiset" group broke off from the mainstream OALC in the 1960s, many people with the same mindset remained in the mainstream OALC. They really believed in the same way as the "leeviläiset", but for some reason just didn't have the courage to go with them. Initially, the majority of the Finnish OALC preachers supported the leaders of the "leeviläiset" group but only a handful ended up following them when the split was complete (to the great dismay of the leaders of the "leeviläiset" who thought they were backed up by a much bigger group than eventually ended up going with them). I think this is still visible in the OALC in Finland. But on the other hand, in Finland, you also see the more liberal party, which continued the reform tendencies of the opponents of the "leeviläiset" further than anywhere else in the OALC world. In the 1980s, the reform group was still very strong, but since the 1990s the reform minded group has felt they are in opposition, and the descendants of the "leeviläiset" supporters have gained more power, the majority of the Finnish OALCers being somewhere in between.

    There are still people in the mainstream OALC in Finland who consider it a sin to take photos, but the vast majority don't have problems with it, although they may feel it's inappropriate to take pictures inside the prayer house.

  30. mia from the llc6/28/2009 04:12:00 PM

    I was amazed at how quickly I was ready to doze off. Seriously. Not even being sarcastic a little. It was just...click play.........doze.

    Hmm. Maybe there is an answer to my insomnia. LOL

  31. Interesting! I am from the ALC (no longer, just Christian) and I have never heard us referred to as small first borns. The last I heard Dennis was in Africa. When I was a kid we used to have bible study with him. He still lived in the states at the time.

    I hate to get off topic but I want to share about a series we are doing at church right now. It is called "Who's to judge?" It has really challenged me to consider my own actions. Tomte, just because methinks I am right, doesn't mean I should shove it down peoples throats and beat them up with it. Which, I guess is how I come across, though not my intention. So I return the apology ten fold.

    Last week we had Ted Haggerd and his wife speak. There were stones on all our seats when we came in. Humbling. The have been shunned and persecuted because of his fall. Even though he is repentant and real about it. Our church paid their way and then their kids way and sent them to the beach for a vacation they have not had in years. They were able to begin to heal within their family. It is amazing to see how shocked they were to have a church invite them and love them when they have had a non-stop stream of stones thrown at them. They were even forced to move out of their state. I realized how much Christians kick those that are down, wrong or hurting. Christ is the opposite.

    This is getting long but you can see the video at livinghopechurch.com (vanc.wa.-sometimes other LHC come up) This weeks video won't be up till wedn. or so-(follow up to haggerd family) but last weeks and prior are up.

  32. The second video is definately not LLC as the melody is slightly different from how we sing it. Also, we call it "When Jesus, through faith, is my Saviour". We don't have sermons like that either though it sounds like some of ours from 40 years ago. We don't any longer buy the argument that the preacher cannot wait for the translator if he is too moved by the spirit.

  33. I think there is some confusion as to which particular group these people in the videos belong to. Somebody asked what Esse 10-12.7 meant and Laestadianinfo said that it is the largest services of the small firstborn, which according to Laesadianinfo is the equivalent of the ALC in America. That is not so. In the video it is the SRK in Finland, which may be considered the small firstborn, but they are not connected to the ALC. The SRK is the equivalent of the LLC in the USA. Peter Lever (the one standing at the pulpit in the video) and Arvi Aho are both members of the LLC in America. If Peter was preaching at those services, then the services were SRK (LLC) services.

  34. Unless he's changed affiliations in recent years, I know for a fact that Arvi Aho is ALC, not LLC.

  35. The services in Esse is 10-12 July. I will post a film from these services om my chanel then. These services are definitly ALC (small firstborns). Arvi Aho will preach on these services and it will collect around 6000 - 10000 participants.

    The video I refered to when i mentioned Peter Lever was from the SRK services in Turku (Åbo).

    The branches in Finland are more and less going together nowdays.

    For example will a LLC priest preach at Rauhan Sana summer services in Ylivieska this year. This is the first time in history such has happened.

  36. Thanks, P.S., I appreciate that. :-)

    I find it encouraging that despite how different we are, and how different our respective churches are, we both can be part of a community on Sunday that will support us and challenge us to improve.

  37. It's amazing how much the people in church (LLC) look like the Finns in these videos. We are all pure Finn after 100+ years! Just a few exceptions, like Lever - not a Finn name. I think his father or grandfather wasn't Finn.

    Glad to see this blog continue. Its been keeping me from going loony.

  38. ex-falc says...

    It is very interesting to hear about all the different groups and how they interact differently in Europe than in the United States. Could you imagine an OALC pastor speaking at FALC services or LLC services? The groups over hear barely acknowledge each other's existance.

    My grandfather, who lived through many of these divisions once said...

    All of these splits have caused so much damage to christianity.

    I have to agree. So much fighting over the wrong thing. Imagine today if those splits had never happened and all of those groups could worship together as one.

    Yes, it is true we do move on over time, forgive, and let go some of the hurt these churches have caused. I have followed this blog since close to it's inception. Because I've got religious radicals to deal with on both sides of my family, each with entirely different sets of circumstances, its nice to be able to come onto the blog and be able to talk to people that have a fair and balanced perspective on issues.

    You know, it's nice to be able to respectfully disagree with someone, and to get that same respect back.

  39. Okay, I guess that I was the one confused when I read the post. Sorry. Which group is the holds the Rauhan Sana? Do you have any idea what the name of the preacher from the LLC is? I doubt that the different groups would ever trade preachers in the US. I am pretty sure that every one of the different groups think that the other has dead faith. Why then would they want to listen to a preacher with dead faith? I wonder how the preacher from the LLC feels about preaching to this group that is not SRK, and if he is okay with it, if said preacher would be okay with doing the same thing in the US.
    Things that make you go hmmm...

  40. Mia, you made me laugh out loud!!! I still havent watched the videos because Im rolling my eyes just listening to everyone else's reactions and I have no desire to disect the many differences in the many different branches, nor to be emotionally transported back, sorry....

    LLLurker and PS: glad you're still around.

    ex-falc: I have wondered the same many times too. Your grandfather made a wise observation, I think. I have also wondered: when European's come to the USA for "meetings" and to visit, why do they never speak out about the differences in the preaching, practices and beliefs? All I remember is the elders telling us to all be the same, that we were all the same, had to be all the same etc. Maybe they're not really here long enough to notice all that stuff...

    but how do you convince a zebra, in a herd of zebras, that he really is a zebra just like all the other zebras? So some are white with black stripes, and some are black with white stripes and everyone's stripes are striped just a little different... they're still all zebra!!!! And they're still not the only zebra!

  41. I think it's not so amazing that Rauhan Sana (the Finnish language equivalent of the ALC in Finland) would accept a preacher from another branch to preach at their meetings. That branch is probably the most openminded one. They don't really care about the divisions. But if the LLC or the OALC would invite someone from another group to preach, that would be something! Actually I faintly remember a priest from the ALC fraction preaching at a communion service in the OALC in Finland once, if my memory doesn't fail me, but that doesn't really count because sometimes they have to accept even non-Laestadian Lutheran priests to give the sermon if none of their own OALC preachers doesn't get the permission to preach, so choosing an ALC priest instead could be seen as choosing the "lesser evil". ;)

  42. ex falc, I agree with what you said about respect.. to be able to respectfully disagree, and to get that same respect back. The lack of respect might be what caused so many of the original problems and splits. It's refreshing, and rare, to come to a site that tolerates different points of view. I think respect is a sign of maturity, in that a person is comfortable with where they are at in life, and can allow others to be different from themselves. Not always easy, but a goal to strive for. This might be the first time that all the various LLL branches (both present and former members) are having a conversation, without confrontation! If it's happened before I'd like to know where! lol

  43. Laestadianinfo, let us know when your long-form English language video is online, and I'll give it its own post. :)

  44. "Laestadianinfo, let us know when your long-form English language video is online, and I'll give it its own post."

    I will notify you! :)

    It will be a full 10 minute video, and I will make it carefully and be objective in every aspect.

    I have a lot of material and found some good songs too. Hopefully on weekend I will have it released.