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

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Open Thread

Readers, I need to take a bit of a break from the blog. My husband is recovering from an ankle sprain, which sounds minor but boy, does it ever impact our lives, nearly immobilizing him just as my job is requiring 12 hour days. We're making sure the kids get fed, but everything else is sliding.

So I'm stepping out of the dining room, so to speak, but not for long. Save some dessert for me!


  1. LLLreader here: With Free gone for awhile we really need to get our act together and find a direction. I wonder if there are any folks new to reading this blog that would have some comments?

  2. Later this month, my husband and our two sons will take a week-long vacation in Copper Country. My father grew up partially in the U.P. Most of my great-grandparents and/or their parents spent a stint in Calumet to mine copper before they settled on various farmsteads around the Upper Midwest--so I consider this place home, in a way. It is beautiful, with its pristine sandy beaches, lonesome old ghost towns, and pristine forests. This is our second trip there and the first with our older son. The first time we went we had such a great time that we pledged to come back and spend more time there as soon as we could. I think I've told you all before my husband is Finnish and brought up in Sweden. He likes the history of the place too, and finds the bilingual street signs and Finnish flags in Calumet charming. He has become an affectionado of pasty, and says if its not originally Finnish cuisine, it should have been. We're looking forward to lazy days walking up and down the beaches and I am looking forward to exploring old ghost towns, even though they make me feel sort of sad.

    I thought you might all enjoy a link to this song 1913 Massacre by Woody Guthrie. Bob Dylan later performed it. You'll notice that many of the newspaper clippings are bilingual, in Finnish and English. There is also a clip of the Finnish church on Pine Street. This song became world-famous and my husband loves it. (His great-grandfather fought on the side of the REDS in the Winter War.)

    I love history--it does not have to be mine or Finnish. Perhaps we could zero in on Calumet for a while. Do you have any memories of Calumet, or any family history that occured there? There are Laestadian churches everywhere.

    Also, if anyone has any must-see recommendations for the Keeweenaw Penninsula, I'd love to hear about them.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  3. I just dropped in after a few week absence. You folks have certainly been a busy bunch! For those (I'm not naming names) that wish to paint Palestinians with a wide brush that is all inclusive, Google Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish and read a little of his life story. Do some research on the Israeli/Palestinian issue at a library. There is more to this issue and, in my opinin, it is probably not solvable.
    Further, even as we Google and Yahoo, we get censored information here in the U.S. Some things will not pop up under Google but if you go to Coogle/CA (Canada) they will pop up. Can't think of any at the moment but The more college educated readers of this site may help me out here. Or I could contact one of my professors for a few news stories that this occured with.
    Are you aware that Google and Yahoo both agreed to live by Chinese censorship rules in order to operate in China?

    Now on to Calumet. Here is a list of things you could check out:
    1. Calumet Theatre...take a tour if you can't catch a show.
    2. Laurium Manor...take the self guided tour-unfortunately they have turned the ballroom into a gift shop of sorts but one must make a buck
    3. Jacobsville/White City is a lovely place to sit and watch boat traffic. Take a picnic lunch and then walk the pier to burn off the pasty. Or stop at
    4. Dreamland for some fish on the way back.
    If you go through Munising on your way up there the A&W has the must declicious white fish sandwiches.
    5. If you've never eaten at The Hut just outside of Calumet you may enjoy that. Haven't been there since owners changed 2 years ago.
    6. Quincey Mine tour is worth the price for the Ooh Ahh affect at the massive machinery and the ride into the mine to see the working conditions.
    In my opinion, the best pasty comes from
    7. Toni's in Laurium.
    Now I'm going to turn you over to the "Yoopers", "Yooper wanna bees" and "Yooper wish I was theres" at http://www.pasty.com/cam/index.html
    Sign in to the what's up section and say you are looking for ideas. You will spend between now and your trip reading suggestions by all the kind folks who will be thrilled to help you out. Wouldn't be suprised if you got a few invites. Enjoy the archives and have a super dooper yooper vacation.

  4. Forgot the link to the 1913 Massacre:


    Do you think any Laestadians were there, or do you think because it was a Christmas party that had secular music and a tree the Laestadians avoided such an event?


  5. There were quite a few Finnish Apostolic children that were killed. Somewhere I have seen pictures of the row of caskets in the Calumet church. Seems to me they had one funeral for all of the congregation's children who were killed that day.

  6. Great advice from Ijumped! Waterfalls might be something else you'd enjoy (there are lots of them!), or a trip along the Houghton Canal road to the breakwaters, or an excursion on the Keweenaw Star http://www.keweenawexcursions.com/index.htm. And then there's always Brockway Mountain drive and Copper Harbor. Hunt's Guide to the UP has lots of info too: http://www.hunts-upguide.com/. They sell maps at tourist spots.

    Have fun!

  7. Would someone tell what the 1913 Massacre was?????

  8. I've never heard of the 1913 massacre either..

  9. ex falc says...

    I did not know about the 1913 massacre until now, but this is a website that explains what happened. What a sad story.


  10. My grandfather-in-law got there right after it happened. Strikers were able to get free mittens for their children at the Christmas party he and was going to pick some up. At least that is the family lore.

  11. Wow. I have heard the song but never knew the story behind it.

    I was at my parent's house today and picked up a book titled " A Godly Heritage." Has anyone heard of it? I am going to read it. The blurb says: "Historical view of the Laestadian revival and development of the Apostolic Lutheran church of America." I flipped thru it briefly, there are several chapters on LLL, Raattamaa, absolution (the way we were taught) power of the keys, and the ALC church today. One chapter gave a run down on the different branches- FALC, OALC, ALC,LLC, The pollarite groups and Grace Apostles Lutheran.

    Just curious. The Authors are Rodger Foltz, Juoko Talonen and Elmer Yliniemi. Illustrated by Nora Bergman....Is that you Norah?

  12. Is the "Godly Heritage" a book that people could still order?

    Re: Calumet and visiting the Copper Country.

    The waterfalls are going strong at this time of the year. Hungarian is in Hubbell. Watch the signs on M-26 on the way to Lake Linden. Hungarian is absolutely beautiful. The hike up the falls has a great trail.

    Don't forget to go to the Kaleva. That too has new owners.

  13. PS, no that's not me. I live in the UP of Michigan, the book is available through the Spruce Grove MN congregation. http://www.sprucegrovechurch.org/agh_book.html.

    I have that book here and have started it a couple of times but that's as far as I got. Rodger Foltz is the son-in-law of Uuras Saarnivaara, who did a lot of research and study into the LLL history many years ago (and also wrote a book about Laestadian branches back in the 40's), and who was instrumental in starting the Inter-Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hancock MI, from what I understand. I have met Pastor Foltz once, but I don't know any of the others. As I mentioned on another thread, I'm kind of a hermit :-)

    oh, and I think some posters here have read the book also, it's been mentioned before...

  14. "A Godly Heritage" was edited by Aila Foltz (wife of Rodger Foltz) and Miriam Yliniemi (wife of Elmer Yliniemi). Both men are pastors in the ALC. Rodger Foltz is retired but is involved in foreign mission work. Rodger Foltz, Elmer Ylieniemi, and Jouko Tolonen contributed to the book but it was the two women who were the editors.

    Aila Foltz is the daughter of Dr. Uuras Saarnivaara. As Nora explained, in the 1940's, Dr. Saarnivaara wrote a definitive history of Laestadianism. It might still be available in Finnish and English.

    I have not read "A Godly Heritage" word for word but what I have read seems to be well researched and thoughtfully presented.

    The Finnish street signs are in Hancock, not Calumet. And yes, they are fun to read.

  15. hmmm. Interesting stuff. I am from the AlC. I know who Elmer Ylinemi is but never heard of Roger Foltz.

    I know Jay Weidner from the seminary. Have heard him speak several times. So sad, his wife was killed in a car accident about a month ago. Shocking and tragic. They are not that old. 50-ish.

    I am going to keep reading. It is amazing how we all came from the same thing and branched out into slightly different versions. Did you all greet with God's Peace like we did? (they still do)

  16. I read Dr Saarnivaara's book many years ago, and got thoroughly confused - not that it was his fault, but the history of the splits is very confusing. And the reasons why there were splits? To me it just seemed like power, politics and personalities, as so often happens in any organization.

    Pastor Weidner's wife and son in that terrible accident, so sad. I think of them often - it could happen to any one of us, any time.

  17. vanhapiika, seems like you might be from that area..have you done any geneology research at the Finnish American Heritage Center? I am seriously thinking about getting over there soon. I joined Geneology.com and have dabbled now and then, but it might actually be easier just to go to the source.

  18. Sorry I meant to say Hancock, but my fingers typed Calumet. I wonder what kind of resources the heritage center has? I should go over there, but the kids would probably complain.


  19. Ok, so I'd heard of things like the 1913 massacre happening, but always thought they were made up. Crazy, and scary. What a horrible Christmas that must have been for alot of people.

    "A Godly Heritage" sounds interesting. To anyone who has read it - is it a good read? Is it easy to get into? Is it hard to read? I'm going to look into it, maybe I can find it somewhere online. I'm interested in reading about "our" past. All I've heard is the LLC elders take on it (they don't talk about it much), so I'd like to read the facts and form my own opinions!

    Ps- the LLC still greats with "God's Peace", but only to their own. It's like their secret password letting them know that they are the same...or something! haha, when I'm around they usually pass by without saying anything, pass by saying "hi", or the nicer ones will actually shake my hand too, but only say "hi, how are you?". How lame that they can only share the peace of God with themselves and not others. I've heard that there are branches that share the greeting with everyone, is this true?

  20. Does anyone have any ideas where a person could get Saarnivaara's book?

  21. LLLreader sez: You could have mine if I can find it. I might have loaned it to someone--will let you know in a day or two.

  22. YM-

    I am just starting the book. I will let you know how it is. I think someone posted a website pn this thread where it can be ordered.

    The ALC pretty much just greets their own. I have been passed up to. I mostly just say Hi or something when someone greets me. Not to offend, I just don't buy into the secret hand shake deal. I have heard churchies commenting when someone doesn't say God's peace- Like they are LOST or something.

    (I guess I am a churchie to, just not theirs)

  23. I found it interesting that President Obama ended his speech in Egypt with "God's Peace upon you." (I think the word was "upon".) So LLLers don't have the corner on THAT! SISU

  24. I've never had a problem with greeting someone from the OALC (or the IALC for that matter since I have friends there) with "God's Peace". I think it is a beautiful sentiment, and I think that scornfully referring to it as a "secret handshake" is just wrong on many fronts. Use your head for something other than wearing a hat, for Pete's sake.

    Sometimes it seems to sort of throw OALCer's for a loop when someone they know has left the church greets them that way -- because I will often initiate it -- but invariably they return the greeting.

  25. LLLreader sez: I can't find the book cvow, but I do know there is an address in the book for ordering. Maybe someone here can post it. I always say "God's Peace" too, and it's always answered. Thinking about the actual words--I do wish the peace of God to everyone.
    I was wondering about the backgrounds of all the folks who post here. I was born into the church. Even had a couple of preachers in my Dad's family. Mom's family was not from the church, she joined when she married Dad and spent her life there. All of Dad's sibs were members and they all married into families in the church. Many from my generation have left. The cousins still in the church are on good terms with those that left, as far as I can tell. They are sure friendly to me anyway.

  26. That should have read NOT a christian/saved.

  27. CVOW

    I do not scorn it, I simply do not use it as they do. That's all. Anymore then I partake of their asking forgiveness practice.

    Most everyone is very loving from the ALC. They just consider you a christian/saved if you attend another church. If it wasn't a "secret handshake" (I did not mean it COMPLETLEY literally) then they would offer God's Peace to all everywhere, not just the ALC.

    I don't believe you are following the rules- "Use your head for something other than wearing a hat, for Pete's sake."

    is fine to disect and attack the issues but not the person. How many times have I been accused of that FOR PETES SAKE!

    Even if you have an agenda against people with different opinions, you should be kind and peaceful enough not to show it.

  28. Some time ago I read both "Death’s Door: The Truth Behind Michigan’s Largest Mass Murder" (soft cover) by Steve Lehto, 2006, and "Italian Hall: The Official Transcript of the Coroner’s Inquest" (spiral-bound) introduction by Steve Lehto, 2007.

    I have not studied the 1913 Italian Hall disaster at length, but feel that the above publications are well worth reading. Lehto is an attorney and author who dug deep into available records to examine some of the compelling questions regarding the disaster. Did someone yell "fire"? If so, who was it? Was it done in order to create panic or was it a prank? Was it an effort to spoil the striking workers' Christmas party? Were the exit doors shut? Did the exit doors close inward or outward?

    It is nearly impossible for any historical examination to be completely without bias. However, I think Lehto does as good a job as any in taking a hard look at this incident, based on available evidence from court records, "eye witness" accounts, official coroner transcripts, newspaper coverage, and correspondence between individuals close to the events.

    Both books are available at North Wind Books in Hancock, Michigan and from numerous online sources.

    The books would make good background reading in preparation for a trip to the UP and to Calumet in particular.

  29. LLLreader sez: Oh Vanhapiika, I sure welcome you! Haven't heard that term in a long time!

  30. Has anyone read "The Laestadian Movement: Disputes and Divisions 1861-2000" by Warren Hepokoski? Do you know anything about the author? I'm wondering if his work is reliable. The whole book is available for downloading on the internet, free of charge.

  31. Warren was brought up amongst the Pollarites (Independent) Apostolic Lutheran Church in California, where there was only a tiny congregation. While he was a young man, there was a split in the Pollarite branch. The split was divided amongst people who followed the larger group "led" by Matt Reed (Riitimattilaiset) and those who followed the smaller group "led" by Aunes Salmela (Auneslaiset, who died shortly thereafter.

    Warren's family more or less went with the smaller group and married a woman from that group. However, from what I understand, his family might not have stayed with the smaller group group, although I think their children were confirmed in the smaller group. I am not all entirely sure.

    Warren is some kind of professor of Russian language or something like that and is also fluent in Finnish.

    As far as I am concerned, of the things that Warren writes about that I know about--it seems accurate. However, I know both sides of the Pollarites disagree with his interpretation. Not surprising considering the whole history of the splits and divisions.

    This brings up a whole other topic that I see on this thread. P.S. said that people in the ALC don't give the "secret" handshake and consider you a saved believer if you don't attend the ALC. I am not from the ALC, but met some people from the ALC recently as I am interested in attending their services in the future, and they told me that that's not true.
    When they said goodbye to me they greeted me with God's Peace. That would have never happened in the group I group up in.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  32. I read Hepokoski's book a long time ago, and my impression was positive. Probably one of the most reliable books on the splits.


    Some OALC people in Finland make a point of greeting everyone with God's peace. It sometimes almost seems like they get kicks from the shock factor of saying God's peace to someone who is not used to it. :) I don't think any Finnish oalcer would refuse to answer with God's peace if someone says God's peace to them no matter who the person is.

  33. RWB here...

    For those of you that don't know: I am a member of the OALC and am a firm believer that what is taught there is the living, whole, and pure word of God. Not denying what anyone else believes, just wanted to clarify what I believe before making any statements.

    Now I believe the teaching in the OALC is that we would want to greet anyone and everyone with Grace and Peace of God. Obviously if someone does not know what that greeting means you would not use it. I'm not going to walk up to someone on the street at random and greet them. If I meet someone from the FAL/AL/Laestadian churches I would have to know them pretty well to greet them because it seems like its just a really uncomfortable situation otherwise. I recently read in a FALC publication called the Greetings of Peace that it was not appropriate to greet an unbeliever and the overall tone was that an unbeliever was someone who was not a member of the FALC. I don't know who is an unbeliever or believer based on what church they go to and nobody else does either. Where the issue for me comes is when the a group is "mixed". I have adopted the practice of either greeting all or none. This has worked well for me. It has nothing to do with "right" or "wrong", it just seems to fit the situation. The worst thing I could do is to greet some and not others. I again point to the teaching in the OALC: Greetings to all. Most of the criticism on this is based on what people do or don't do...not on what the teaching is. As we all know people are all different and all faulty so don't point to what the people of the OALC do or don't do...point to the teaching and make your critique based on that if you know what it is.

    As far as the Hepokoski writings go: I read them awhile back and they seemed to be fairly accurate, but who would know for sure unless they lived in those times? What is important for me is that our Elders in Sweden supported the OALC (or the church under it's other names) then and now. The Elders teachings have continued the work that Laestadius started in what we believe is this fourth and final period of visitation...probably another topic. In perhaps an oversimplification of things: The original church in this final period was established/formed in Swedish Lapland as a result of the awakenings that occured as a result of the revival and reappearance of the living, whole, and pure Word of God. It split into two groups...those two today would be the OALC and FALC, more or less. Others have since split from the FALC and some of those groups have split. As far as I know none have split from the OALC since then...at least not the American church. Some doctrinal changes occured in the other churches along with many outward practices and customs. The OALC has taught that same doctrine and the outward practices and customs have remained much the same. None of the others that have split away have retained or remained in unity with the Elders in Sweden, our Mother Church in Gallivare, or most importantly the teachings of the Prophet Lars Levi Laestadius.

    To anyone that reads or post here: Please don't believe or accept anything that you read here as being the truth...not what others post...not what I post. Verify what you read here by your own experience, observations, and readings. Seek the truth and it will find you.


  34. The OALC elders of the Swedish Lapland split into two groups in the middle of the 1960s: August Isaksson, Levi Älvgren and Sten Johansson on one side and Gunnar Jönsson, William Eriksson, Hugo Gustavsson, Evald Larsson and others on the other side. The vast majority of the OALC chose to follow the latter group. However, there were a few hundred in Finland, and some dozens in the US, Norway and Sweden, each, who chose to follow the first mentioned group of elders. This group later split into two, and its membership has decreased over the years. In Norway I think they ended up getting reconciled with the mainstream group, but there are still a couple of hundred left in Finland (in two or three separate groups), and small remnants in the US and Sweden.

    It's a common opinion among the supporters of the liberal "party" in the Finnish OALC now that the elders of the Swedish Lapland, since 1980s, have moved more towards the opinions held by August Isaksson, Levi Älvgren and Sten Johansson, abandoning the reform tendencies of Gunnar Jönsson & Co. Their theory is that although most of the OALCers chose to follow Gunnar Jönsson in the 1960s split, many of them still secretly resented Gunnar Jönsson's reform tendencies and clung to the ideas held by his opponents (August Isaksson, Levi Älvgren and Sten Johansson). According to them, the death of Gunnar Jönsson in early 1980s opened the way for his secret opponents to take the power in the OALC.

    (Actually August Isaksson died before the split was complete, but he played an important role in the events that led to the split and he was clearly on the side of the opponents of Gunnar Jönsson)

  35. RWB, As always, it is good to hear from you again -- and as always, I agree with much of what you say. Of course, you know the parts I don't agree with! :-)

    One split occurred in the OALC not that many years ago when there was a small group that left. I don't know if they established a "title", but theyconsisted of some fo the Niskas and their friends.