"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: A Tale of Two Conventions

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Tale of Two Conventions

Two denominations dear to my heart had their conventions last week. The ALC annual convention, covered brilliantly and personally by our own Norah, and the once-every-three-years Episcopal Church General Convention in Anaheim, California which is winding down this week.

While these two denominations could not be more different, reading the online coverage of both I was struck by a few weird similarities. They both have conventions, both have delegates, both have controversies, both have been bad at evangelism, both have a shall-we-say "reserved" style of worship, both are increasingly using information technology to spread their message, and both are small, distinctive denominations within a much larger Christian universe.

Scratch the surface, however, and similarities give way to radical differences. While the ALC denies the vote to some congregations over King-James-Onlyism, the Episcopal Church debates gay bishops and same-sex marriages. One denomination has only 7,000 members (according to Laestadianinfo's video) while the other has over 2 million. The ALC proceedings are closed to outsiders in the sense that there is little information online about resolutions voted upon, while the Episcopal process is very public.

What really prompted this post, however, is a sermon Brian McLaren gave at the Episcopal convention on the subject of evangelism (full text PDF here). For those of you not familiar with McLaren, he was listed by Time Magazine as one of America's top 25 most influential evangelicals, and is part of the emergent church conversation, which among other things is seen by some as a way to move past the conservative/liberal Christianity divide.

This ministry of reconciliation gives us a vibrant new identity, according to Paul. We are not merely religious insiders huddled in our stained glass ghettos, nor are we religious outsiders living without reference to the living God, but instead we are God's peace ambassadors, insiders who intentionally move outside to invite – actually, plead is Paul's word – to plead with others to be reconciled to God.

Heh. He said "God's peace." ;-) Minus the stained glass, I thought these words could apply to the ALC and other Laestadian traditions just was well as it applies to the Episcopal Church. I also thought his message of reconciliation was also applicable to the fragmentation that has occurred both in Laestadianism and among all of us who count ourselves as ex-Laestadians.


  1. Tomte:

    I have always wondered why this site is named after LLL when people call themselves "LUTHERAN'S." That is to say the churches are LUTHERAN. Oalc,falc, AP, etc....

  2. PS, when my sister used the term Laestadians in front of my mother, Mom was offended, saying, "We don't call ourselves that. It would be holding a man higher than God," (that's close to what she said). Sis didn't ask her, but I have wondered, "What do think Luther was?!" SISU

  3. LLLreader sez: I was surprised to learn that the other Apostolic churches don't have the emphasis on Laestadius like the OALC. On Sundays they read from the postila, and he is considered a prophet I believe. Anyway he is very important in the OALC. Since he was the one that got the Apostolic Church going, I wonder why the other branches don't consider him more important? He and Raatamma started the forgiveness of sins idea and the basic beliefs of the church. Can someone give some answers here?

  4. P.S., I can't speak for Free on why she named the site the way she did, but I use the term "Laestadians" as a catch-all for all the different groups descended from Lars Levi Laestadius, even though the groups themselves don't always use that term. For me it's just a convenient way to refer to all of the groups as a whole. For some it may be a loaded term, but I do not intend anything other than description when I use the term.

    Growing up ALC (federation) I did not hear about Laestadius often, although I did have some idea that it was his teachings that made us different from the other Lutherans. Most significantly abstaining from alcohol, since even the other very conservative Lutheran churches in our neighborhood (Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod) had no problems with that. I remember them being quite disparagingly described as "those folks who think they can go out and get drunk Saturday night and then pretend to be Christians on Sunday morning." Whatever!

    There were a couple of older folks I knew who insisted that they wanted to hear nothing about Luther or Laestadius, because they were "just Christians." Maybe this was part of the idea among some ALCers (and I hear this is more common in some of the other groups like OALC) that we were the only true Christians, and other groups were damned at worst and skating on thin ice at best.

    What is in a name? Plenty. :-) I'd be interested in knowing how the name "Apostolic" got put into the title of some of the Laestadian churches. I know it means "of the apostles." The Nicene Creed states "we believe in one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" so perhaps it was a move by the namers to put themselves into the Christian mainstream, or hijack the creed to give credence to their own group. Still, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the conversation where the men in the back room decided on that. :-)

  5. Tomte-

    I didn't mean to imply there was anything wrong with the name of this blog, just my own ponderings...

    I am from the school of "just call me Christian" I would like to see denominational walls broken down...we are all the body of Christ and all names do is seperate.

  6. That is to say I didn't hear much about LLL growing up...Just knew we were Apostolice Lutherans.

  7. The name could be because of the idea of (I think it is called) apostolic succession? I am not exactly sure, but I think what "apostolic succession" means that although the forgiveness of sins, or the "right" church has changed over time, from Catholics to Lutherans to Laestadians.

  8. What do Christians in US generally think about the evolution theory?

    I would say 99% percent of laestadians in Scandinavia accepts the theory as the scientific explanation. I have never heard any laestadian complain about the evolution theory, but have heard a lot of other Christians with American heritage complain.

    When I surf the web can I see a lot of crazy US people claiming humans are under 10000 year old and that the creation account has to be taken literally. How common are those beliefs in US?

  9. The ALC catechism includes Ussher's history of the earth, which places creation at 4000 BC. Groups like 'Answers in Genesis' and 'Institute for Creation Research' became popular in the 80's, with lively debates continuing on the subject with those who support evolution. Interesting that this view isn't shared in Scandinavia, and what factors make the difference....

    I don't personally believe in evolution, it doesn't make sense to me. It's a theory. But that's just me :-)

  10. There is evolution and then there is Evolution. I don't see how anyone can argue against the first, but there are still gaps in the chain-of-events expaining the second one.

    In the US there has been a battle trying to get the Creation Story taught in schools along side the Evolution Theory, as a equal-value


  11. I'm stunned to hear that Laestadians in Scandinavia accept Darwin's theory. I thought that Biblical literalism precluded that.

    Laestadianinfo, I'd be fascinated to hear more about how Laestadians in Scandinavia read Genesis 1 and 2.

    I accept evolution, but then I'm not a literalist either. How can one be a literalist and not believe in some form of Creationism?

  12. Since Norah mentioned Ussher's chronology and the ALC catechism, I thought I'd post this Catechism of Creation put out by the Episcopal Church. It's not the Episcopal catechism (which doesn't go into any detail about this issue), but rather a study document in catechism format. Anyway, some food for thought, and an example of one way to grapple with the issues involved.

  13. "In the US there has been a battle trying to get the Creation Story taught in schools along side the Evolution Theory, as a equal-value

    In Finland and all other European countries evolution theory is taught along side with the Biblical creation account, but evolution is taught as science, and creation as religion.

    Laestadians generally think this is OK. I don't see how it could affect reading from the creation account. The preachers just don't ever speak about how the text could relate to biology. I think laestadians regards science a very high value, and generally don’t argue about things science teaches.

    I think most people sees the Old Testament as symbolic, and don't think Adam and Eve was physical persons.

    In Europe there is not any debate about the evolution theory. Here are very few creationists.

    I only know about two creationists in Finland, and as far I know, one of them has now started to believe in evolution with God involved.

    The following video is from the creationist museum in Ohio.


    In Europe a museum like this would be nothing than an amusement park. One has to be really ignorant to think dinosaurs and humans lived alongside.

  14. I need to make a correction.. Ussher is Bible history, not history of the earth, but you all probably knew what I meant :-).

    Tomte, I'd be inclined to agree with the Complementary approach, a middle ground. The Bible is not meant to be a scientific textbook..I'd think of it as a summary. Good article.

  15. I made my comment about Darwin on the newest thread before I read the latest here.

    Darwin's theory is full of scientific holes. In the end, he admitted it was wrong. (hear-say on my part)

    In my never to be humble opinion, I don't know how a christian can hold hands with Darwin's theory.

    In the beggining God created the heavens and the earth...He rested on the seventh day.

  16. I wouldn’t say Christians in Europe hold hands with Darwin's theory in that sense that they try to accommodate Christian faith with the theory of evolution, or try to find any theology in evolution.

    They just separate science and religion, perhaps believing religion teaches the meaning of life, while evolution is the biological explanation, or just think science is plain wrong, because the world is blinded by the devil.

    In neither case Christians here see any reason to argue with science.

    The Catholic Church has even made an official statement that the evolution theory is correct.

    As I wrote I only know about two creationists in Finland, publicly defending creationism. One of them is a doctor (some kind of surgeon), the other one was some kind of science teacher, but nowadays I can see him write articles in favor for Darwins theory, but with God involved.

    In Sweden there is two, three persons arguing publicly for creationism. (Actually only one trying to maintain any scientific credibility).

    Creationism has really not been any best seller here.

  17. Troll here:

    Belief in religion is surely a
    right brain activity . It has no
    scientific proof. It is something
    that is experienced in its myriad

    As long as it is kept there it is
    no problem.

    Trying to force it into the left
    brain is when it hits the fan.


  18. Laestadianinfo7/23/2009 03:58:00 PM

    I think religion comes into the picture when one understand the limitations of our brains.

    Who would we be right about anything at all?

    You cannot prove the validity of our ability to think, by rational arguments, beckause that would be a circural argument.

    So we are left to believe, either in our ability to think or religion. Both requires faith.

  19. Lastadianinfo AND Troll:

    I think science has extreme value. Consider the advance in medicine and other fields. But it is not infallible :) One day coffee is good for you, the next day it is not-and so on...There is NO PROOF to darwin or things like global warming. Lot's of holes there, and not in the atmosphere.

    My faith guides me in every aspect of life and science does not agree with scripture on many points.

    I am surpised to hear there are so FEW out-spoken people on creationism in Finland. That is what happens when politically correct thinking becomes a mandate.

    I have NEVER, NEVER, NEVER heard that the Catholic church embraces darwinism. Any science (facts) behind that statement? I can't picture the Pope endorsing such a unproven, anit-biblical position.

    And that folks, is just my opinion:)

  20. "I am surpised to hear there are so FEW out-spoken people on creationism in Finland. That is what happens when politically correct thinking becomes a mandate."

    I think we have to make a separation between religious faith and science. Science tries to explain the reality without God, because God cannot be explained, while religion takes God in account and is then out of the rational sphere.

    Maybe science is right, maybe not. However creationism can never be taught as science, because it is clearly in such contradiction with anything having to do with science, that it’s ridiculous to talk about creationist science.

    Because of that we are left with the evolution theory as the rational theory, and it’s nowadays with hundred years collecting evidence, a pretty good theory. There is no scientific alternative to the evolution theory (at least yet).

    The reason virtually no-one supports creationism in Europe, is probable because we have a good school system where science and the scientific method is teached throughout the school. People here understands the evolution theory and don’t find very much problems with it.

    The creationist’s claims are just too ridiculous for any educated person to start believing. I Am sure the Ohio Creationist Museum would be nothing than an amusement park in Europe.

    It’s just too ridiculous claim the world is about 6000 years old and that dinosaurs lived alongside with humans. The evidence against this worldview is massive.

  21. My husband used to teach at a high school in Gellivare, Sweden with a man who was an OALC preacher who taught biology. Obviously, if he was teaching biology, he was teaching the theory of evolution as well.

  22. We recently watched a DVD on creationism called "A Revealing Creation Seminar From A Scientific Perspective" by Dr. Kent Hovind. I would recommend it to anyone who is doubting creation! There are so many holes in the Evolution Theory! But then who knows--nobody really knows what happened.

  23. The Roman Catholic Church has not "embraced" evolution. While being appropriately cautious about the subject, they have stated in various ways since at least 1950, that they do not see a conflict between the scientific theory and the faith. If you do a Google search on "Catholic Church Evolution" you can read happily about the history of the topic for a good long time. Wikipedia (of which I am not a fan because of the questionable origins of some of its information) presents a pretty good history of the topic in terms of church history, and is fair in noting that some of the things presented have been challenged.

    I'm personally very comfortable with the coexistence of science and faith. The Bible is not intended to be a scientific document or text, any more than a science text is designed to be an instrument of faith. I personally find no conflict between the two (and yes, I'm aware of the scientific absurdities in the Bible).

    Now we have the relatively new concept of "intelligent design", which is also clearly not science, but a statement of faith.

    If the two fields -- let's call them religion and science as a generalization -- can exist simultaneously, each can guide the other to greater understanding. Science can help us grow in our faith, and religion can help us with those bits that simply do not have the supporting data required to make definitive statements. It's the darned zealots on each side of the fence that keep intelligent conversations from taking place -- kind of like Republicans and Democrats...

  24. We know what REALLY happened because if you embrace scripture as a whole, Evolution is a falicy. Do we have "faith" in only certain parts of scripture?

    Creationism- the bible HAS BEEN proven "scientifically"

    Using reason, one could not accept evolution because there are WAY to many inconsistencies which makes it a Theory.

    Definition of Theory:

    An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.

    contemplation or speculation. guess or conjecture.

    L.Info: where did you get your info about the Catholic Church?
    if you haven't seen the Ben Stein movie/docum. RUN, don't walk and rent it. Then let's talk.


  25. I'm going to watch that movie, PS..

  26. Laestadianinfo7/24/2009 09:44:00 AM

    L.Info: where did you get your info about the Catholic Church?

    I just remember I have read somewhere that the Catholic Church does not reject the evolution theory.

    This is however their official opinion about evolution from Catholic.com:

    "Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him."

    You said, Using reason, one could not accept evolution because there are WAY to many inconsistencies which makes it a Theory.

    99,9% of the world’s scientists, who has all the knowledge about the theory, and knows how nature works, accepts the theory of evolution. The only one complaining are those who has religious reasons to not believe in the theory.

    The evolution theory is the worlds most criticized scientific theory. If there were some major problems in it, someone would have told it.

  27. L.info:

    Sounds like the Catholic's support creationism because Darwin's theory did not consider God at all.(or give any creadence to God) And many scientists have come out against it. Watch Expelled or simply google it. It is not written in stone. And FULL of holes. I don't know one ALC member who embraces evolution, so I am surprised to hear in Finland it is accepted. crazy. I for one, did not come from apes.

    Norah: Let me know what you think about the movie!

  28. LLLreader sez: If anyone needs a lift today check Former LLCer's blog, A Daisy a Day. Find it on the far right column. Both the dog picture and the wedding made me smile.

  29. A good witness will weigh carefully the arguments he or she puts forward, fearing that false statements could make Christians look foolish and hurt the cause of Christ.

    It is fully legitimate to believe in God and to accept evolution.

    "In the end, he admitted it was wrong."


    "There is NO PROOF to darwin"


    "We recently watched a DVD on creationism called "A Revealing Creation Seminar From A Scientific Perspective" by Dr. Kent Hovind."

    Kent Hovind is wrong and an embarrassment even to creationists.

    "there are WAY to many inconsistencies which makes it a Theory."

    You fundamentally misunderstand the scientific meaning of the word theory.

    "many scientists have come out against it"


    "Watch Expelled"

    Unless you want the truth.


  30. lmarinen:

    I could post as many or more references to support my opinion. But instead, I don't mind if you like to think you came from a ape instead of some sort of intelligent design.

  31. Good post, Ilmarinen -- and good to hear from you again.

  32. Hi, CVOW. Thanks! I've been lurking but not posting for awhile.

    P.S., one of the reasons I left my old Laestadian church was that it was mired in a lack of intellectual curiosity and loved to snidely trash people who they didn't agree with. Your lazy responses are really reminding me of my old church, and that's too bad, because I come to this blog to share with people who have left those things behind.


  33. Not lazy, We could go back and forth forever I am sure. How quickly you seem to hurl insults. Why are you so angry because my opinion differs? Like I said, I don't mind at all that your ancestors are a bunch of apes.

    I get the feeling that many who blog here left the church and embrace anything and everything, desperate to NOT seem AP. My first point of reference for you would be the bible.

    People with different opinions don't seem welcome here. I have seen many people who have posted in the past get attacked and driven right off this site.

  34. I felt I had to reply to this discussion with a Youtube video.

    Click on my Nick or open the video by the following link:


  35. That is funny, P.S., but even though I am STILL an an AP and have no plans to leave the church no one has really ever insulted me or tried to drive me away. You'd think I'd be their #1 target, but I am not. Can you think of the reason why this never happens to me, and I've been here since nearly the beginning? I am not desperate not to be seen as an AP, I AM an AP. You insult people, P.S. If they don't agree with you lock, stock, and barrel, you call us things like "un-American" and "unchristian." There is a diversity of thinking on this blog. Norah and I are both still APs, though I am Democrat and she is Republican. Cvow is very conservative both in his political leanings and his religious views. I think you would get along a little better, PS, if you were able to state your views without worrying so much if others perceive them as the gospel truth. In the end, we'll know the truth to all of these things, and it won't matter at all. All that is important is that we believe.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  36. Charles Darwin knew nothing about DNA, the true scientific key to life. He had no concept whatsoever regarding the complexity of DNA. Life did not originate by the accidental sticking together of a few molecules as Darwin taught. Darwin did not know that the key to a person's identity (DNA) is locked solid in every cell of the body. The DNA does not change because of external adaptation to the environment as taught by Darwin and still falsely taught in universities by biology professors. DNA changes only when an egg and sperm are joined to form a new DNA with chromosomes coming from the male and female donors. The DNA of the baby is strictly controlled by the parents' chromosomes. It cannot be changed by external environmental influences either. The DNA of all life forms, including plants and trees, absolutely destroys Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.

    Even brainwashed evolutionists admit that the cheetah did not evolve from a mushroom.

    In 1880, in reply to a correspondent, Charles wrote, “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.”

    in his 1876 Autobiography he stated his unbelief in very blunt, even crude words. His closest scientific associates were all men who had given up biblical Christian faith, and some of them were committed enemies of the faith

    There is no scientific evidence that a species can change the number of chromosomes within the DNA. The chromosome count within each species is fixed. This is the reason a male from one species cannot mate successfully with a female of another species. Man could not evolve from a monkey. Each species is locked into its chromosome count that cannot be changed. If an animal developed an extra chromosome or lost a chromosome because of some deformity, it could not successfully mate. The defect could not be passed along to the next generation. Evolving a new species is scientifically impossible.

    According to mathematical statistics, intelligent life forms in the universe should be numerous if evolution were possible. The number of galaxies, stars and planets should easily produce vast quantities of intelligent life forms if evolution were possible

    The universe consists of billions galaxies with billions of stars around each galaxy. NASA and other scientists keep searching in panic for a sign of life somewhere in the universe beyond the Earth. The search is very important to them, because statistical mathematics shows that the lack of life proves the Theory of Evolution is wrong.

    Darwin's theory of evolution is a direct contradiction to the Christian view of creationism and even today religious groups rally to have Darwinism removed from science text books. Creationists feel that Darwin's theory is anti-Christian, a sDarwin's theory of evolution is a direct contradiction to the Christian view of creationism and even today religious groups rally to have Darwinism removed from science text books. Creationists feel that Darwin's theory is anti-Christian, a sentiment that was shared by Darwin's wife.

    In Genesis, the Bible also states God made man from the dust of the earth...and to dust thou shall return.

    I could go on, is there a point?

  37. Stranger,

    I looked back at my posts on this thread and I don't see what you are seeing. I would venture that the "opposing" side sees what they post as gospel, judging by the strong response and name calling I received.

    Is it that I believe if you embrace scripture as a whole, then evolution can't enter the equation?

    Is it that I called Darwin's theory of evolution a THEORY?

    Is it that there really is as much or more evidence against it?

    What is it stranger, That I tried to bow out of the arguement, though I was called lazy?

    You say you attend the AP church, as I did most of my life. Do you know ANYONE, any PASTOR..anyone that believes in Darwin's THEORY?

    I really AM ok with people believing they came from apes.

    A scientific law must be 100% correct. Failure to meet only one challenge proves the law is wrong.

    Scientists a century ago believed the smallest single living cell was a simple life form. The theory developed that perhaps lightning struck a pond of water, causing several molecules to combine in a random way, which by chance resulted in a living cell. The cell then divided and evolved into higher life forms. This view is now proven to be immature to the degree of being ridiculous. The most modern laboratory is unable to create a living cell. In fact, scientists have been unable to create a single left-hand protein molecule as found in all animals. The Theory of Evolution claims that organic life was created from inorganic matter. That is impossible. The top scientists in the world with unlimited laboratory resources cannot change inorganic matter into a single organic living cell.

  38. P.S.

    Haven't you ever heard of mutations? Mutations occur all the time in nature and that's how a species is able to adapt and even change. Once the mutation occurs, it remains in the DNA of the species descendents, creating new "breeds" of species, if you will. This is basic science you would learn in high school or an introductory college biology course. So no, DNA is not a fixed thing at all. Some say red hair is the result of mutation. The example I learned about in college was that of a short legged sheep, which occured in a single individual whose successive generations were selectively inbred to create a new kind of sheep.

    I am neither an ardent believer of evolution nor in creationism as taught by the right-wing evangelicals. I don't subscribe to "intelligent design" theory, either, although if I were hard-pressed to choose one of the three, I would probably lean toward this explanation.

    Of course there are flaws in the theory of evolution. That is why it is still called a theory. There are cows and there are dolphins, but have scientists ever found the "missing link" in fossil evidence that showed the species in evolutionary form. No, they have not. We don't know all of God's secrets.

    I think people feel more comfortable if we can just admit to what we don't know. It is all too easy to parrot a party line and not do your own critical thinking.


  39. P.S., you said, "In the end, he admitted it was wrong. (hear-say on my part)."

    Spreading hearsay like this without checking to see whether it's true is simply lazy. This sort of laziness, coupled with arrogance ("In my never to be humble opinion"), really hurts the cause of Christ.

    "How quickly you seem to hurl insults. Why are you so angry because my opinion differs?"

    Yeah, I heard this one from my old church. Psychological projection is unfortunate.

    "This is basic science you would learn in high school or an introductory college biology course."

    Stranger is right. And until you learn the basics, how about we discuss something else, like nisu recipes.


  40. ex falc says...

    My husband's dad kept his children from attending public schools in Mexico because they taught evolution. How he thought it would be better that his kids had very little education vs. yes, learning about evolution is hard for me to comprehend and understand. I know their are many religious people that even homeschool their kids mainly over this issue. How can your rationalize pulling your kids out of school simply over something like this? I believe in living a balanced life and I have found myself getting more of an open mind that respects the opinions of anyone that takes the time to listen and respect mine.

    Over time I have came to the conclusion that some people simply have different viewpoints on things and their are many more important things going on in the world right now to think about than whether or not we originated from apes.

    PS, my advice to you is to try to understand the opinions of others and think about where they are coming from. My parents went through a lot of tough things while leaving the FALC. I wished for so long that they people in the FALC could see how much they hurt my parents and they could see what I could see so clearly, but everyone has unique experiences that make us who we are. Maybe your viewpoint is something that is very clear to you but others have had different experiences and their views are very clear to them. Variety is the spice of life. I've clashed with certain people, especially my in-laws, but I have found that love goes a lot further in winning people's hearts than anything else.

  41. Since this discussion is going absolutely nowhere, how about we drop it and find something else to discuss that is of more importance?

    Some other topics that come to mind that might be of more interest to folks could be what was meant by Jesus when he said he came to divide families rather than unite them (a couple of the gospels have versions of this), or how do we pray -- since we are told to pray unceasingly. Any other ideas?

  42. LLLreader sez: I have an idea. A few days ago someone new arrived who is having a hard time with wanting to leave one of the branches of the church. While we don't have all the answers for people in the midst of the struggle, we can sure share our experience and offer support. I think that was the intent of the blog in the first place. Among us we have people from the far right and the far left. I don't want to contribute anything to the disagreements, although I have in the past. I wish it would stop.

  43. I second that, LLLreader.


  44. I like the idea about nisu recipies. Last year I bought a lovely Swedish baking cookbook, but alas, I had no idea where to get fresh yeast. I might try at Ingebretsen's, a Scandinavian grocery store located in a Mexican neighborhood in South Minneapolis. But perhaps not, as I will soon get tested for a gluten allergy. I am already lactose intolerant and have been advised to stay away from the nightshade family as these items tend to worsen inflammatory medical conditions, which I unfortunately have problems with. What? A Finnish girl who cannot eat dairy, wheat, or potato? What is there left to eat? So far I have only given up the one but I know that if I don't feel better soon, something else will have to give.

    Well, it turns out perhaps my Sami genes are to blame. Whereas 90% of Finns can eat dairy to no ill effect, 60-70% of Sami people cannot. Furthermore, there are higher incidences of gluten intolerance amongst the Sami folk. I've been advised to eat more protein and veggies and limit my grain intake and cut out the sugar.

    I have a friend not part of this blog who is a member of the ALC. A truly wonderful woman. She recently has been exploring her Sami roots as well, although like most of us, she was told she was 101% Finnish. Her DNA test revealed otherwise, but that's another story. We have had a few conversations about our respective churches, and about the splits. She thinks the splits are indicative of the "Sami" way of orgganizing, and that our churches are simply the sociological equivalent of the siida. A siida was a collection of families who formed a mobile village and who cared for one another economically and socially--a commune of sorts, perhaps. Back in our pre-Christian days, when siidas became too large and political and social strife occured--they split--sometimes with enmity, but never with open warfare. I thought about what she said in the context of all of the LLL splits recently when Cvow reminded us about what Christ said about coming here to divide rather than unite. He has reminded me before that in our ancestral home community, although his church and mine were on opposite sides of the divisions, our families remained good friends. I think of that when I meet people from other LLL groups. Growing up, I only knew one group of Laestadians because the town where I was living only had the one group. When I did learn about the other groups it was in the context that they were all wrong and we were all right. It amazes me sometimes when I have met people from other groups and I identify myself with another, there are times people have been almost frightened of me! I see the look in their eyes. Recently in our church two brothers started coming who had gone to another LLL church. I found out their parents think that joining our church was the worst thing that had ever happened to them, despite that fact that they have had close family members become part of non-LLL groups.

  45. Where is the post from somebody new of the person struggling with leaving one of the Laestadian groups? I can't find it.

    Eyes Wide Open

  46. LLLreader answers: It's under Benefits of Leaving and only showed up on current posts for a few days. I encourage the person to come back and post under current topics so we don't lose her/him.

  47. Some young Finnish First Borns have started an unofficial website!! Here's the URL:


  48. Actually there was a split in a Laestadian group in Norway which was at least to some extent due to different views on the creation (the other question they had different opinions about was the acceptability of remarriage after divorce). One group (the Fundamentalists) maintained that the creation was completed literally in six days, while the others (the Liberals) said six days could be understood also metaphorically, i.e. not necessarily as a natural day that consists of 24 hours but possibly a much longer period of time.

    As Laestadianinfo has been telling, in general, the evolution/creationism debate is almost non-existent among the Laestadians in Europe, and in other denominations as well. Most people probably don't even think about it. Personally I don't see any reason to believe the evolution theory is the ultimate truth, I'm sure there will be other theories in the future, but neither do I see any real conflict between the evolution theory and God creating everything. In some professions people maybe need to have a clear opinion, but I think most people would do just fine without speculating so much about whether the evolution theory is right or wrong.

    In fact, now as I think about it, I don't think I was ever really taught the evolution theory. I went to a private high school with a somewhat conservative profile, and my biology teacher apparently didn't like the evolution theory so she just simply skipped that part of the text book and told us we could study it by ourselves at home if we were interested. I guess I wasn't interested enough... ;)

  49. For those actually interested in discussing evolution vs. creationism, I refer you to the other thread on this topic, posted back in 2007.

    Intelligent Design, Laestadian style