"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Help a Reader

Monday, January 04, 2010

Help a Reader

I'm posting this as a topic so it doesn't get lost. A reader writes:

I'm looking for a little help. I'm currently with a man whom I love and adore. I recently found out his family are members of this church and am not sure how to handle it. I am told his church is more of the laid back version of it but it still terrifies me a bit. I was raised Lutheran, ELCA. The type of church where you come as you are and listen to his word and you will be saved. Not the strict guidelines I've found online from OALC. Can anyone clue me in on what I'm getting into? How can I talk to him rationally about it? He gets defensive and ignores the topic and it scares me even more. I'm not going to force him to leave his church- but it's not something I'm currently comfortable joining, especially not after reading some of this. Can I ask him to leave? Does his whole family think I'm damned to hell since I don't attend their church? Sorry these are loaded questions but....I'm looking for any sort of insight....please....


  1. LLLreader to anonymous again: I wish someone else would write--I sure don't have all the answers, but I do know that whatever you decide to do, it has to be a mutual decision regarding the church. You probably need to approach him with the idea that you have a problem, and the two of you need to work it out. Ask him, what does he want from you? Maybe you will go to the church together and try to be part of his family. My family treated "outsiders" really well. Maybe his will too. If you find yourself put in the position of coming between him and his family, and he doesn't support you--I would run like the wind.

  2. LLLReader, I think you've given sage advice and there isn't anything to add, except to repeat how important it is to work this out before getting married.

  3. ex falc says-

    I think your chance of being able to work something out also depends on what church he is from. I am curious to know what church he is from. I would say from what I have seen and heard, the OALC is the most hostile towards outsiders and hardest church to leave. I'm not saying the other churches don't have problems. They do, but the OALC in my view is the most extreme.If he's from the ALC or IALC you could be in a much better situation to work something out.

  4. If you are planning to be married and start attending an APL church you will soon realize that you are marrying into a unique culture and lifestyle as well as a mindset versus simply marrying some one who just happens to attend a certain church. A good place to start learning about this culture is this website and the various links posted. Make sure you work out any details long prior to getting serious as you will be looked on as an 'outsider' no matter what until you have 'proven' yourself. That might take many years. Zanon

  5. The posters above make good points. This could be a big deal, so tread with caution here. Make sure you know what you're getting into before you do anything irreversible. You need to discuss expectations (what you'll do with kids, where you will each be on Sunday mornings, how families will treat you, etc) soon, and if he won't discuss these matters, you would be well advised to stop and make some hard decisions.

    There are some variations from group to group and region to region. Worst case scenario: you two have kids and he goes deep into one of the more extreme groups, starts thinking you're going to Hell, tries forcing the kids to be raised in his religion, and his extended family treats you like Devil's spawn. Best case scenario: his family is from one of the more mellow groups and treats you with love, he's not even in one of the groups at all, and you all find a happy balance.

  6. To anon:
    As a long time member of the OALC, I would say to you, BE VERY CAREFUL!! The OALC is the most strict of all the Laestadian Churches and its members are very judgemental. Some families accept outsiders (wordlies) better than others but all will assume you are going to hell unless you repent and join their church. They believe everyone except them is doomed to hell. This is not negotiable!
    I suggest you attend church with him and question him as to his intentions. Some have come in from the world and joined the church and been content, but many more have tried to accept their lifestyle and failed.
    I can say to you that my spouse tried hard for many years to be accepted and never was. Although we are still together and happily married it is despite of the OALC that we are still together. We now attend a healthy bible based church and are very happy there. Sadly, we spent many frustrating years in the OALC .
    Good luck and God Bless and please stay in touch. MovinOn.

  7. I'd like to emphasize the advice someone already gave: try to make him tell you what he really believes. This is important because, for the first, there are people within the OALC, and all the other churches of Laestadian origin, who don't believe what their church teaches but they just hang around because all their friends and relatives are there. And for the second, it is important because there are people who left the OALC (or other churches of Laestadian origin) who still secretly believe what their former church taught. They may be living a life that is totally different than his former church teaches, but deep withing he still believes his former church has right and he intends to return at some point. So, it's better to be careful even with people who've already left the OALC (or some other church of Laestadian origin) because there's the risk that they might want to return to that church at some point. I think the safest cases are the ones who have become active members of another church.

  8. Hibernatus, I sure can tell you grew up within the Apostolic confines based on your comments. There is more than one ex-AP member who is still a 'closet' member when it comes right down to it...still thinking of a day when they might return to the fold. I think the biggest attractions for ex-members remain the friendships and the cultural norms that one grew up with-even if those are some of the reasons one left to beginn with. The biggest reason ex-members seem to not want to return is the non-Christ centered preaching.

  9. My advice to you, honey, is to run like the wind! Your heartbreak at leaving him now would be mild compared to a lifetime of conflict and disharmony that inevitably comes with a "mixed marriage". I have witnessed those sad marriages for decades. Couples often stay together, but there is little family unity.

    The real clue to what is in his heart is the fact that he doesn't want to discuss this vital issue with you. It is not a "side issue" or something of insignificance; what we believe is the core of who we are. My guess is that he has not thought this all out, and is not clear about what he believes or where he is headed in life.

    If he is a member of the OALC, he is living in sin by courting someone who is not a member of that group, which probably makes him feel guilty. How can he tell you that?!

    If he has truly left that faith because he realizes their doctrinal errors and wants to pursue God with another group of Christians, he would be quick to articulate that with you.

    Lots of young men and women leave the Laestadian churches for awhile to sow some wild oats or try out "worldly ways", but live the entire time under a cloud of guilt. They eventually return to "the fold". If they have been married during that time to some "worldly", this transformation often causes havoc in their marriage.

    You need to be aware that if he does return to his old church, this will not be just a matter of going to church on Sundays. There is a whole lifestyle that goes along with it. The list of "do's" & "don'ts" is longer than you can imagine and more ridiculous than you can believe! If you ask how they ever get that stuff from the Bible, they won't be able to tell you, but that won't bother them! Tradition and what the elders/preachers teach is enough gospel for them!

    If he hasn't introduced you to his family yet, that is not a good sign. You don't want to be someone's dirty little secret...

    If he doesn't offer to take you himself, go alone to one of the services at the church and make some observations yourself. Don't go into anything as permanent as marriage blindly. Take your time and keep your eyes open and pray for the Lord to give you revelation and wisdom. And keep asking questions! God bless!

  10. I grew up in the OALC as a preacher's kid and happily am not a part of it (I have been away 25+ years). The thing I find most suspicious about your story is that he is with someone romantically outside of the OALC, that is not allowed. If he were open and honest with you regarding it, that would be different. Something smells of insincerity here. I agree with those who have said "run like the wind!" Oh, and the list of 'do's and don'ts are not only very long and ridiculous but they change all of the time. I am no longer in the OALC but I am a strong Christian who loves the Lord . I have many loved ones there and my heart hurts for them. God lead guide and direct you.

  11. The troubled reader- well I'd like to thank you all for your advice and care on this matter. I'm not exactly sure what to do but since we have been together for years it is definitely a difficult choice. I see the perks of not having to deal with it all if I leave him but I don't know if that is God's plan. I love him very much. He has told me that at the end of the day if we get married I am his family and he will stand behind me in whatever I choose. He will not force me to become a member or even go to his church. We talked about if we have a family, finding a church that is right for US is what is important to him. However, he is not willing to give up the church completely. He would still like to attend once a month just for the family aspect of it with his immediate family. We have discussed the practices and he knows that I will not like them because I am not that kind of person. He says his church is really relaxed compared to others but it is OALC. I'm still lost...but please trust me when I say that your comments were helpful and very needed for me. Thank you and I will continue to write. Any other advice is welcome...thoughts or prayers as well. I still have my faith in Jesus and am asking for guidance and really hoping it will become more clear.......

  12. LLLreader sez: I'm surprised you have had such a long term relationship. I thought it was fairly new. Apparently the church is not a big part of his life since you haven't been aware of it before. I would ask him to take you with him to church. Haven't you met his family? If not, why not? The Old Apostolic Lutheran Church is the most strict. The other branches don't seem to have as many rules, according to the conversations on this blog. He may want to go back for family connection. There is a draw that the church has for people that have left. It has nothing to do with Christ, but for me it has to do with being around people who look like me, sound like me, and who know the family stories. It's my history, and even though I reject the dogma, I meet that little blond girl with long braids that sat on those hard benches years ago--every time I go there.

  13. It just dawned on me she might not be talking about the OALC in the US but somewhere else. The truth is there is quite a bit variation in the OALC between different geographical areas, even inside the US, but especially if you include other countries like Finland and Norway. Well, I think even the Canadian congregations are somewhat different from the ones in the US.

    I think an average OALC family in Finland would be much more approving of a non-OALC spouse than an average OALC family in the US. And what has been said about the OALC being the strictest one of the AL churches doesn't really apply to Finland. I'd say in Finland the LLC probably is the strictest one. The OALC in Finland still has some conservative rules about clothing and appearance etc. which the LLC doesn't have, but the overall atmosphere and attitude in the Finnish OALC seems to be much more relaxed than in the LLC.

  14. Troubled reader here: I do indeed live in the US. I have met his parents and they are very welcoming and caring towards me that has never been a problem. There have been days where I had made comments and gotten looks that were a little strange but now completely make sense but other than that they seem to pay no mind to it. They are very nice people. My parents on the other hand are less than enthused with the fact that he is OAL because of what we have found online.
    To address some things discussed above: I know I should go to church with him but I just get scared. If you knew what I looked like you would understand. Don't get me wrong I am still conservative in dress and manner but many of their rules I don't abide by. He says I can go as I am, but I will not be comfortable going the way I go to my church in dress pants and what not.
    Right now, we've talked about it and it's been made clear that at the end of the day it's him and I. That is what's important to him and if what we do isn't working when it comes to the church we will change it. He wont stand against me if we work at it together.
    That's all for tonight, it's been a long couple days....very long....lots of tears. Thank you all again. I will keep you posted. Your help and support means more to me than you will ever know or understand. THANK YOU.

  15. I continued thinking about different scenarios. One possibility is that this guy simply wants to avoid unnecessary hassle with his family. Maybe he's not hiding any secret OALC beliefs and never intends to return to strict OALC observance but simply wants to keep his family at peace by showing up at the OALC every now and then so they don't have to write him off as a non-believer. It's of course a bit risky if he goes to another church with his wife at the same time, but he can always explain it by telling his family that he has to go because of his wife. Doesn't sound like a completely honest approach, but we all know how difficult some OALC families can become if a family member leaves the OALC. It's much easier to give them reason to believe you are still somehow inside.

  16. I feel for you, it sounds like you are in a hard position. I do not know what the OALC is like, I grew up in the LLC in Canada, but they sound pretty similar aside from a few small rules. (I left the church 4-5 yrs ago). It may be that he doesn't want to deal with his family, but thats not a very good way to go about it. I didn't hide that I grew up in the llc when I got into a relationship. I made sure he knew what my family was like, but I didn't rush to introduce him to them. I am surprised that he wouldn't tell you. Is he still part of the church, or has he left it? How often does he attend their services? My only advice is to be careful, and don't worry about how you dress if you do go to visit his church because you'll stick out no matter what. Any outsider does no matter how they're dressed. I stick out like a sore thumb when I (rarely--once/yr or less) attend the llc church. Good luck, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  17. LLLreader sez' Now I'm curious--what do you look like troubled reader? When you said, "if you saw me" it made me think that you might sport pink hair or something??

  18. Interesting that I don't see my comment on your blog, which gave a bit of a different view to this troubled girl. Very biased blog. Sad.

  19. Ibelieve, no previous comment from you was submitted. Please try again. This is a free speech zone, and all comments are allowed unless they are commercial, defamatory or profane.

  20. TroubledReader1/14/2010 08:22:00 PM

    Troubled Reader Here------
    Free2bme, your comment is welcome and I hope you send it again so I can see your thoughts.
    As for what I look like, I don't have hot pink hair now, but have thought about it. I have shorter hair and it's colored, nothing too crazy I mean it's a hint of purple in places but still okay for corporate life for the most part. I also wear make-up, now I don't look like MiMi from The Drew Carey Show but I like to have fun with it at times. It's usually natural colors but when I go out or on special occasions I'll spice it up a bit. Again, nothing too dramatic.
    He does attend church on Sundays and it is usually a brunch and family day thing afterward. Since I work on Sundays I don't usually partake and have never thought anything of it until now, for obvious reasons. I'm comfortable with the fact that he has said it's just the two of us at the end of the day and we'll work on it to make sure we are both happy, but I'm still a little apprehensive. We'll see what time brings.
    A little side note: I had done research for a couple of weeks and found virtually nothing helpful for me on this matter. The night that I lost all hope in finding a helpful resource i hit the wrong Google search and stumbled upon this website. I want to thank the owner not only for helping but for posting it in a place where others could help as well. Thank you very much and I will keep you all posted.

  21. Well, I don't agree that at the end of the day it just the two of you. You are each a part of a larger family (and in his case a very large church family also). Should the two of you have children the extended family is very important. I am surprised that you feel welcomed by his family. They are very different indeed, or I suspect you may be unaware of the signs of their true feelings.

  22. LLLreader to troubled: It was IBELIEVE who sent the message that disappeared. The poster's name comes at the top of the post. Free2be does not eliminate posts that express different points of view. I have tried to be careful to respect OALC member's opinions. I can't believe the way they believe. But, I respect their right to have their religious beliefs. It's the people who don't want to be in there that we try to support. How about taking a Sunday off and going to the church and brunch? I hope IBELIEVE tries again--I have sure lost posts too.

  23. RWB here...

    Troubled Reader: I have posted many times here in the past to try to stem the damage many of the ex-OALC members here try to inflict on the OALC with their posts. I have not posted in awhile and it seems that the more frequent postings awhile back toned things down some. I'm not saying they all do damage all the time, but much of the intent here is to damage. Don't get all your info from this place because much of it is twisted and untrue according to MY experience...I have attended the OALC for many decades so I know what I'm talking about. Also as a result of coming here and reading the posts I understand that some others have had a different experience...they are entitled to their experience and opinion...just don't let theirs be yours...work it out for yourself. I have studied many other religions and faiths...I believe this is the one to follow if you are truly serious about what happens after you die. I know that may sound crazy, but many said Jesus was a nut when he was here to. If you are truly serious about this relationship and the future of it you will ask him any tough questions you may have. He should be willing and able to answer them and should not be afraid to answer them if he is a true believer. If he is you must remember that his faith will be number one and any future you have together will be intertwined with it. Ultimately I would suggest you two get together with one of the preachers in his church and talk things out. It may be a bit early for that..I don't know what stage your relationship is at. It is most important that for a relationship to succeed that you both be on the same page with regards to your faith and beliefs...no matter what they are.


  24. There are actually OALC families who welcome with open arms their children's spouses. I married outside the OALC (a Catholic, no less) and she was ALWAYS welcomed and loved. As a matter of fact, she was welcomed and loved by the majority of my home congregation. In the minority was the ignoramus preacher, but he was pretty stupid about just about everything else as well.

    Many members of my old congregation have married outside the church, and have enjoyed similar results. Of course, our congregation was always thought to be on the slippery slope to hell by most of the other congregations around the US, but there you are.

    It took a good number of years before I finally left the OALC for good, and a few more before I became a very happy Catholic myself.

    It can work, but I recongize how lucky I was. I understand that many more people have had bad experiences in this regard than have had good ones.

  25. I too a former OALC member married a Catholic but it was assumed that he would join the OALC with my insistance. That did not happen, we became ELCA Lutherans and have been for over 20 yrs. The interactions with OALC 'christians' has always been strained and met with staring and understanding, that I was what a sinner looks like, i.e. short colored hair, fingernail polish and other worldly displays that cast me in a sinner role without ever looking at my heart! We are all sinners and cannot free ourselves NO MATTER what we do or try to do. That is why Jesus died on the cross and why my current church does have a cross front and center! A reminder of why Easter had to occur so long ago! Good luck to all who wish to leave..it is not easy but can be the most rewarding for your future.

  26. Hi, Troubled Reader.

    I think the only thing to do at this point would be to do just as our Savior says: "Come and see."

    If you are concerned about your relationship with someone of our faith (I belong to the OALC), please, please, come to our church services and try to understand how he believes. If that is not something that you are able to do (work/other obligations), feel free to contact one of the preachers. He will know their names and how to get ahold of them. They will be happy to talk to you concerning your faith.

  27. troubledreader1/20/2010 10:52:00 PM

    I am happy with my faith. It is not mine that I am unsure about. I have always been strong in my faith, I was raised that way and when my parents left it up to me I chose the path they had lead me on as a child. I am sure there are upsides to every religion and I have spent time researching others and attending different ones and I have found that the one that I am currently a part of is the one for me. It is my belief of God and Jesus. I am a member of a church where you dress nicely but you come as you are. Jeans and a sweatshirt is no different from formal dress. I come from a church where you don't have to hide your body because some man can't stay strong with his relationship with Christ. I am a beautiful daughter of Christ and he made me the way I am for a reason. Now I am not saying that I'm dancing around in my birthday suit. I'm far from it. LIke I said before, very conservative in my dress considering my age. I am happy to be the way I am and it was hard for me to get there as a young girl in this society.
    I'm sorry if this comes off as pushy and rude but it's how I feel. And it frustrated me that you chose to write "your faith" when it is clear it is not "my faith" that has me concerned. I want to know about HIS and see what HE sees.
    I asked for help and I thank you for your input.
    I will keep you posted on the progress. Thank you again for your input. I am sorry if I offended you in any way.

  28. Troubled reader,

    Based on your last post to ADK, I would again advise you to run like the wind.

  29. Dear Troubled reader: I sort of hate to tell you this, but guys make all sorts of promises before marriage that often don't pan out afterwards. After many years (when it really matters), the guys often forget all about those promises that they made so easily before the actual situations come up. Ask this guy how he would feel about his daughter taking dancing lessons & inviting her grandparents to the dance recitals. Ask how he would feel about his kids participating in organized sports. Ask how he would feel about spending big bucks for a prom dress for his daughter. Ask if he would expect his kids to be confirmed in his church...or baptized there. Will you be going to the movies together as a family? Have you taken him to your church? What does he think of it? Does he consider you to be a child of God and saved through the blood of Jesus Christ? Is he ok with having a Christmas tree? Does he have any other friends who are not OALC members? These are just some every-day-life areas to explore that OALC members generally see in a very different light than most of us.

    As far as worrying about looking different and that hindering you from attending services at OALC, I agree with the writer who said that no matter HOW you look, they will view you as an outsider. By all means, just go as you are!! If you are a child of God, you are free!! Hold your head up and just stare back at the people who stare at you! I go with my make-up on, as much jewelry as I want, and I wear a pantsuit if I feel like it. I am not ashamed of who I am. I also carry my Bible with me, and that probably makes people as uncomfortable as my appearance does!

  30. Free,
    You raise some good points, and then I question some others!

    Though it might surprise you, girls also make promises prior to marriage that don't always get happen. Let's compromise and just say that "people" make promises that they don't always complete.

    I agree that I would ask about where the children will be raised, confirmed, etc. (Baptism doesn't make that much difference, because unless you belong to a few churches such as the Baptists, baptism is pretty much universally recongized.) I would also ask what how the other person views you -- as a "lost" person, or as a Christian. While it might make for interesting conversation, getting into the importance of dance lessons and prom dresses, I don't think those are required premarital conditions. To me, they sound sort of confrontational.

    With regard to going to church with someone, I was disappointed to read your thoughts. I would not want to take what sounds to me like a very confrontational, in your face, attitude. On the occasions when I attend an OALC service, I don't wear a tie, I greet the people with "God's Peace", and I try not to do anything to make anyone uncomfortable. It is their house, and when I am a guest, I am not going to try to prove anything about how I am different. As a guest, I would also try hard to turn the other cheek should something be said that I disagree with. I will happily argue on neutral ground, but not in their house or mine. On a similar vein, if I were to be invited to a mosque, I would remove my shoes before entering, because I know that is their belief and I would honor it -- and I believe you would as well. Staring back at people, wearing jewelry or makeup when I know it is going to provoke a reaction sounds like aggressive behavior to me, and I wonder why you think this is respectful or acceptable.

  31. Honestly sweetie, I would let it go and find a husband that doesn't have the baggage and brainwashing of your boyfriend. Sorry to tell you that and I know you are young, but I feel it is just too much stress and negativity for you. I was married to a Leastadian for many many years, thinking that it would be just fine. It was not fine. It was extremely painful, and I was constantly being chastised and made to feel inferior. I was told not to mingle with unbelievers, including my own family. They used scare tactics to try and convert me. Just knowing that my husbands whole family and church thought I was hell bound was enough for me to start feeling sorry for them in their self righteousness and shallow brainwashing. The absolute arrogance of thinking they ONLY had the golden ticket to heaven!! I finally left and I have a lot of horrific memories, but I am now a very happily remarried professional woman with strength and a lot of love and character. I would NOT recommend the risk to your own self worth if the boyfriend was raised in the church. He likely has the same disturbing philosophy. Email me if you want more info sweet pea! Wishing you love and peace..... rella.ann@hotmail.com

  32. LLLreader sez: Free, I wanted to mention how astute you were in posing the question about how the other person would feel about prom dresses and such. That kind of question just gets right to the heart of the matter. Will the children be allowed to live lives not based on "what will people think", but rather on what is just normal in teenage lives? It reminds me of being a young person who really wanted piano lessons--I couldn't for obvious reasons. What message did that give me? I didn't for a minute believe there was any sin involved and my parents knew that. What my aunts thought was more important then what I needed. I knew I would never do that to my kids. I see Free as questioning how will the daily regular things in life will be. Maybe that kind of thing is more important to women, and their daughters.

  33. Thanks to all of you for commenting. I just want to make it clear that "Free at Last" is not ME, "Free the Blog Lady" aka "Free2bme" :-)

    Personally, I have no strong feelings on this situation. If there is one thing I've learned from this blog, it is how various the OALC can be, and .... what if the gentleman in question is a nephew of mine? Would I want this young woman in the family? You bet!

    Seriously, though, we can't avoid seeing everything through the lens of our own experience, which is why I am less cynical about men than Free At Last. I had great luck in finding my soulmate.

    However, I had a screening process that was pretty rigorous (my husband still laughs about our first date). There were a lot of men who simply didn't make the cut because they COULD or WOULD NOT TALK about the big mysteries.

    I did not want someone who thought he had the answers; I wanted someone who could explore them with me. I did not want someone who promised never to change, but who saw change as inevitable. There are truths that are deeper than any words or "beliefs" and love is one of those great mysteries.

    As for attending an OALC service? I think it is fine to go just as you are. I know we have discussed this before (you can probably find it the archives).

    Wearing makeup and jewelry or going bareheaded (or wearing a tie) is fine and actually EXPECTED for visitors. None of these "rules" are encoded and OALCers will argue they are not RULES at all, just lifestyle choices.

    I hope that makes sense, and I hope Troubled Reader checks back with us (I'll be rooting for you).

  34. LLLreader sez: Well-- HA! I didn't get past the "free" part of the name and thought that was you Free2bme. I didn't think the parts about how men behave and how to dress for church really sounded like your voice. But, I did think the questions about Christmas trees, prom dresses etc. were right on track. As you say, one's own experience determines how we view things. Although I low-key my appearance at the OALC, I appreciate and understand Free at Last wanting to make a statement when she goes there. As for cvow--I imagine you have never yearned for a prom dress--once again looking through the lens of our own experience, as Free2bme sez.

  35. Pretty funny, LLLreader! I made the same mistake and then Free2bme and I had a chuckle over that.

    No, I can't say I ever yearned for a prom dress -- and to this day, I hate wearing a tux -- and that has nothing to do with my OALC upbringing! Wore a tux three times -- to each of my children's weddings. Been there, done that, no need to do it again.

  36. I dont think asking someone to explain thier beliefs, especially if I am considering marrying into them, is confrontational at all. Its perfectly reasonable to ask what everyday life might be like, b/c lestadadians literally are in another world and if those things are not discussed it could easily be a confrontational war over what each considers to be "little things" with "serious soul implications" For example, who that is not of a lestadian church would ever consider the idea of thier daughter NOT attending thier prom? And who that is of a lestadian church would ever consider allowing thier daughter to attend thier prom? (with the variances for the different branches of course) but really. Both sides take for granted that things are and will be a certain way, but those ways are so polorized and there are so MANY!! I dont think a year in marriage counseling with the point of dragging up these differences could even come close to covering them all. And in my experience, oalc has no middle ground or compromising that can be reached. Its thier way or the highway to hell.

    Also from my experience, one of the biggest questions is "does he believe any other church is also right and saved besides the oalc?" b/c if deep in his heart he believs his church is THE ONLY right church, he will either go back to it someday or forever be tormented in his heart.. IMHO and experiences. This will either help him have a truly open heart and mind to growing together and living life with you or living parallell lives and arguing over every little thing.

    One more thing, also in my experience, it seemed so "little" to "let things slide" and "have a little fun" when I was single, but then once I had children, I became HORRIFIED at the thought of exposing and teaching them somthing other than oalc ways. I did finally leave the church and got past that but my children really threw everything into a completely different focus than when I was single.

    (I was in the oalc, married someone not from the church, had a child, freaked out and divorced him, then left the church myself. I hurt him needlessly and very much)

  37. TroubledReader2/13/2010 07:30:00 PM

    Troubled reader here, sorry it has been so long, I've been working a lot lately.
    Thank you all for your comments. I know organized sports are not a problem as he did them as a child and his nieces and nephews do them currently. As for prom dresses...well that one hasn't come up yet and we'll cross the bridge on that stuff when or if we get to it.

    I have still been troubled by all of this and am going back and forth on what to do.
    I have spent time with his family and it had gone really well. I am a little concerned after the last visit however. I definitely felt left out, it was nothing about religion it was just a family get together and I just felt blah. How awful is that i don't even have a word for it. His family had been apart for awhile, he had relatives come back into town on a yearly trip (they have taken this trip every year for the tenure of our relationship). I had always gotten a gift, when they returned. Nothing monumental, just something small. This year, I was actually invited to the get together when they arrived home. I went, and they handed out all the gifts and skipped me. Now please don't misunderstand and take me for a shallow person who just wants gifts all the time. That is not the reason for my hurt. I was hurt because I just felt forgotten. And it was the principle of it. If they had given everyone a hug and forgotten me I would have felt just as rotten. I told my boyfriend this and he didn't seem to understand why i was upset. "they must have forgotten to give you yours, I was told they got you something" is what I was told. I just have a hard time believing it. I don't know. I definitely felt manipulated in that fight. . . sorry again it's been so long. I'll do my best to keep you posted.
    Can't wait for Valentines day... :(

  38. Hi Troubled Reader.... I have been married for almost 18yrs... to enter into marriage without knowing whether you are on the same page in any area (or at least having worked out a compromise) is going to make it much harder down the road. To me, not knowing the other person's Christian beliefs would be astronomical to overcome. Even if you both believe the same "bottom line" as far as salvation goes, there are all the other ideas and traditions to factor in (especially if you have a family)...baptism (where & when), confirmation, activities and things in life that may or may not be acceptable to either of you, Sunday school, etc. I'm not saying by any means, that you will get them all ironed out ahead of time, but you should at least know where you each stand. It can be hard enough if you both come from the same religious background, let alone 2 (very)different ones.
    Current alc

  39. Troubled Reader: Please take very seriously what Rella and hp3 have written. OALCers look at everyday life through a totally different lens than most other Christians do. I'm sure that Rella can fill you in on specifics.

    cvow: One thing that disturbed me from the time I was a young child was the hypocrisy of members, who dressed and acted one way when they were at church or with strict members, and a totally different way when they weren't.

    If I "dress down" to attend OALC functions, it looks like I agree with them that jewelry, make-up, etc. is a sin, and that I am hiding my use of them. Since I don't believe that, I dress the way I do when I attend my own or any other church because I am not ashamed of it. I carry my Bible because I always bring one to church with me.

    Staring back at people who are gawking at me was a defense tactic I learned from my many years of being stared at for dressing plainly as a practicing Laestadian. As a man, I suspect that you would not understand how that feels because the rules for women set them apart much more than the rules for men. By the way, I smile when I stare back!

    I also do not go to argue with people there when they say something I do not agree with. When one of my cousins did have a conversation with me trying to point out how right they are and why I am wrong, I did answer his questions and then I thanked him for caring enough about my soul that he would take the time to talk with me. It showed that he had love for me. I greet people with "God's Peace" & I love to visit my relatives & dear friends there.

    And you are right: I have removed my shoes when I visited a mosque, but I didn't bow down there or wear a total head covering.

  40. I have a question for you Free at Last: When you go to the OALC, and you greet people with God's Peace, do they say it back to you or remain silent?

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  41. Stranger in a Strange Land: 99.9% "Gus-speace" me back.

  42. Wow, that's amazing. In the IALC they never greet people who have left church, even those coming back to visit unless they make a statement of repentence or something like that, or start coming very regularly. There might be a 1% exception. There are some folks who even will quit greeting you before that. I even have a cousin who quit greeting me before I even left the church because I remarried after I divorced. I suspect this cousin has untreated mental illness, however, so I could not take this as a slight. Being refused greeting as practiced in the IALC is by its very design is a very judging statement and shunning instrument. Without a word, it shows that they believe you to be damned.

  43. I married a man raised OALC. I love him and we're going on 20 years. My suggestion...do not stay in a relationship with him. It's not fair to you, him, or his family.

  44. That sounds like wisdom that has been earned with a lot of pain and tears. Your last statement shows a tremendous amount of empathy for him and his family. It is very true that OALC families usually grieve when their members marry outside of their faith. It is a pain that never goes away. I am glad that you brought out this perspective.