"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Is it "Caretaking" or Pressure, Intimidation, Blackmail?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is it "Caretaking" or Pressure, Intimidation, Blackmail?

A reader sent this article and the English translation below (lightly edited for clarity). If you understand Finnish, you'll want to read the comments as well.

Conservative Laestadians tell of pressure in “caretaking meetings”

July 17,2011
by Pauliina Grönholm
Helsingin Sanomat

People belonging to the Conservative Laestadian revivalist movement, which operates within the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran church, say they experienced pressure as well as spiritual violence, in so-called caretaking meetings.

A caretaking meeting in Conservative Laestadianism means a pastoral care event at which a member is called to "repent."

These meetings were especially common in the 1970's, but according to individuals interviewed by this newspaper, these sessions are still being held. These individuals said they were either a subject of caretaking meetings or were forced to follow the treatment "by the side."

They said that Executive Board members of the Central Association of Finnish Peace Associatons (SRK) as well as priests participated in the meetings.

Conservative Laestadian "Jukka" has first-hand experience of these meetings (because of his close friends, he does not want to appear in this interview with his real name).

Jukka says that current caretaking meetings are less organized and systematic than in the 1970's. Subjects are now individuals who have publicly expressed dissident opinions from the SRK's official views.

While caretaking meetings are often referred to as pastoral care in Conservative Laestadianism, Jukka has a different view.

"In those [meetings] are all the characteristics of the spiritual violence fullfilled: pressure, intimidation and blackmail."

“You may end up in caretaking if you have dissenting opinions, for example about family planning or the ordination of women, but also, for example, if you listen to rock music, go to concerts, or dye your hair."



  1. lllreader sez: Well, boy howdy this sounds like brain washing!

  2. Whether you are a strong person or a follower you are still allowed freedom of thought. Believe your own beliefs for gods sakes.

  3. And never forget to be happy where you are in freedom, is your mind your own. If not go free.

  4. It was interesting to read the article which states, "In those [meetings] are all the characteristics of the spiritual violence fullfilled: pressure, intimidation and blackmail", as I have stated the same thing in posts on this blog that the same type of baloney went on all the time when I attended my branch of the AP Church. In reality it all comes down to pressure to meet the group's norms and has little to do with actual Christianity. Years ago I finally saw through it all for the hypocracy that it was as I noticed the pharisees always made exceptions for their own dirt and the indiscretions of their families and friends. I realized as time went on that that the only real choice was to find another Biblically founded church and leave. I suppose one has to stick with it if one is bound by family members, a job or the inability to move. However, if one has a good skill and the ability to move then they will find an almost unspeakable joy in life itself once one no longer has to live near the Borg's (a race of people trying to perfect themselves in Star Trek.) Old AP

  5. @Old AP: Kudos for knowing who the Borg are. Live long and prosper.

    The more I see what I could've gone through, the more I'm glad that my grandfather isn't one of the stricter, more legalistic pastors. I might have had a much harder time of it growing up if he was.

  6. Live long and prosper.? What ever happened to be lowly and miserable? What ever happened to as long as you get safely to heaven there's no need to prosper or live long. Heaven is the goal you know?

  7. Godspeace everyone! Greetings from out east! Salutations! Pray for me. I am weak. The worldly temptations are getting to me. I have evil thoughts lusts and desires. Im on the internet. I am having such a hard time avoiding sins and not lusting and desiring and oh hell... im about to have to ask forgiveness again anyways... I will just go get drunk. :')

  8. The fatigue sets in with the incoherent sermon.

  9. ex falc says...
    To Anonymous poster on July 28, I'm not sure if you are being sarcastic or real, but if you are real, you need to ask yourself why god would want you to spend your entire life worried every second that you are sinning. Wasn't that why God sent Jesus, to save us from having to live like that? Being a christian beings joy to my life, not fear.

  10. Ive experienced that type of situation in the WA OALC.

    I was called at home Sunday morning about an hour before church and informed I was to report to a meeting with the preachers. The meeting was just minutes before church in a room off the side of the pulput/stage. After a lot of hullaballoo,where I faced 8 old men who one by one glared at me with sad, droopy eyes while telling me I would never amount to much, I was told I needed to repent before the entire congregation for "putting a dogs head on the christianity" with my talk and walk of dissention, or continue walking down the steps and out the door, away from my family and friends, from the only road to heaven and salvation etc,and I would not be welcome back.

    I was caught off guard and furious they were doing this off a hearsay story, not once asking me what I had to say about it, or what happened. I simply was talked "at"

    I went through the motions because my family was in the pews, including my kids. I mumbled a general "please forgive me for all my sins" and went through the rest of the day, and it was definately another huge stepping stone on the road out of there.

    Of course I was told by family that I had spiritual hatred and a dead heart from the devil, and was self ritious and deaf to rebuke because I thought it was very unfair and cruel.

    It still makes me so sad, for them who are still there. I hated going through it, but it forced me to stop relying on man, forced me to read the bible and discover God's word as its actually written, allowed me to discover the real God and what He really expects, and I have never regretted leaving those dynamics or that church.

  11. HP3, just out of curiosity, are you a man or a woman?

    I am not of the OALC but a friend of mine has a friend who is part of the OALC. His friend is a pot-smoking, drinking, partying kind of guy who has lived with a woman off and on for some years. He and a few cronies from the OALC frequent a certain bar in our city. He still attends church, I don't know how regularly, and big meetings and large family events. I guess there's a whole network of OALC single bachelor men across the country who live one life in church with their other foot firmly in the world. My non-Laestadian friend doesn't really understand the nuances between the different groups, and has asked me to explain, how does this fellow get away with all of this when I clearly got the shunning treatment for so much less.

    It's easy, I said, he is a MAN. A woman can't get away with anything. Past the age of adolescence, and even then, I don't see that kind of treatment of male transgressors, not even pedophiles or philanderers. It's usually reserved for females who get out of line. I remember once girl being persecuted for taking an aerobics class in the 1980s.

    Ironically, I once was introduced to this partying OALC'er. He told me I was in the wrong church, that I should go to their group because the salvation wasn't in my group. Despite his wayward lifestyle! Which is amazing because even as a ex-ish Laestadian, I'm still pretty much living the lifestyle.

  12. I recall a vague story told to me that my grandfather was once called onto the carpet by the Sanhedrin of the OALC. When I heard it, I was actually kind of surprised that he didn't take them out back and reform them. I've heard other stories about what he did do with his old bullwhip.