"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Two More Blogs from Ex-FALC

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two More Blogs from Ex-FALC

In addition to Finding My Way ...Finding My Voice which I blogged about briefly on Tuesday, two more blogs by ex-FALC discussing (among other things) their experience with sexual abuse and its cover up and enablement within Laestadianism have come to my attention:

I Am Jim. Not very many posts here, but nonetheless extremely powerful description from a former FALC preacher about the abuse he experienced and heard about, and what happened to him when he started speaking out within the church about the abuse.

Imperfect Lady. Thanks for the link, Beth. :-) Beth has been out of the FALC for over six years now, blogging about her journey since 2010.

Words really can't express the level of admiration I have for the courage these folks express by being willing to speak out against what happened to them, confront the church, and blog (in their own names!)

Free's update:

Beth's brother Carl also is blogging, at Messy Guru.


  1. Thanks Julie for posting about these blogs. Its a day off at work for me, to get housework done, and instead I'm reading their blogs! So much of it is familiar territory for me. Although I was never sexually abused, I was physically and emotionally abused in our Laestadian home and is hard work to overcome this legacy. --Stranger

  2. Tomte deserves the credit, Stranger! I've been reading the blogs as well and thinking we need a new sidebar that links to blogs like these. Here's another: http://www.erinstales.blogspot.com/

  3. Thanks for sharing my blog. As each of us add our voices together we will become a chorus of healing. As we expose our wounds, we expose those who hurt us. Our voices together will make a difference and already have. For we all feel less alone. Beth (Huhta) Jukuri
    PS, Jim's blog is just beginning to bloom, and will bring forth wonderful insights....what courage!

  4. Ex FALC says-

    I am so happy all of this stuff is finally coming out so that people can heal and live in the truth. I would also like to welcome all you new EX-FALC'ers to this blog! Most of us who are regulars to this blog are proud of you for the courage you had to leave the church and be honest about what was happening. This blog is all about helping people make the transition from the church to normal life. That's why I still keep coming back to this blog, years after I've left the FALC. I hope you like it as much as I do, and I look forward to reading your blog postings.

  5. EX-FALC, the transition from FALC life to normal life is definitely not an easy road! Ran across this blog right when I stared my transition in leaving. It has been amazing and encouraging to be able to read everyones struggles in their process of leaving.

  6. The good news about blogging our journey in words and on the internet is that it is OUR story of our walk through sexual abuse. Not your story of us. Nobody can say what is true for me nor can you say my experience did not happen the way I experienced it. I hope you never have to walk in my shoes and your children are not being abused by another church member.

  7. Two comments have been removed because they included vague, unsubstantiated claims and "doubts" about an individual. That won't be tolerated on this blog. It is a species of relational aggression that is particularly vile. If you have an issue with an individual, take it directly to him or her.

  8. Free2bme: Fair enough. I was merely trying to point out there are two sides to every story, and I didn't want to go into details because a family that is directly involved with two of the new bloggers you highlighted have been put through absolute hell because of the unsubstantiated and malicious accusations of sexual abuse leveled against them. Nobody, I repeat NOBODY, in this particular accused family has EVER made any allegations of abuse, yet they are being targeted to the point of harassment because these two are convinced it *must* be happening.

    There's a reason the congregation(s) have sided against these two. And after reading their blogs in depth and wading through the vitriol, it seems readily apparent the congregation(s) made the right choice. It's a sad situation, all the way around.

    Look, again I understand a lot of the issues people have with the FALC, the insularity, narrow focus on the forgiveness of sins, we're the only ones that are saved, etc. I get that, it's frustrating for me as well but I've decided to look past it because I actually *do* feel love there. But to allege that a "HUGE majority" (the bloggers' words) of families in the FALC are hiding sexual abuse is simply absurd if not borderline libelous. What happened to the people who were abused was horrendous, and I understand their rage. But contrary to what they'd have you believe, it's not systemic -- maybe 50 years ago it was, but not in today's day and age. I know my family would never hide something like that, and all the families I know are the same way.

    I hope you don't delete this post as well. As I mentioned, though I attend the FALC for my own personal reasons, I don't believe in everything being preached and there are issues I wish they'd change. But it is what it is, good and bad, and I don't think it's fair to offer only a one-sided portrayal especially if that portrayal is so maliciously false.

    1. Don't agree. I believe Jim and Judy 100% because I dealt with the same issues. I was shunned at 16 because I left the sexual abuse cult.

    2. Don't agree. I believe Jim and Judy 100% because I dealt with the same issues. I was shunned at 16 because I left the sexual abuse cult.

    3. I am a member of FALC and I can guarantee you that I and everyone I know from church would protect anyone from sexual abuse. I do not know the specifics of your experience but please do not try to wide brush us all like that. I truly wish you the best and hope you find happiness in life. Most people I know from church would not shun you. In fact, I see all the time people visiting those who have left and are still truly friends that care for each other. Again, I do not know what you have felt.

  9. Again, this person is using words like "maliciously false" as though he knows the facts about everything that has ever happened in the FALC. He also speaks for the FALC when in fact nobody will speak for them officially. Denial of sexual abuse does not make this a fact and historical footnote. Untreated sexual abuse can and will be passed down to new abusers.

  10. ex falc says to anonymous 7:56pm:

    Whether it's true or not, only god knows everything. It's not for you to decide. I think he is telling the truth because it's his own brother. The chance that someone would come out and say something about their own brother, knowing that the family would be ripped apart and be lying about it is very slim. I am not related in any way to this family but many of us who left the church years ago heard rumors over the years about this family, so now that it is all coming out, we are glad. The truth will lead to healing.

    As for the people you claim are being put through absolute hell, all I can tell you is that this individual is getting what he deserves. Who I am talking about is a minister in the Cokato congregation who said many horrible things about my family and many others when a big group of us left the church sometime around 2002 through 2004.

  11. I'm going to respond to comment #8 Anonymous (Thu Sep 01, 07:56:00 PM PDT) on my blog.

  12. This will be my last remark on the subject. I really should have left this alone, but it's hard not to say anything when a family you know well is being maligned. And yes, they are being maligned. I believe, along with the vast majority who know the T family, that Jim is making these accusations out of pure vindictiveness and the anger, hurt and betrayal he feels because I (and the VAST majority of the FALC) felt he no longer was preaching with the holy spirit and subsequently voted not to use him anymore.

    As for ex-falc, I take it you are one of the Grace Apostles (or were, anyway). I understand the anger you must feel as well from that period, and I'm sure ministers and members of the congregation said some hurtful things in regard to your faith and belief. But really, that makes it ok for this family to be falsely accused of one of the most horrific crimes there is? They "deserve" that, even the little kids being hauled in for interrogation (and, I repeat, NO abuse was found and all claims were deemed completely baseless)? Shame on you.

    And Judy, I don't feel that speaking out about sex abuse is wrong. Quite the opposite. I feel making false accusations, over and over, is wrong. My phrasing was a little awkward ("siding" against you) -- all I meant is that the people of the FALC who know the minister in question believe him and don't believe the allegations cast against him.

    Rape and sexual abuse is a horrific crime. The only thing I can think of that would be almost as bad would be to be falsely accused of it. You said yourself that both Law Enforcement and the FALC mission determined there was no proof to the allegations. Please do the decent, humane thing and spare this poor family the humiliation you are trying to put them through -- even if you believe it to be true as I know you do. They would like to live in peace; do you?

    1. I left 30 years and have been shunned since. I grew up in molestation and know for a fact that sexual abuse was in most families in the church . You in denial have been brought into the clutches of this cult that no one was allowed in. I have alone in a struggle to find myself because once others started to realize they have been brainwashed and the happenings in the church are not ok and no one does anything about it. So we wander away trying to find our place in the real world with no one to help. It's real and you need to embrace this.

  13. I too would like to comment on all these posts! They are made to sound like FALC members are led by one and brainwashed! I am a current and very happy member of the FALC. Our ministers are voted in by the congregation and voted out by the congregation! No one person has that much power to brain wash all of us!! The congregation wil vote out a minister who tries to gain too much power or (like Jim) no longer speaks the gospel. I am so sorry and hurt that this is all happening this way and wish all parties could go in peace! On Jim's blog he is calling out by FIRST and LAST names!!!! Judy at least had the decency to only use initials but how do you think he children feel having their life and mistakes (THAT WE ALL HAVE) published on her blog? I for one would not be happy, that is their choice to let people know their story not hers!!!! My children are being raised in the FALC and are very happy but also very aware of the happenings of the world!! We have friend inside and outside of our church! (these blogs make it sound like we are awful unsociable people) No matter where they go in life, whether with or without our church I will always support and love them. Not alienate the ones that might not believe the same as me anymore! Don't we all want our family to believe the same?
    As for Child Abuse/Molestation, I find it very insulting that the blogs refer/say that most of the children in FALC have had it done! How insulting to the many good men in the church as in my husband and father!!!! I know it is out there and would very much offer my support if I knew of someone that it was happening to! According to the blogs it sounds as if it is running rampant in FALC!!! Child Abuse/ Molestation is ALL OVER THE WORLD not just in FALC!!! Do most churches speak on it and address it daily as jim & Judy want? Just because FALC only preaches the gospel and not on worldly issues doesn't make it wrong! It is a church, that is what you go to church for. I am sure any member would support anyone in need, I know I would!! I am glad Jim has gotten help for what he did and also what was done to him, but don't agree with the attacking and accusations he is doing! Everyone that this has happened to should have support but to call out people the way he has with first and last names?!?!? It just shows what type of person would go to such lengths (on line) to bash other people and their beliefs!!! I'm so very sorry for all that he has been through but to bring others down in such a manner....is this right?
    I'm sorry we don't all believe all the same but that is the greatness of living in the U.S.A!!! We all have our right to believe how we want with out always agreeing!!
    Best wishes to you all!!!!
    Current FALC'r

    1. It's happened and church leaders are aware. I've known leaders who have.gone to judges to get members released , No jail time. It's a horrible disease and in today's age and because of schools the FALC children are learning a new truth.

    2. You are all in denial. I was smart, left this cult at 16 and was shunned. Keep believing and you will see one day. It will catch up to you.

  14. To the above Anony- You doth protest too much, me thinks. And the FALC has many less friends outside the community than you seem to think- the big families have contributed very little and all the while have been a big drain on communities.

    - Sarah

  15. Everyone says that they don't judge... they have friends on the outside... they don't agree with everything that is preached... if everyone didn't then there wouldn't be an issue. There wouldn't be child sexual abuse, there wouldn't be lies spread. There wouldn't be such an extreme degree of shunning when someone leaves.

    I agree with anonymous that said that members of the FALC who know the minister in question do not believe the allegations against him... Its quite easy to twist the truth, and lie about it. So how would you not believe him?

    However, its funny when you say that there is no way you will believe that truth, but many of the FALC have spread rumors and lies about my father and will believe them right when heard. Something to think about.

    Either way... as they say... The truth will set you free. And it will. Just wait, the question is tho... are you willing to listen? I can tell right now, you are not.

    You are saying you wouldn't stand for abuse. If you heard or knew about it you would take a stand... and yet... here are several people saying it has happened to them. And you are basically calling them liars... what needs to be done for you to believe it? You say you will if you knew it was happening... but yet you are turning a blind eye to it.

    You cannot change the truth. It will always catch up.

  16. Anonymous,
    I am curious what Jim said while in the FALC that was not preaching the gospel. Do you believe that it is possible to someone to have faith and then lose faith? Or do you believe once saved, always saved?

  17. Please Current FALC'r if you have anything to say come on over to my blog...I welcome you.

  18. Oh, how nebulous that Holy Spirit you all speak of. In the Laestadian church where I grew up, there were several ministers voted out for "lacking in the Holy Spirit." In only a couple of incidences was it truly doctrinal. I can think of only a couple of instances where it was doctrinal, where one preacher was preaching millenialism (he was influenced by some obscure Laestadian sect in Finland) and another who started preaching that remarriage after divorce was an unforgiveable sin. I know several preachers who fell out of favor and were accused of "lacking in the Holy Spirit" and this was just a political CLOAK. Some of them left, like you are accusing Mr. Torola, and some stayed. All were shunned. One slinks in late and he and his wife sit in the back and do not stay to socialize afterward. I know that "Holy Spirit" b.s. you speak of, and its nothing more than a politically-correct way to throw out a preacher that's making waves. It's probably been used since the days of Lars Levi Laestadius. That's how old it is, and my bet that load of hooey is used all over the Laestadian movement to throw out a preacher who upset the wrong, very influential family.


  19. From a current FALCer:
    I agree with Erin wholeheartedly!
    No one knows what others experiences are. What could Jim possibly gain from accusing his own brother if it wasn’t true?! People say there is no proof to these allegations……well there hardly ever is in these situations. It’s one persons word against another. People want to spare “this family” the humiliation??!! How about Jim! It sounds like Jim has gone most of his life with no one listening to or believing what he says….it’s time people start to listen. No one wants to believe that their brother, father, son or friend is capable of such horrific things, but just because you don’t want to believe it doesn’t make it any less true.
    One person complains that in Jim’s blog he uses first and last names, and says ‘‘how do you think he children feel having their life and mistakes (THAT WE ALL HAVE) published on her blog?” I think in this situation it is a lot bigger than a “mistake.”
    And as far as Jim not speaking from the gospel: Sunday school are CONSTANTLY telling kids what they can and cannot do, where they should not go, who they should not be hanging around with when they should be learning about the bible. I enjoyed listening to Jim speak. I was able to walk away with something each time.
    Don’t be so quick to dismiss a victim’s claims. Instead, support them! Supporting them might darken your picture perfect world (because of course your brother/son/friend could NEVER do anything so horrible….read that with a lot of sarcasm) but ignoring claims of abuse causes it to continue and makes the victim feel even worse!

  20. I NEVER discredited Jims claims of what happened to him....I'm just saying this is really not a church issue and The FALC is being made to sound like we are all terrible people!!! Everyone that this has happened to deserve major support and backing!!!! Every church/religious group has issues NOT ONLY THE FALC!!!! This is happening ALL over the world!! Jim got help for what he did and what he had done to him!! I wholeheartedly appllaud him!!! As for why he was voted out had absolutely NOTHING to do with his past!!! IT IS THE CONGREGATIONS (NOT INFLUENTIAL FAMILY BS) RIGHT TO VOTE IN OR OUT A MINISTER!!!!!!!!!!
    As for their children's story being on their mothers blog has nothing to do with child abuse/molestion. It was something personel to them and only them!! Not to be made public by their mother!!! It should have been their choice!!!!
    Not all on here are the truths and you all will believe what ever you want!! I don't believe the T children have been told the "TRUTH" either!! This is a topic that no one will win with...
    As for Erin's comments...thats right, no one know what each others expeiences are!! So quit nocking each other and pray for one another... That's right Erin...(not including all the child abuse issues, which have nothing to do with Jim being voted out!!!!!) the "truth" will set you free and I know the "truth". Maybe you all should sit down with someone from your former congregation for answers. As Judy said no one would answer why he was voted out...I don't believe it...Just ask again!!!!!
    No Judy...I will not address it on your blog as I am done commenting!! Like I said this can go round and round with no one winning!! I do not wish to be mocked and ridiculed for my beliefs any longer!! I have my right to religion as do you!!! I am sorry we don't see eye to eye! The sexual abuse is just one excuse to lash out at FALC! Sexual abuse is terrible and to think you say we "condone" it is just WRONG!!!! I am very protective when it comes to friends/family and would do anything to protect them from that...so NO, i don't condone it!!! Its wrong of to say it is all over our church and in our families!!!
    As for the last anonymous post...you are mocking me when I say my husband and father would never do that or did that!! HOW DARE YOU!!! I know it happens...but can whole heartedly say its never happened to me or my children!! What about yours?......thats how ridiculous this sounds!!!!! Like I said I am sorry for what Jim did and had done to him...glad he was helped... but I never condoned child abuse and really don't know about who they are speaking of in prior posts. I am just saying FALC is not the only religion/church/group with issues here.....We are obviously not perfect but neither are you or anyone else or any other religion!!
    Sarah...what "Me Thinks"...As for being a burden on the community!! We take care of family...support our school & community..are not on welfare...Talk about being cruel?!?! You don't know what our neighbors and friend outside of church think about us!!! I have had so many compliments on our family!!! I feel bad for you if you think this way.
    I'm done here!!! Not worth my time anymore!! I applaud Jim & Judy for their support on child abuse/molestation!!!!!!! I believe their are other issues for all this bitterness & hatred toward the FALC!!!
    Current FALC'r

  21. "What could Jim possibly gain from accusing his own brother if it wasn’t true?!" Several things. It allows the spread of blame ("it wasn't just me" or "this is the reason I did it"), bringing someone else down to their level (vindictiveness), and finally, a sense of triumph ("see I was right all along").

    Claiming victimhood does not automatically give you the right to be believed. Without proof, why should we believe Jim? Because he says we should? Again, people believed a different version than Jim's not because we want to "excuse" or "hide" sexual abuse or because we "didn't want to think it could happen." I base my decision primarily on a. prior claims proven false and b. character. I'm not "quick" to dismiss a victim's claims. I fully believe Beth, for example. What happened to her was horrific, and her father got hauled away for it.

    "Do you believe that it is possible to someone to have faith and then lose faith? Or do you believe once saved, always saved?" I'm sure it's possible for someone to have faith and then lose it. In fact, I'm positive. It's happened to me.

    As for the comment re: lacking holy spirit. Yes, it's quite often political. It's an inevitability if you're using a democratic voting system. Just the way it is. If you can think of a better system for choosing a minister, I'm all ears.

    (I apologize for breaking my word earlier, I guess I did have some more remarks.)

  22. My, My have we struck a nerve here and rightfully so. My father Ray Huhta was able to molest tens of girls because adults in the FALC said what FALCR said over and over. He absolutely did not have to say anything. You all do a beautiful and masterful job protecting the FALC and he did a job on all this little girls.
    Keep speaking the "faith" as they lie in wait.
    Bless Be The Tide.

  23. From previous post: As for the comment re: lacking holy spirit. Yes, it's quite often political. It's an inevitability if you're using a democratic voting system. Just the way it is. If you can think of a better system for choosing a minister, I'm all ears.

    I have a suggestion. How about training your ministers like most churches do. All the current ministers know how to do is tell you to believe your sins are forgiven. If you ask for counseling, that's the only advice you're going to get. The ministers they have right now are preaching not because of their knowledge of the bible. They are preaching because their families want them preaching. As long as preachers are hired for that reason, you're going to have power and control issues. Another idea is to bring in a preacher from another area who is not related to half of the people in the congregation. A lot of mainstream churches do that.

  24. Anonymous... "Claiming victimhood does not automatically give you the right to be believed. Without proof, why should we believe Jim? Because he says we should? "

    so.... you should not believe that minister in mn. either right? Just because he and others say he didn't do anything doesn't mean he's telling the truth. Right? Thats what im getting from what you are saying. I am glad we are on the same page now!!!

    I want to know what "proof" you are looking for. If you are waiting for a victimizer to come up to you and tell you what they are doing... you are going to be disappointed.

  25. ALL of this has nothing to do with church and all to do with a difference of opinions and hurt feelings!! Move on people!! All churches have conflicts in them!! FALC is no different then any other church!!
    Many people have issues and choose not to share with the church or make church issues!!! What about drugs...alcohol....unfaithfulness.......
    As for lies being told....I believe the I children are also being lied to!!!! As Erin said..."the Truth will set you free"....o boy has it ever!!!

  26. I see how this works...my previous comment was never posted...
    All these blogs are allowed to bash FALC, LLC, OALC but we can do nothing to speak out.
    I hope you all feel better about yourselves! What good people you all are!

    1. Hard to be good when your entire life was a secret.

    2. Hard to be good when your entire life was a secret.

  27. When people can't talk openly about things, whether it be a family issue or a church/faith issue, they turn to other outlets, such as the internet. Nobody is stopping you from starting your own blog in support of those religious organizations. Just like you can change the channel on your radio or tv, you can choose what you want to see and read.

  28. Why don't we change a few words in this post.

    I see how this works...my views are never acknowledged...
    All these people in the FALC are allowed to bash our family but we can do nothing to speak out.
    I hope you all feel better about yourselves! What good people you all are!

    Kinda sucks when you're voice isn't heard, doesn't it? We know the feeling.

  29. Erin: People have made false accusations against others since the beginning of time, and without proof (an accusation is not proof) it boils down to he said/she said (or he said/he said in this case). I told you my reasons for choosing who to believe. I can't speak for anyone else but I suspect for many others, it's for the same reasons.

    Beth: Your father was a sick, sick man. I'm truly sorry for what happened to you and the others. I don't know what happened with church members back then (and there), but I'm confident the people I know in the FALC would never sit silently if they knew something like that was going on. What happened to you was not what happens in the vast, vast majority FALC households, that much I am confident in.

    The FALC IS no different from any other church in that personality clashes abound. In an earlier post that got deleted, I observed that when these clashes happen and a congregation votes to stop using a minister, 9 times out of 10 the minister ends up leaving, often taking his supporters with him. My theory is that the humiliation and blow to their ego is too much for them to bear.

    Finally, to the commenter who suggested we train our ministers: you're confusing bible knowledge with the holy spirit/faith, whatever you want to call it. Much as it bugs the heck out of me, most FALCers prefer the simple message of forgiveness over and over (and over and over and over) every Sunday. It's soothing for them. I've accepted it, and I get my thirst for knowledge/debate etc. elsewhere. Like here. If you ask why I still attend, the answer is that I have never found another place with as much love and support. I'm sorry it's not that way for everyone.

  30. To add to my post above, there's the old adage that "the Devil can quote scripture with the best of them" (or something along those lines).

  31. I would respectfully ask the moderator at this point to delete this thread. Whichever side you believe, what has just been posted has crossed the line.

  32. I had to go and read his post after your comment. I feel like I am reading a suspense novel, can't wait to find out what it's going to say next. Sad that things have to be brought out this way, but hopefully this will change the culture of judgement and silence in the FALC.

    Why are you reading his posts if it makes you cringe?

  33. What saddens me anonymous, is that the truth is screaming at you in the face, and you take it to be lies.

    I very sincerely hope that you never will have to go thru anything like that.

    You do not seem strong enough to handle it like Jim can.

    My father is speaking his truth, that he has spoke way before he was voted out. Its not just coming out right now.

    I wish you the best. Sincerely I do.

  34. I agree the post by anonymous 8:42 was not appropriate.

  35. Vindictive? No, I don't think so. Horrible as it is to hear these stories, it is even more horrible to bottle them up inside, to never let them see the light. The truth of sin must be told; Satan wants to keep it in darkness. The Light of Christ frees the sinner from the bondage of darkness.

    Even if the perp never confesses, never seeks forgiveness, it is very healing for the victim to give voice to his victimization.

  36. For the last five years, there has been an ALC-sponsored youth camp in the Battle Ground area, for kids 14-18. (There are four seminar-style teaching sessions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.) On Sunday morning, the stage is opened up for "open mic" time, where the kids can get up and share anything that is on their hearts.

    For the past couple of years, what has been shared has been simultaneously troubling and encouraging.

    Many, many kids -- both girls and boys -- have come forth to share and ask for prayers with sins they and their families struggle with. How it tears at the fabric of their families. Things like alcohol, drug abuse, and pornography. It's more than just a few; it seems that a majority of the kids confess sin, not just generalizing but naming the sins they struggle with.

    The church has been striving to provide them with good counseling.

    The Light is beginning to shine.

    [Note that this is ALC, not Old ALC.]

  37. Il Coro,

    I agree this is a good thing for the kids. Kudos to the ALC. Even though I am not a member of that church, I respect what they are doing. They seem to be the only laestadian based church that recognizes the importance of talking openly about our problems.

  38. Crossed the line? Jim's victim should tell their story as publicly as he has told his! He is not the only victim here!
    I don't agree with that post but putting this mess with child molestation aside...there are too many lies being told about LLC, OALC, and FALC!!!! You have your story, I have mine!!!!
    Go ahead and change the you's to me or I's if that makes you feel better! Grow up people! Respect one another beliefs, ideas and religions!!
    We all have issues to deal with...so lets just deal with them and move on!!!

  39. It is curious to me that people argue while hiding behind anonomous. And then not liking us even to use real names, let alone speak out loud about real events.

    Perhaps anonomous would feel better if we were telling fairy tales.

    The tone I am recieving is that it is best to keep your sins hidden, to present a 'nicer' picture.

    What I am suggesting is that what you call 'dirty laundry' is the truth. You can't wash our childhoods clean...no amount of sin blessing will clear it up.
    ..nor if we hide behind anonomous.

    The discussion would be much more impactual and believable if people who are still in the FALC and can't see abuse would stop hiding behind anonomous.

    Anytime a comment is made using anonomous I have my doubts.

    If you believe yourself, you would use your real name.

    I only trust those willing to stand up without an allias...

    While you would like me and my story to remain anonomous,
    I am Beth Ann Huhta Jukuri

  40. What came to me, The Tabloids often use, "Anonomous Source"....

    Interesting to note, they are typically known as 'trash' papers.

    Before you click the anonomous button, this may be something to think about.

  41. "there are too many lies being told about LLC, OALC, and FALC!!!!"

    What are the lies?

    "You have your story, I have mine!!!!"

    What is your story?

    "Go ahead and change the you's to me or I's if that makes you feel better! Grow up people! Respect one another beliefs, ideas and religions!!"

    Isn't a christian supposed to show care and concern for other people? The FALC definately doesn't respect other religions. They all call other people "worldly" and say that all other churches have "dead faith". That's not respect for another's belief, ideas, and religions.

    "We all have issues to deal with...so lets just deal with them and move on!!!"

    Well, that's what we're doing now. Dealing with the issues. Openly.

    If people in the churches these people attended talked about their problems openly, there would be no need to discuss them on this blog.

  42. My My you all sound like people I would LOVE and for my children to respect, admire,and get to know and be friends with!! NOT!!!! You all sound like bitter angry people trying to get back at or hurt one another!! "Telling Your Story"...whatever, we all have our story! Should we all shout from the rooftops and look for sympathy or praise.
    I too have left should I get pats on the back and accolades for what I supposedly "went" through in the church?
    So there was a difference in opinions/ what should be done or not done in the church.....isn't that why the congregation votes on things? Guess what all?...you were NOT the majority...you lose!!! MOVE ON like I did! I Left because I didn't always agree, but still am connected and very close to many of FALC! They are NOT as bad as you all are making them sound! I respect their beliefs and they respect mine!! Isn't that how we all should be? I don't believe they are "Hiding" anything or "Hiding Behind" anything (I am very aware of all stories going around) Lies...Lies...Lies...I think all are twisting to better fit them!!! If I were them trying to defend their right to beliefs...which is what they are doing as you all are attacking...I wouldn't want my name known either if fear of you all!!
    ADIOS people! may you all move on with your lives as I have and finally be happy instead of bitter angry bullies!!!
    Matt J.

  43. I too hide behind anonymous. Sort of. Some of you know who I am. What troubles me here is that I know or am related to some of the people here. Here are my thoughts. I am a relative of I am Jim. I don't really know him because of age difference and distance. His blogs have rattled feathers and inflamed passion. The sadness is, both brothers are victims. Always always always a perpetrator is a victim first! Where did he, his brother, his uncle and all the countless sexual predators learn their behaviors? Always when they first wore the hat of victim. So what can we do? A start is for all parents to have the talk starting at age newborn, over and over, about good touch and bad touch. Tell how it is not ok and should always be reported, no matter what, if someone does things that make you uncomfortable. Secrets are bad. Bad people ask you to keep secrets. And tell it over and over. Get involved in their lives, their schools, their Sunday schools. This message needs to be shouted over and over. It needs to be part of the curriculum of life! Talk openly. Don't be shamed into silence. If you can't actively watch 10 kids and keep them safe, then don't have 10 kids. simple as that. This is a very hard topic but it needs to be discussed to put an end to this madness. The "head in the sand" style of parenting has got to stop! If you even suspect that your children are going over the line playing doctor, talk to them. Get family counseling. Don't just bless it away and bury it. Be vigilant. And if the perpetrator is an adult, all contact with them needs to be done! You are not throwing them to the wolves you are saving the children. I also know that the trauma of being a perp and being a victim can both be buried in the psyche because it is too much for the conscious mind to deal with. So when someone says, I don't remember, they could be telling the truth. Beth's mind doesn't remember but her body does. I also know that other life traumas can erase years of memories from someone. I do know that sending off your young teens to do as they wish just because they are with "the kids" is the biggest head in the sand move that one can make. There was not the "booty call" thing going on when I was with the group (to my knowledge) but it was still not a healthy environment 30 some years ago. Too much unsupervised teen time is just screaming-out-begging for trouble! A church should be a place to worship the Lord. It should be a place for the wounded to be healed. It is not a place to shelter evil that refuses to die. I know my thoughts are rambling but that is how my head is reacting to what I have been reading. I'm trying not to open the wellsprings myself here and keep this on the topic at hand.

  44. People get informed!! A good website to start with may be Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute. I found out, for example, that there is a big difference between a teen offending out of curiousity, and someone who you would call a pedophile. If you want to help prevent something, it helps to know the facts.

  45. Thank you Mari. Thank you!
    It brings to mind the experimenting teenagers who cause a young male to be placed on a sex offender registry for life.

    Some heal in public. Some try to heal in private, which is their right. They both have the right to whatever is best for their own self preservation. Please all, remember that. If we all follow the "what is best for me" and the rest be damned, oh what a sorry state that would be. It is such a hard and arduous journey to come up from abuse, be it physical, mental, spiritual or sexual. Let's try to remember that each has his own way of coming to grips.
    Sometimes someone who shares our journey wishes to remain anonymous. Is it wrong to honor their wish?

  46. Here are some other reasons why this is generating so much anger from FALC members. This will be interesting to those of you who are not from the FALC. The Torola family is a very powerful and large family within the FALC and has been for decades, ever since the FALC and LLC split in 1973. This isn't your average FALC family. If it was, it would never have gotten the attention that it did. Just like scandals with celebrities on TV, the bigger the celebrity, the more publicity. Peter Torola, Jim's uncle, died several months ago, but before he died, he had a high ranking position within the FALC. This position of power was basically given to Peter because Peter's dad Walter was viewed as a prophet or a "celebrity" within the FALC. Peter had his hands in everything, was loved and adored by everyone in the FALC and enjoyed the power that the FALC members gave him. If you were a minister in ANY of the FALC congregations, and Peter didn't like your preaching, you were "done". That's the power he had. There is ALWAYS a reason why people behave and deal with things they way they do. If you look at history, these power struggles have been going on since the Laestadian church formed in the late 1800's. One thing I did after leaving the FALC was study the Laestadian movement, so I could understand how and why certain viewpoints held by the church were formed. Sometimes, I wonder if Lars Levi Laestadias was alive today, would HE be accepted in any of those churches? I don't think he would. Laestadius was a botanist, studying plants, and he was interested in studying the Sami religion and culture. He even wrote a book about it. A current FALC member should pull out of on Laestadius's sermons recorded in thost postillas. I don't so much agree with his views, but his writings and views are not the views the FALC holds and preaches today. Something somewhere along the way got twisted. The people who attend the FALC church today should be concerned. What if that "gospel" you think belongs to you is man-made?

    This entire situation is very complicated and will take some time to unwind. I recommend putting everything out now so we can all deal with it insteal of having to prolong this any longer, and everyone can finally heal and move on.

    On a side note, Peter was the one that tried to cover up Ray Huhta. I've heard some stories about how he tried to prevent Ray from being prosecuted. Maybe some of Ray's kids can comment on that. Too bad Peter isn't alive to see all this stuff come out.

  47. Coming from an Ex-FALC, you are sick in bringing up a deceased minister who can't defend himself!! He DID not control the church as you so say!! Sexual ABuse is HORRID!! But, what about Jim's victim....you are all so focussed on him...what about who he did it to? I'm so proud of him for getting help and rising above all this, but what about them too?!?!?! Sexual Abuse is SO WRONG...but in not really a church issue!! So lets all drop it an move on!!!! Go to support groups like you all claim you have been! Create support groups!! I will whole heartedly cheer you on, but has nothing to do with FALC and all to do with PRIVATE family matters. Beth...where was your mother during all this?...quit pointing fingers at everyone else for turning their backs, what about your own family. I admire you for healing and continuing you life in such a manner

  48. Anonymous 12:31
    1. It is a church issue when forgiveness is taught as the way to handle a pedophile.
    2. If you follow the link to Beth's blog you will see where Beth's mother was. Following the dictates of the church, standing by her man. Keeping her family intact.
    3. The church is made up of the people who belong. The beautiful, good, band and some downright evil. But if the leaders of the church know of someone perpetuating evil on children and they do nothing, they bring that evil into the doors of the sanctuary.
    4. Sanctuary should mean safety, peace, beauty. If a child has to sit in that space in view of their abuser, is there peace for them? Or is the peace only for the perp because he can just have his sin blessed away?

    1. I am very late in reading some of this blog. I am a FALC member who is happy to be a member. If someone was a pedophile, he should have been turned into the authorities with no hesitation. This would be a huge error to say the least. TO forgive a pedophile is okay but they should still be turned into the authorities to protect others and perhaps to help the victims. I have never heard anyone saying anything differently. I think we agree on most things regarding this subject. I truly hope others who are reading this do not believe the wide brushes of insults on this blog.

    2. I also am a member of FALC and agree that abusers should be turned in to the authorities. This is separate from forgiveness. It is the duty of everyone to protect the helpless.
      It is somewhat difficult to read some of the negative and perhaps hateful comments on this blog(from different sides) but I also understand how emotional and important these subjects are.
      No, abuse(sexual, physical, emotional, etc) is not running rampant with everyone turning their backs to it. Though one case of abuse is one too many.
      I truly hope that if there is someone reading this blog that understands they are an abuser, that you turn yourself in. I would also like to reach out to those who know of abuse or have been abused yourself, that you get the proper help and learn about it. Protect yourself as well as others. Abuse should be reported. It does not matter what affiliations they belong to. Not only are you helping the victim and future victims but you will be helping the abuser as well.
      The subject of abuse is tough, especially if you are close to it but it is not supposed to always be easy to do the right thing.

      I had some trouble setting my name attached to this comment so I selected Anonymous.

      Mark Tulkki

  49. Anonymous, if this was a simple matter of "faith" and disagreeing with the church... I would gladly move on without looking back. But when there is child sexual abuse involved that is deeply embedded in the church and hidden generation after generation... so really you cannot just "move on".

    And the difference is this... if you offend and don't get help, you could still be a potential threat to other children. If you get help, you can stop from abusing again. My father has nothing to hide. He has owned what happened. I cannot say the same for many other people.

  50. Erin,
    if you father has owned what happened...why isn't he telling the story of what he did to his victim? You all keep ignoring this question!!!

  51. I would like to comment to the person who asked for a comment from the Huhta's. I am one. Thank you so much for the history of the FALC and your well thought out words. I believe you. This all makes perfect sense why my father was allowed to continue on. He had the help of the church leadership. I would have never thought in a million years he would be protected by anybody in the FALC. And why? He was not a good father, he cheated on my mother, he abused my sisters, nieces, neighbor girls. He is evil. I thought we had the "wrong" last name and were worthless in their eyes. Instead, the kids are worthless and my father is saved.
    Please "friend" me on Facebook check out my blog. I would like to talk to you some more. Carl A. Huhta

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. I want to applaud and apologize to the Huhta children. I believe my church the FALC might have ignored these issues back in the day. No one deserves to go through what you did alone!! You can bet if anyone that I new had this or is happening to I would support and back them 100%!! Child Molestation is a HORRIFIC crime that no child should have to face...especially alone!
    As for the other family I have no idea who to believe in the matter and seems so full of lies and betrayals!!
    No offense to anyone, just not a church issue to me although if still happening today I know I could count on my fellow brothers and sisters in faith without a doubt!
    Best of luck to you all!

  54. No Erin...he has not told that story!!!!

  55. I love you Huhtas and feel deeply for what happened to you. As for Jim, here's my take. He was offended by being let go from speaking, his pride got hurt,he, his wife and family got mad and left. Now, they're bringing up an unfortunate incident from almost 40 years ago. Boohoo Jim get over it! And Judy is whining about how many kids she had. Boohoo! And now they are lying about the church being infested with pedophiles because their pride has been hurt!

  56. I will comment as a Huhta. Here is what I know for sure, in my experience.

    At the time it was brought to my attention that my father was a pedophile, I was attending church, my children were in Sunday school, or had already been confirmed. I wasn't what you would call an avid member, but a member nonetheless.

    I had ONE phone call from the people of the church, and Peter Torola did not arrive at my door to offer his condolences or words of advice.

    Oh and one of my old neighbors called and left a message, but I was not ready to listen to platitudes about why she knew and did nothing....so I never returned her call.

    Members of the FALC, turned away from me when they seen me coming, or glanced and looked quickly away, at least for the first months. Then I spared them the uncomfortableness and steered clear.

    It makes more sense to me that Pete tried to stop the trial, although it is revolting to even consider, for he was nowhere to be found in victims homes.

    In fact a sister and I often made silly BAAA BAAA sounds, like we are lost sheep, and Pete isn't tending his flock real well.

    It could be he was tending the flock...He was tending to my father....not the girls.

    I too would like you to friend me on facebook and further the conversation as to how Mr. Torola tried to stop my father's trail. Imagine. I can't even comprehend why or how?

    I do know that my brother had a complete about face after talking to members of the FALC. He went from tearing apart his garage and screaming until he was horse, to sitting calmly after Blessing his father for molesting his own daughter. He is still in the church.

    And maybe some believe you don't have the right to press charges after forgiveness. I can't be sure. That could be what was meant by Pete Torola wanting to stop the trial.

    The prosecutor at the time was a member of the FALC....so that too is something to consider.

    I am open to anyone contacting me...all my info is on facebook.


  57. Why doesn't Jim talk about his molesting of someone? Well for one, I think that would not be right because the VICTIM still has the right to their anonymity! If they want the story to come out, it is up to them.This isn't fodder for gossip. This is the right to privacy for the person he has ADMITTED victimizing!

  58. I am a current member of the FALC and happy with where I am at. I can understand why the Huhta's and Jim have left the church, but I am not in agreement with them on that and will leave it at that.

    I do respect Jim and the Huhta's courage to speak out on the sexual abuse that has taken place. I am not quite so sure that I would agree with Jim's comment on sexual abuse being rampt in the FALC, but I certainly agree that this is a problem with sexual abuse among some members of the FALC.

    Let's think for a minute about the kids being affected and how they are affected by this. Is it more important to try to protect a membor of the church, family member or the church itself's pride or try to help some defenseless child that has thier childhood stolen from a sexual predetor?

    It is time to stop wiping this under the rug and to start openly discusssing this to prevent it from happening to other kids and help the persons that have been victims of sexual abuse. Anyone that says this is not taking place in the FALC is either blind or lying. As difficult as it may be, It is time to start admitting it, discussing it and dealing with it.

    Chad Arvola
    Annandale, MN

  59. I agree, it is time to start being honest and open about what has gone on. We live in the 21st century, not the dark ages.

    I don't attend the FALC because I've seen many people shunned for a variety of reasons and the reasons didn't seem christian-like to me. That was my "breaking point". The leaders in the FALC should have been there, at least for the Huhta family, when their case about their dad became public. The FALC has the ability to become a healthy church, with the right leadership. Chad, maybe if people like you step up and have a voice in all this, things will change. I think the old generation of people who knew of any of the abuse going on and didn't do anything should step down.

    The Laestadian Lutheran Church's group in Finland, the SRK, made national news in Finland recently because certain people came forward with many cases of abuse that had been covered up for decades. They finally came out and made a public statement about it. There are links to those articles on this blog if you look back a few months. An article about this issue was also published in their church's monthly publication in the United States. I think acknowledging the problem is a huge step in the right direction. I applaud the LLC/SRK for that. I think the FALC should do the same. The longer they don't do anything, the worse the church looks to us on the outside.

  60. "Boohoo get over it", "let it go", "stop talking about it, move on." For christians these statements seem heartless and downright mean. Physical, emotion, and sexual abuse are not like a scrape on the knee that heal up and go away to be forgotten so easily. I'm not sure that it is something that will ever completely heal.
    As for the person who wants Jim to tell what happened to his victim...really?? You want details? Why would a person want to hear that? does it make it any more/less worse depending on the details of the incident(s)? I care less about what exactly happened, with who, how many times, etc. I care more that its not happening now, it wont happen again, and he is healing and becoming a better person because of it and/or despite it depending on how he sees it...and bringing awareness to people. Is it not enough for him to admit it happened and to live with it for a lifetime? What more do people want from him? Oh yes, that's right. Just keep quiet.

    For the record, i can understand your need to defend the falc. Im sure it feels like a personal attack if you are a member. The beauty in all these discussions and experiences and opinions (no matter how painful they may be from any angle) is that it is our personal freedom to have them. And a bonus is we can even learn from them.
    Amy Byrne

  61. I am not sure how come it says, "Katie says..." and then ends with Chad???

    However, I love that you want to open up the dialogue and at least see that there is 'some' abuse, instead of being so defensive.

    Abuse is very hard to deal with, for it is attached to families. And families are attached to religion and the bonds on both are very very strong.

    However, IF you can see those of us who are willing to speak our truth and shamelessly stand before you, we hope it will encourage others to do the same. Speaking of our experiences are not meant to do anything, but open eyes that there is behavior going on within families who happen to also be church members. And some, like Jim and I have chosen to leave in order to heal. It was our way.

    The proper social graces on this is not written anywhere. And perhaps what we have to say isn't spoken of in polite company, but not saying anything isn't working.

    As Jim and I continue to speak from the outside if you will, it would be awesome if folks on the inside did the same.

    What Carl and I have both said, is that our damage has already been done, we are not doing any of this to save our children or selves. We just do not want to be one of the folks who knew and said nothing.

    Begin the conversations. Begin to speak up when you hear of abuse and share this info with the authorities. This needs to get out from the inner circles.

    One by one your strength to stand will encourage others. We are standing on the outside speaking...waiting for the voices inside to join us. Together we can make a difference.

    Thanks for saying your name.
    Beth Jukuri