"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Who's Who in the OALC

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Who's Who in the OALC

Readers, I found this comment from 2010 on my hard drive and wonder if anyone can update the list of OALC preachers, at least for North America, as I am interested in contacting them.

Seriously, this whole issue of naming or not naming preachers needs to be dedramatized somewhat and put into proper perspective. After all, the identities of the leading preachers in Sweden (where they are, as you know, called elders), Finland, Norway and North America can hardly be classified information since they're named in every issue of Rauhan Side, the quarterly magazine published by the Finnish branch of the movement. The leading preachers of each country appear as as the signatories of the letters the different national branches send to each other several times a year. These letters are, of course, published in Rauhan Side. RS publishes as well detailed information about the travel programme of the leading Finnish preachers (lähetysmiehet) for the season. The newest issue, for example, lists in detail their travel programme for the rest of the winter and the spring. Note that only the leading preachers (that is, those who are called to preach at other localities as well than their own and who are in regular contact with the leading preachers of other countries) are systematically listed. Local preachers may occasionally be named in articles if the context warrants it. Each issue of the magazine has, after all, only about 24 pages and I guess that naming each and every local preacher in every issue would simply take too much space. 
The names? Here you go. 
Sweden: Levi Larsson, Lars Larsson, Gunnar Persäter, Odd Minde, Ulf Bolsöy, Bror Erkstam, Håkan Gustavsson, Göran Larsson, Hans-Olof Wettainen and Sven-Åke Blombacke (Evald Larsson, who was born in 1917, passed away four days before Christmas). 
Norway: Hans Stormo, Jakob Pettersen, Ludvig Johnsen, Jens Jensen, Martin Trondsen, Odd Fagerjord, Roald Bolle, Otto Skog, Erling Reinslett, Kjell H. Stormo, John Skog, Aarild Aasberg, Sigurd Trondsen, Arvid Horn, Knut Lindgaard, Rolf Trondsen and Karl Nikolaisen. 
North America (USA and Canada): Wilbur Koistinen, David Hendrickson, Daryl Redinger, Paul Heidegger, Harold Homola, Max Williamson, Don Homola, Terry Hilliard, Randy Blakeman, Lason Lindberg, Ryan Wantaja, Leo Tanninen and Charles Lobbestael. 
Finland: Pekka Liuksiala, Tapio Laukkanen, Pauli Väänänen, Raimo Haimilahti, Seppo Parviainen, Heikki Purtanen, Eino Ruusula, Seppo Karhu, Sakari Siltala, Olavi Simolin, Toivo Kärki, Markku Oksanen, Pauli Nuutinen, Reino Haimilahti, Unto Rantanen, Arvo Konttinen, Veli-Matti Koskimaa and Timo Hämäläinen. 
Remember: as I said, these are just the leading preachers. And, just to be sure that everybody has understood: as this comes from the official publication of the Finnish branch, this is definitely NOT classified information. I haven't named any preacher that would be active only at local level, but I'm certainly not aware of there being any sort of taboo against naming them as well. The local preachers of the LLC congregations, for instance, are named on their websites. I simply don't see why any person with an intact sense of proportion should make an issue of this.
Another Finn 


  1. None of it is secret yet within the Laestadian groups there are strong feelings that things should be 'kept within the congregation' and that 'unbelievers should not know' what the congregation actually believes. There are two levels of beliefs within most Laestadian churches-one set is what they say they believe and the other set of beliefs is what they really believe. Outside scrutiny of a congregation's actual beliefs is really not welcomed so your disclosure would be frowned upon if not condemned. Old AP

    1. And this was learned at my church? My parents certainly didn't teach me such oddities. Preachers r reluctant to post their names and do not trust entirely the web..anyone with good sense know everything on the web is not truth..its still a good resource and a lot easier than encyclopedias

  2. Other than Dale Schlecht and Russel K. I cannot help with the list.

    To Old AP--
    True Christianity does not shut out, it opens its doors and steps out into the world to seek and save the lost. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not…willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    Your religion has created a god to fit your mold and serve your purpose, which is idol worship.

    Even the Pharisees believed in God.

    Your legalistic religion teaches that Christ’s work on the cross was not enough and tramples on the gift He offers.

    A church is just a building, but the church body of Christ is all Christians all over the world who have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation and thus have received a new spirit and the promise of eternal life; it’s not complicated.

    Your religion does not teach the gospel message.

    It's not too late; don't be lead like a sheep to the slaughter.

    Peace by piece

  3. I agree the church does not preach the Bible gospel of good news. How about writing it down in a paragraph or two. Some people may need help to undertand.

  4. Peace by piece....you sound like you are incoherent as you try to lecture me about my 'legalistic' religion. I am not a member any more...rather I am an ex-member. My views are quite clear if you read any of my posts whereas you seem to be all over the map. You might want to try explaining to everyone what YOU believe versus trying to tell me what I believe as none of what you wrote is true. Old AP

  5. Let me see if I can take a stab, Old AP. It can be summed up with, "my view of Christ/God/The Bible is correct. Yours is not, and so you're damned to hell."

    As I've noted earlier, it's always amusing to me how many ex-Laestadians rail against their church of origin for their rigid beliefs, etc., then come on here to preach their "new" understanding using much of the same dogmatic language. I'm an atheist, Peace by Piece ... care to condemn me too?

    1. FreeThinker, I do not find fault in you being an atheist as I too had severe reservations about any religion after leaving Laestadianism. I sort of figured it all might be a bunch of baloney....sort of like an escape for people who could not or did not know how to cope with life and living with each country essentially 'inventing' a religion that suited their own class of people. In my case I believe that bit by bit God led me to a much higher truth than what I had ever heard of in Laestadianism. In reference to your other comment, IMO apostates from Laestadianism have a strong tendency to want to move to another dogmatic religion as Laestadianism, as we know it, is very dogmatic. It is sort of like the person who keeps moving from one abusive relationship to another. It is not comfortable but it is familiar. Old AP

    2. Truth be told, Old AP, I probably don't qualify as an Atheist under the standard definition. It's hard to label myself at the moment, part of that is I'm still searching. Spiritual Freethinking Agnostic Deist is probably close. But I have rationally concluded that the God of the Bible is nothing more than myth, and most equate that with Atheism, so I use it for brevity's sake.

    3. FreeT, I'm not exOAL, but I married into it and I see the destruction it causes. And it's not my place to condemn you or anyone; I'm not perfect just like everyone else. I wasn't raised in any faith actually. My "new understanding" has come by my own searching and finding, and yes through the Bible, not by any church or religion, because God's a pretty good teacher. I can understand why people leaving the Laestadianism religion would be bitter. Peace by Piece

  6. North America: Paul Heidegger passed away. Steve Halme, Tony Wiliamsom, Ronald Jouppe, William Homola, Lorin Lehtola are also all missionaries ("local leaders" and traveling preachers)

    Elders: Levi passed away

  7. I am not old AP, but if you are a "rational thinker", you could only conclude that the Bible is the only holy book that is proven true. God used many of his prophets to forcast 100's of prophecies that have been fulfilled. NO other so called holy book can claim that.

  8. Sorry pal. While parts of the Bible are worthwhile, it is FILLED with inaccuracies, contradictions and outright falsehoods. Literally hundreds, if not thousands. I won't bother getting into them all here, as for me the topic is tedious, but read Ed's book at ExaminationOfThePearl.org for a start, if you dare.

    And yes, almost EVERY other holy book makes an Exclusive Truth claim.

  9. Here are the elders. Levi Larsson passed away some years ago. Lars Larsson, Gunnar Persäter, Odd Minde, Ulf Bolsöy, Bror Erkstam, Håkan Gustavsson, Göran Larsson, Hans-Olof Wettainen, Sven-Åke Blombacke, Egil Ekhorn and Fredrik Lantto. Hope I spelled them right. Not Swedish or Lappish;) I know the elders are real nice and lovely and if u have some "strange" questions they dont run away from u...

    Another question for u out of topic. The hymn "Oh fallen star" can I find it in another text with the same tune or some hymn or song with the same melody(tune)? I like that tune... Impossible to find it on the net....

    Esko K

    1. Some thoughts:

      When Håkan Gustavsson was made an elder, I remember some people talking, as if it were a fact, that he's the last elder. Assuming the world would end in a few year's time. And now he's in the middle of the list with several new names coming after him. :)

      It is also interesting that one of the youngest elders was actually born in Norway. I don't know if that has ever happened before.

    2. I think there is some elders borned in Norway before the new one. P-O Fjalldahl(Mieri Pietari)? And if this is the first one, who cares? Why should that matter?
      The story of Hakan as the last elder, where have u heard that? Never heard that here in Scandinavia.
      The hymn "Oh Fallen star"??? Please help me find that song on the net or some other with that tune....


    3. Yes, that's right, P-O Fjelldahl was actually born in Norway. So this is not the first one. Well, it's kind of strange because Norway is not Lapland, so if they are called the Elders of the Swedish Lapland, and one of them is not from the Swedish Lapland, but from Norway, it kind of undermines the whole story of Swedish Lapland having the best understanding in everything if they are choosing their elders among those who didn't grow up there.

      It was actually some Finns who said they thought Håkan was the last elder...

  10. Anon 4/15/2013 07:19:00...
    Totally getting away from what the posting was about, but I couldn't help it...
    I would say that if YOU were a rational thinker, then YOU would conclude that there is no "rational" way that any account of these "prophesies" could be accurate, therefore they could not be "fulfilled." That is, again, if you were a rational thinker. If you knew a bit more about rational thinking and prophesies, you would probably be alarmed at what Nostradamus prophesied, and how it aligned with your Bible. Anonymous, since you didn't identify yourself, I'm curious as to what your current position is, and why you would choose to go into attack mode.
    FreeThinker is dead on, almost every other "holy" book makes that type of a claim.
    If you were not quite so focused on the prophesies and whether or not they'd reach reality at the specified time, you might actually enjoy some of your spiritual journey and walk.
    Why is it so important to us label ourselves, anyway?

  11. Olavi Simolin passed away too.

  12. Thanks for the updates on the preacher list. Now here's another question. Do any of the men in that list have training in counseling or pastoral care?

    1. Nothing that I've ever heard of. They receive their training from eachother.


    2. Free, I'm kind of interested to see where you're going with this. :)

    3. I think you can tell what kind of counseling/pastoral care training they receive by the advice they give. And also what kind of Biblical knowledge they possess.

    4. 'Training in counseling or pastoral care' is virtually non-existent unless things have dramatically changed over the past years. I would say that the level of 'counseling' by Laestadian speakers is at a 'Bronze Age' level where selected Bible verses are used to maintain the congregational status quo and essentially keep people in their place. In contrast, life is complex and so are people's issues and thus flippantly using Bible verses does not cut it with regards to counselling. I notice how most Laestadians now will not hesitate to use the most modern of medical procedures instead of relying on herb poultices, bleedings and prayers which were the mainstay 150 years ago. In like manner there have been huge advances in the understanding of the human brain and its corresponding emotions over the past 150 years. This has opened up the medical field to pharmacological treatments of depression as well as having opened up a plethora of counselling fields to help people cope with life events. Biblical/faith based counselling can be an adjunct to professional help but it is not a substitute for professional type counselling. If my memory is correct, seeking professional help was greatly frowned upon if not even condemned within Laestadian circles as one was expected to rely on old 'Bronze Age' treatments to include sin poultices (contemplating one's errors), mental bleedings (confession) and prayers (asking forgiveness for one's wicked thoughts). Of course, none of these 'Bronze Age' approaches work and hence the problems continue to fester. Old AP

    5. Hi

      I have never seen that they use selected bible verses at OALC. The elders and other preachers here in finland and scandinavia preach from all different places and NEVER read just one verse, they always read all the chapter in sermons so thats big BS....Offcourse some have a place they like more but thats the not wrong, they still preach from all over the book... Just ask the elders about that and see what they tell u and try to speak them down by some verse u pick. I think their bible knowledge is much higher than many others and not just some selected verses....thats more common in other churches I´ve been to.
      Please help me to find the hymn "Oh fallen star" on the net or some other hymn with the same tune???? Im just a dumb finn so;)


    6. Esko, I'm sorry I also couldn't find that song. It is a nice song and maybe someone on here who has God given talent would be kind enough to record it and post on YouTube for us! :-)
      As for the picking of only certain places in the Bible I agree with the others. I have searched all of the available recorded sermons in the OALC, such as the fathers voice, Postillas etc. and have not found many places of the Bible. Such as the place where Jesus let's the adulterer go, any reference to the older brother's spiritual condition in the passage of the prodigal son and a lot more and I have also found that they repeat many of the same passages especially if the passages seem to speak of disobedience or a womans place. (The OALC church offers a little book that cross references Their recorded sermons with the Bible, although its not complete, it makes it easy to see what passages they skip and also speak on often)


  13. Excellent analogy, Old AP. I suspect many OALCers know that believing only in the science that pertains to one's specific medical problem is hardly rational, but the social cost of intellectual integrity is (in popular lingo) too damn high.

    Esko, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Do the preachers there get any training from the State Church? Of any kind, in spiritual or other matters? I am wondering if the education of preachers is different in Europe than it is here in the USA.

    As for O Fallen Star, I think this is song written by an American OALCer. I can't find it online. I remember singing it a lot as a teenager and while the tune is lovely, it is kind of silly to imagine a star with feet. (Unless we're talking about Elvis with the blue suede shoes?)

    O Fallen star in that far off land
    Retrace your footsteps to the homeland shore
    For Jesus loves you, he cares for you
    O Fallen star come, and shine once more.

  14. We are being too harsh regarding pastoral assistance for mental health issues. My sister, who is in therapy, has received a lot of help and counseling from her local OALC minister. He has worked with the therapist, including attending a couple of sessions. His advice to my sister was remarkable and comforting. To say I was amazed is an understatement! I was so pleased to see he, at least, is in the 21st century.

    Many Blessings to all the new voices on this blog. It is so nice to see that this site connects with you, too. Those of us who have been around for a few decades wish a rapid transition for you, though we each progress at our own speed and in our own time.

    Take care and God Bless,

  15. Sisu, I am so encouraged by your sister's story and hope you share it with the ex-OALC Facebook group.

  16. http://www.rauhanside.fi/
    Here you find updated list of spring services in Finland, with names of the preachers.

    There are a couple of new young(?) preachers on tour... while Simolin and Oksanen passed away, and T. Laukkanen is old enough to stay in his hometown.

    I really like to read your blog, thanks a lot!
    greetings from Finland