"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Questions OALCers Want to Ask But Can't (Volume One)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Questions OALCers Want to Ask But Can't (Volume One)

Thanks to "My View" for the following guest post, and to all of you for helping shed light on the mysteries of Laestadianism, American-style. Let's get some answers here!—Free

Even though most OALCers were born and raised in the church, we never paid much attention to its theology, policy, and traditions as we grew up. Some of us, when we get older, tend to take a closer look. It seems to be offensive to openly ask these questions withink the church, however, so we resort to posting them here, and hope to get them addressed.  
I speak not only for myself but for many others. Some of us have left the church, and some of us are sitting in the pews wondering why we are still here, while others are truly just wanting to clarify the teachings from the OALC so we can understand and answer these questions that the world will pose to us. It has been taught to tell the world to “come see,” but sometimes that’s not enough.
    These are questions we have asked ourselves,  or that have been asked of us, that we didn’t have the answers to. Some may seem simple, but we really don’t want the easy, pat answers. We don’t want speech-making rhetorical answers either.  We want the truth. While some questions are obviously answerable by looking into the Bible, we ask them here to clarify the OALC stance. If the answer can’t be found in the Bible, we want a very clear answer and worthy purpose for it. "That’s how we’ve been taught” is not a satisfactory answer.  

    Below the words sin, taught, and wrong are used interchangeably, so please don’t reply with “that isn’t sin” or “that isn’t what is taught.” Please humor our wording. We know that the preachers may not actually preach "from the altar" that a certain thing is “sin,” but these sins are still commonly known and taught in the congregation and in families. So please, for the sake of clarification, honesty, and respect, don’t answer like you are a salesman trying to sell a used car. Most of us have either taken the car for a test drive or we are passengers, so we know that it isn’t “as good as new.” If there is a bad part, or you don’t know, please just acknowledge it. 
    1. Why are men’s neckties a sin?
    2. Why don’t OALCers tithe?
    3. Why is any and all alcohol a sin except communion wine?
    4. Why is bowling sin? Roller skating? Movies? Dancing?
    5. Why are sports sinful? Are there some acceptable forms of sports? If so, what is acceptable and what isn’t, and why?
    6. Why is shaving legs not a sin but plucking eyebrows is? Can a man trim his overgrown nose and ear hair?
    7. Why are amusement parks a sin?
    8. Why is traveling to Hawaii a sin but traveling to Florida not? Or is traveling to all warm climates taught to be a sin?
    9. Why is not okay to display family photos on a wall, but okay to post graduation, wedding announcements, and Christmas card photos on a fridge or bulletin board?
    10. Why can’t we take photos in the church at weddings and other special times?
    11. Why are Tupperware and other sales parties wrong, while inviting other OALCers to craft/furniture sales/bazaars isn’t?
    12. Did an OALC preacher really say that laughing was a sin?
    13. Why are so many OALCers on depression and anxiety medicine?
    14. Why can elementary kids perform in a play but the high school kids and adults can’t?
    15. Why is makeup not allowed? Jewelry? Hair style? Tattoos? Piercings? Trimmed beards? Long/short hair?
    16. Why is music a sin?
    17. Did Laestadius have an organ in his home? Is it true that the Elders in Sweden have organs in their homes?
    18. Why are parenting classes wrong?
    19. Why is gambling sin?
    20. Why is a Christmas tree a sin but other Christmas decorations aren’t? Is a wreath taught to be sin?
    21. Why are playing cards a sin?
    22. Why do girls and women cover their heads with a scarf in church? Should they be covered for “the Patch,” praying at home, or hearing or talking of Christianity with family or friends?
    23. Why is it sin for a female to wear pants?
    24. Why, if one sin isn’t greater than another, is toenail polish serious but gossip isn’t?
    25. Why are woman beneath men?
    26. Why is the girls’ 6th grade (HPV) immunization wrong? If the reason is “we don’t want to portray that it’s OK to be promiscuous,” what about protecting virgins who marry men who are carrying this sexually-transmitted disease? What about girls who are sexually assaulted? Shouldn’t they be protected from this disease as much as God made possible?
    27. If God gives us the gifts of disease protection, which are sinful and which aren’t?
    28. If a woman’s husband is a “worldly,” is it ok for a woman to lead, or disobey her husband in spiritual or natural matters?
    29. If a woman is married to an OALCer who wants her to do something considered a sin, should she disobey him, try to correct the matter, teach him the correct way, or blindly accept her lot in life?
    30. Why is birth control a sin? Are there any exceptions? If a mother extends the time of breastfeeding to not get pregnant, is this sin?
    31. Is it a sin for a wife to refuse sex with her husband for any reason?
    32. Why shouldn’t we “study” the bible?
    33. Why doesn’t the OALC have weekly Bible study?
    34. Does the church believe the same in Finland, Sweden, and Norway? What are the differences? What are OALC lifestyles like in each country?
    35. Why is it taught that we shouldn’t hang out with “worldlies”?
    36. Why do the OALCers call people outside of their church “worldlies” even if these “wordlies” believe in Jesus? Why do they call them people of “dead faith” if they don’t truly know what is in that person’s heart?
    37. Why do some congregations hold things to be sin while another OALC congregation doesn’t hold it to be a sin?
    38. Why do OALC members “salute?”
    39. Is saluting with “gus’speas” a form of blasphemy? Is it taking God’s name in vain if a person isn’t actually thinking and meaning what they say?
    40. Can a person do all of the OALC “sins” and still be a true Christian?
    41. Why does the OALC church today seem so much like the Pharisee’s self-righteous religion of the Bible?
    42. Is the King James Version and/or the original texts truly inspired by God? Are they inerrant? Why read the KJV only (King James Version)?
    43. Do the Elders in Sweden use the KJV? If not, does their Bible have all of the books the KJV has?
    44. What are the translation errors in the KJV? Is it really a sexist bible? Was KJV translated from other translations or the original texts? What is the most accurate English Bible translation?

      In your comments, please include your name or alias, and use the question number so it's easier to track which one you're responding to. Please reference your church branch, too, as each may have a different answer. The more details in your answers the better; please cite sources if you can.

      Respectfully and candidly,

      My View


    1. This volume one??? So that means there's more. I thought the LLC was rigid, but the OALC is the LLC on crack.

      Beezlebub, Spawn of Satan

      1. I know you're being facetious, Beezlebub, but your sig remindd me of one of the most wonderful things about my deconversion to pantheism: the loss of the Fear of Hell. What a release to realize that all of these "sins" My View lists out are just human behaviors, and you're not going to a lake of fire for daring to experience this short life.

        Speaking of which ... wow, that's quite the list. For all its faults, the FALC apparently is a hippie commune compared to the OALC.

      2. I am being facetious. There is something liberating on a personal level about not taking these things to seriously.

        The issues I take seriously, but not the trivial details.


    2. You forgot one of the biggies:

      WHY ARE PERPETRATORS OF CHILD SEX ABUSE NOT REPORTED TO THE LAW! Why are victims urged to forgive and forget. Why are dangerous criminals trusted and allowed to go free in secrecy, to re-offend. Why?!

      Above all else, that's what I'd like to know.


      1. Not only 'urged into forgiveness and forgetting' but have to come face to face with their abusers to do so. AND, they are expected ask for forgiveness as well, from the person who sexually abused them. And this is how they deal with it. There are no consequences or repercussions to the abusers. AND, are set free to abuse again. Which statistics of this behavior suggest that the cure rate is very slim.

        If the church leaders are not responsible, what of the other adults within the church? When do you stop doing what is 'urged' and start engaging common sense and outrage?


      2. Beth,
        You asked "when do you stop doing what is urged and start engaging common sense and outrage"
        That's a good question and I think this blog is an extreme help for the ones who are trying to use their common sense. For me, it all started with a Queston that the church and it's people couldn't (or wouldn't) answer. I find it odd that people from the "world" can answer the questions and know more about the oalc than the people raised in the church however if you're not an insider you wouldn't know to even ask half of these questions because they don't feed the world "tough meat".

        when you are a teen the culture can be extremely fun. But them your expected to date and and get married. You do because it's what you think you want but in later years (if you're not exhausted from the babies) a person starts to wonder and ponder the religion on a deeper level. It's to bad that by then you are already into it up to your eyeballs and it's not an easy thing to question or to leave. It's so much easier to just go with it. thanks to "free" and all of you posters and commutators for making it a little easier and a little more bearable for the ones who leave and even for the ones who decide to stay.

        -My view

        P.S volume 2 will cover the sex abuser issue

    3. I can't even imagine having other people basically control every aspect of my life. Reading this just makes me happy to be free from it all.


    4. I think it (oalc) used to trust a lot more upon each congregant's holy spirit. Now it has evolved into fear-based legalism. It's so sad. 'This is wrong because we say it's so', instead of believing the holy spirit can and will guide each soul daily, through a myriad choices. At least that's the way I see it.

      Thought of another question I'd like to ask but can't:

      How come my co-workers knew I was a spiritual, god-loving Christian (and treated me accordingly) even though I had makeup and pants on (& not the ubiquitous skirt)-?


    5. The list isn't so unbelievable, but the fact that thousands follow it....without knowing the why of it all....only the consequences of NOT following. That is crystal clear. Stay within the guidelines and be treated with kindness....step out and all hell will break loose!

      It is way more directed by the consequences of not following the rules, instead of there being a solid basis for the rule.

      I for one can't wait to hear the actual spiritual reason that a women can't wear pants...along with the rest.

      And, what will happen when there is no satisfying answer?
      Will the members of the church rebel? Will they start to discount the long held fast rules?

      When you are raised to follow in fear, it will be fear that you will have to overcome in order to gain back your freedoms. The fear of the repercussions that made you follow in the first place.

      Will the preachers actually start dropping the long held rules, when the basis to keep the folks following was to put the fear of hell in place. Will they remove the fear and how will that be done?

      Are any of us really believing that you can change these strict fear based churches? And, can it be done from a grass roots level? When the grass roots are grown to follow, not lead.


    6. I can't wait to hear the long awaited reasons either! Do you think anyone will answer the questions?
      maybe we all should print and mail them? Just bombard them! :-D

    7. Oh Free, there are so many misconceptions or partial truths in the list, I would hardly know where to begin. I do wish to respond later, referring to the numbers, but just can't at this moment.Thank you. An OALC'er.


      1. Meditator,

        I'm not sure how a question can be partially true but, by all means, please tear the questions apart one by one.

        I know there are many questions but you could start with a few.

        -my view

      2. As a person not raised in the OALC but had gone for many years and left and has thought of going back. I would like to hear some of the answers or thoughts about these questions. They are many of the questions I have and part of the reason I have not been able to fully commit to the church. That and my husband has never gone and doesn't go to church, which make it very hard for me.

        God Bless

      3. Meditator, I hope we hear back from you.

    8. LLLreader has some questions. Was Laestadius a prophet? Juhani Raattamaa worked with LLL in developing the religion and was the one who suggested to Laestadius that asking for forgivness of sins from other people was the right thing to do, and he pronounced absolution in the name and blood of Jesus to a women in 1853 for the first time. After LLL died in 1861, Raattamaa became the actual leader of the movement. Should he be considered a prophet? Raattamaa begin to believe by 1871 that the external church organization, be it the so called state church or other denominations, was of relative indifference to him. He strongly preached against groups breaking away, and said, "Let us hope that some day all revival movements, be it Baptist, Methodist, Hedbergians, may it be that all of them would love one another, be they called by whatever name". He died in 1899. Since he was pivital in keeping the development of the church going, should his teachings be ignored that all people who believed according to the Bible, be they in whatever church or group, will be saved? That's a strong question! After his death egos and personalities brought breaks and splits within the church. The book "A Godly Heritage" traces the development of all the splits. My questions have mainly always been about the orgin of Apostolic beliefs.

    9. LLLReader,
      interesting! do you know what the original source is for your Raatamaa quote?
      -my view

    10. LLLreader to my view: I found it in the book "A Godly Heritage" in an article about Raattamaa written by Uuras Saarnivaara. He is a Finnish theologian, Bible scholar, and Luther researcher.The quotations were taken from Saarnivaara's book "They Lived in the Power of God", and based on Raattamaa's letters written in 1871.

    11. LLLreader again: I should probably say that my statement about egos and personalities causing the splits is my own interpretation of what actually happened. I remember reading about one congregation that had two preachers. When one of them spoke his supporters sat at the front of the church, and the people that didn't like him sat at the back and booed. When he finished, everyone exchanged places. I'll try to find that quote.

    12. I think the Raattamaa quote about Methodists etc is in some letter book. I always read the letter books in Finnish so I don't know if it's included in the ones that have been published in English.


    13. LLL reader and others,
      Its my impression that laestadius held others, outside of "his" congregation/movement, to be true Christians. If Raatamaa also believed this way it brings up another question. When, how, who and why did the church start to proclaim that THEY are the only true church?
      -my view

      1. My theory about this is that the exclusivity doctrine was forced on Laestadianism by the first split around the turn of the century between Heidemann and Takkinen, and the related split between Laestadians on either side of the Tornio river. If these other Laestadians who preach so much of the same things as you, absolution, Luther, the emotional power of the Holy Spirit, etc., are not saved, then how could anybody else possibly be, either?

    14. LLLreader responds: I will quote directly from Elmer Yliniemi's article in "A Godly Heritage". He is a Pastor in an Apostolic Lutheran Church and studied for a year at the University of Helsinki in church history under Dr. Pekka Raittila. He says, "There was a challenge to maintain unity with the Finnish communities scattered far from each other in the vast New World. There was no common training for ministers. They were working hard as pioneers on the land and came from various backgrounds. Many of the disagreements were related to organization and personal relationships which led to doctrinal confusion and disagreements". "Laestadius prepared and wrote all his sermons. Extemporaneous preaching was not practiced until the late 1860's. Many did not have the skills and knowledge to prepare sermons, but were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak of what God had done in their lives. However, the preachers often spoke on their own favorite texts and the congregation did not get a broad Spiritual teaching". After the splits, especially from 1880's to 1900, the view of the largest group in Finland, today called the SRK in Finland and the Laestadian Lutherans in America, was that no true Christians were found out of their own group. This exclusivist thinking is found in the OALC, the Pollarite groups, and the Torola group. You can find information about these groups on line. Most of the disagreements are about distinction between law and gospel. One group will put an emphsis on one thing--while another ignores it. I personally see the differences as minor and the stubborness with which the groups hold on to the idea that they are the only "right" church is just a matter of pride. I know that there are many here with a lot more knowledge of church history. If anything I write is incorrect, please speak up.

      1. Sounds about right, LLLReader. I know that for many years, I heard more sermons centered around the sermon on the mount than anything else -- I swear just about every Sunday -- which just indicated to me that the preacher involved felt he was comfortable with that text, but almost no other.

        BTW LLLReader, at one time some years ago, we had wondered here whether we knew each other and might even be related. If you're interested -- I certainly would be from one comment you made -- please get in touch with me via Free -- she knows my email.

      2. LLL Reader, I have no disagreements with what you state but I wanted to add that I think the core of the divisions essentially boils down to two points-the demand for 'confession & absolution' by each group except the Pollarites and the rejection of a universal church comprised of those who are born again in Christ. Interestingly enough the Pollarites rejected confession and absolution and took on a 'faith in Christ' doctrine but they rejected the concept of a universal church comprised of those who have been born again in Christ. In doing so the Pollarites have remained semi-Laestadian....rejecting much of the legalism and confession but retaining the exclusivity doctrine. The following is an excerpt of a letter written in 1941(borrowed from Warren Hepakoski's online history) by John Pollari who tried to explain the same. "But now I will tell where we differ from the Heidemanians, Federationists, Reawakenists and Old Firstborn: In all of them there appears compulsory confession, for I was of one opinion with [Arthur] Heideman many decades, and we struggled against legalism, and God effected awakenings at that time. Thus many dozens came into faith each winter when we were in the Copper Country, and the sounds of joy and rejoicing were heard from the tabernacles of the righteous. But then, when Pastor Jussila came, he and [Paul] Heideman brought a better doctrine, and all the legalists approved their doctrine, and we were condemned as heretics -- and when we did not submit to this, it caused the schism, which still exists. We are accused of being rejectors of confession and of having a doctrine of carnal liberty, and there are many other accusations that are not true, but we indeed accuse the others of having compulsory confession and of using the apostolic counsels to bind people to the law."
        My father related to me firsthand knowledge of these events as discussed in Pollari's letter so I think Pollari's 70 year old letter was a fairly good summation of the state of affairs at that time & overall the same conflicts & issues remain to this day. Fortunately, there is now this website that allows those of us with open minds from each group to finally connect all of the dots and realize that we were all subjected to an indoctrination process (at least I was) & it has allowed us to understand the context of our cultural upbringings and religious beliefs. The next big question for many is what next? Does one stay in their group or leave? Does one attempt to 'reform' one's group and/or reach out to other Laestadian groups? I have wondered if in another 50 years, after all the hardheads (jalopuu's) are dead, if each Laestadian group will look on each other and say, "Hey we are not really any different than each other....why are we not working together to do the Lord's will-NOT OURS!" Old AP

      3. OldAP, When did the split referred to in Pollari's letter take place? (Sorry, I'm on the road again and don't have my references handy.) I know that in my hometown, the church known there as the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church had a church building built I believe in 1908. As near as I can tell, at least some of those parishioners became IALC when they moved away -- although it was never referred to by the IALC name, even to this day, in that community. That church was destroyed and services discontinued in probably the 1960s (other than the odd funeral), but there are still a few of that congregation that identify themselves with it. One just recently passed away, and was said to have been a lifelong member of the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church. The Old Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church (OFALC)or OALC as it is now known, was established in that community first in homes and then in their own building in 1920.

        The point I'm making with all of my ramblings is that there had been a split prior to 1908 between those two factions. I don't know what leader the FALC followed, but even as a supposed Laestadian church, they never read the sermons, and most of the congregants knew little of Laestadius.

      4. Cvow...I would have to defer to both Warren Hepakoski and Ed's 'Pearl' online history books with regards to dates. I do know that some of the splits were formalized after World War II as some Laestadian groups had informal agreements to utilize the same church even though there had already been splits years before. People used to even attend each other's services in various communities on a regular basis but that practice withered as the older generation aged out. From what I saw the 1960's were a period when many of the splits became more pronounced in the US. This probably reflected the larger sociological changes which were happening in the US at that time. That was also the same time period where some of the groups began to have meetings to enforce doctrinal purity. Several old timers kind of surprised me when he said that the groups became MUCH LESS evangelical than what they were in the 1920's and 1930's. Laestadianism will continue to have issues adapting to the new internet information age just like all of the 'worldly' churches are having to do. There is a steadily rising creep of information out there which is challenging just about every long term core assumption about life and living. In general, the days of a guy working in construction with a homemaker spouse and 12 children who together listen to a fire and brimstone sermon on Sunday morning are coming to an end. Old AP

      5. Old AP,
        I think you're right regarding the Internet and the spread of information. Growing up, I knew NOTHING about our history or the other Laestadian churches, or why we believed the way we were taught to believe. All of that information is now at our fingertips. It can never go back to the way it was.

        And that's a good thing.

    15. When you think about it, isn't it human nature to try to maintain your loyalist followers -- whether you are professing a religion or a political party or whatever -- by shouting loudly how wrong the other side is -- and how they are on the path to destruction?

      Laestadius didn't have to do battle with that issue -- he was speaking to a largely "unchurched" population. In later years however, as differences of opinion arose -- whether they came from honest disagreement of from personal grudges -- then it is a small step to go from a learned (or unlearned) discussion to an all out war...and split...and hard feelings.

    16. LLLreader to EOP: You have a good point since the basic teachings are the same. This awakening, started by Laestadius, was believed by all. The movement grew and split, but mostly all groups hung on to belief in forgivness of sins, etc. as you said. The early preachers really tried to get the American groups to stay together. At one point, in 1989, two groups went to court to decide who should be the minister in Calumet, Juho Roanpaa or Juho Takkinen. Takkinen had been sent to America by the elders to try to keep splits from happening. The elders were really wringing their hands over the American's insisting on breaking off into groups. cvow--you are exactly right, all out war is the result of men needing to be right. How that fits in with being humble sure doesn't make any sence to me. The pity of it is, the men who started, and kept the movement going, had no intention of creating churches who spoke against each other. I'll check in with Free-be good to talk to you.

    17. Thanks for the comments! These are histories/points of view I have never heard before.

      What are the differences of the groups today? What questions posted above could also be asked to the FALC, LLC etc.? Or if its easier, what questions could be eliminated?

      -my view

    18. This has turned into quite the interesting discussion on the differences and commonalities between the churches. For my part, I will attempt to answer these questions from the FALC perspective. As many of you know I'm only culturally FALC, so I might add my own comment as well.

      1. Neckties are ok. (I'm guessing the OALC rationale is, it's "prideful" or something, but that's just conjecture).

      2. No tithing.

      3. Alcohol is a sin. (For sake of expediency, I'm going to use "sin" as most of the churches do -- there are no "rules" but a "Good Christian" would take care to avoid these things.)

      4. Only movies and dancing are discouraged. ("Wordly" activities that can lead to sin).

      5. Sports are ok, and frequently recommended.

      6. AFA I know, plucking eyebrows are ok, along with shaving. Earrings and makeup are verboten.

      7. Amusement parks are ok.

      8. No travel restrictions. (Holy jeebus, what CAN OALCers do for fun?)

      9. Pictures etc. ok.

      10. The more photos, the better.

      11. What?

      12. Oh my. I don't even ... what a sad, sad existence if you aren't allowed to laugh.

      13. I know some in the FALC are on various meds. I don't know that it's more or less than the population at large. For OALCers, I think the answer is self-evident.

      14. Plays are ok. (Weird restriction for the OALC).

      15. The only ones that are frowned upon by the FALC is makeup, piercings and tattoos. Beard/no beard, short/long hair, that's all ok. (I suspect the rationale is Leviticus, which, if it is, you don't want to start picking and choosing from that pile of dung.)

      16. Restrictions on music has relaxed entirely. It's all ok now.

      17. Don't know.

      18. Parenting classes ok.

      19. Gambling is a sin for the FALC.

      20. All Christmas decorations are ok. (I can't imagine what type of mental acrobatics you have to do to teach that a tree is ok, but a wreath isn't).

      21. "Poker" cards are frowned upon, but every FALCer over the age of 12 is a master Rook player.

      22. Women don't cover their heads, and over the past 15-20 years dress pants for women are ok now too.

      23. Hahahahahaha.

      24. Apparently, toenail polish is frowned upon. I just found that out recently, and was a little shocked. Gossip is a big part of the FALC as well.

      25. Because Timothy and Corinthians. Women aren't allowed to be Ministers in the FALC, but some teach Sunday School and anyone can voice opinions at Bible Class.

      26. I didn't know about this one. Apparently it's a recent thing . My daughters will be vaccinated, if I determine there is miniscule risk of adverse effects.

      27. I would say the vast majority of the FALC accepts modern medical advice, or at least doesn't find anything Biblically wrong with it.

      28. Good question!

      29. Boy, it sounds like the OALC is MUCH more patriarchal than the FALC. As far as I know, a wife should do what's "right before God" rather than be submissive to her husband.

      30. As far as I can tell, birth control is viewed by most (not all!) as sin because of a couple Old Testament passages that state mankind should "be fruitful and multiply." That. Is. It. The only reason. As I stated in another thread, that's some real selective reading.

      1. (continued)

        31. Again, uffda the women must have it rough in the OALC. Women of the FALC can plead migraine all they want.

        32. At services over the weekend, I was disappointed (but not surprised) to hear one of the speakers speak to this by saying in essence, "The World tells us we should understand the Bible better, but we don't need to study the Bible because Forgiveness of Sins. We should not worry about the parts of the Bible we don't understand, but revel in the parts* we do understand."
        * relatively few, as far as I can tell

        33. We have weekly Bible Class.

        34. The FALC has very few Christians left in Sweden and Finland. AFA I know, there is little disagreement.

        35. Because they could lead us off the narrow path, of course.

        36. The term "worldlies" or "dead faith" is used very rarely anymore in the FALC. In the past few years, I've heard tell of preachers saying, there might be others in the world who are saved, but all we know for sure is that WE are, so it's best to stay in the flock.

        37. As far as I know, all the congregations are more or less the same. Although I think there are varying degrees of "fundamentalism" between areas like the Twin Cities/Cokato and Calumet/Houghton, for example, with a higher degree of exclusivity belief in the latter.

        38. Tradition, and it's a quick way to find out if someone is a member of the "club."

        39. Hadn't thought of it that way.

        40. As long as you later receive a blessing from a [FALC] Christian, you can sin away. You just might receive some sidelong disapproving glances if you walk in with a tattoo and pierced nose.

        41. I haven't read up on the Pharisees lately, so I can't compare.

        42. The King James version is also favored by the FALC. As far as I can tell, the rationale is simply, that's what has served us best all of these years. Contemporary scholars will tell you the KJV is a pretty terrible translation, not to mention it's unreadable for modern readers. Couple that with the fact that there have been numerous translations and copying errors, and it was written by 60-some different (human) authors, and well ...
        (Sadly, the KJV nevertheless seems to be considered the inerrant Word of God in the FALC).

        43. Don't know.

        44. Working backwards: Most scholars consider the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) to be the most reliable translation. The KJV is a translation of a translation of an original text that no longer exists. Yes, it is extremely sexist. Too many to mention, but Google "Bible Errors Contradictions" and prepare yourself.

    19. LLLreader here: I was reading the post Questions About Oalc that I had somehow missed, and saw Matt's comments about having siblings in 3 (THREE) different Apostolic churches. Can you imagine Thanksgiving dinner with that group? I wonder how they explain the differences?

    20. Regarding #12: I remember a preacher saying, way back in the old days when I was a teen, that God wouldn't have given us the ability to laugh if we weren't supposed to!

      But, then, a couple of years ago, I attended an OALC service where the preacher said, "There is little joy in a Christian's life." (I think I posted this comment previously. It made quite an impact on me!) So maybe attitudes about laughter have changed.


    21. SISU, I clearly remember people calling laughing a sin. They referred to it as the sin of 'lightmindedness.' I remember others refering to the comic section of the newspaper as sin. Newspapers in general were also considered a sin by many as they stated that the underwear advertisements would inflame lust. I guess having a sour disposition is now a prerequisite to being a Laestadian in good standing as it all adds to the flavor. Old AP

    22. This would make for an interesting multi-column table, with one column for each Laestadian group and a row for each "sin."

    23. EOP, good idea! Maybe add another for differences/similarities of theology and traditions in each group also. I wouldn't mind doing it if the other groups would be brave like FreeThinker.

      I Wouldn't mind some answers to go with it either... Anyone?!

      The silence is telling in its own way.

      -my view

    24. LLLreader here: That would be a good way to get some clarity. Another thing that would shed light is to look at a sin and figure out when and why it became sin. An example would be playing sports. I remember seeing pictures of OALC members from strict Apostolic homes happily playing on BG baseball teams in the 40's. I remember some outstanding girl OALC members from VERY strict homes on sports teams in 1960. When did it become sin, and why?

    25. While were talking of side by side comparisons, clarity and interesting "multicultural" family get togethers it made me think that a live formal debate would be very interesting!

    26. LLLreader responds to anon 10:57: Yes it would, but the preachers would never allow it. It would seem too much like "questioning" and "doubting". I'm going to go back to the sports thing. Some of you must know something about the sports ban. Who were the preachers in charge in the OALC when joining school sports teams was outlawed? Maybe there were some families that spoke against it? This rule is not part of the religion exactly, but rather a part of recent tradition. Sports are so good for kids, both physically and mentally. Maybe soccer could become acceptable? I think some of those young mothers might want their kids involved in wholesome physical activity. The kids sure would like it.

      1. LLL- from the LLC standpoint, I was told that we don't participate in sports because we don't want to idolize any sports figures, or ourselves, to be as important or more important than God. Or spend time doing something that could lead us away from the flock.
        I have always wondered, too, what the exact situation was when the members of the board decided no sports. Even 30-40 years ago "believers" participated in organized sports. I'm guessing that somebody got to the pro level, and it was calling too much attention to the congregation. Or, perhaps that person just enjoyed too much success and so had to be judged for not having enough struggle. Somebody out there that is still alive knows what really motivated that decision, but they'll never tell!

    27. There are a couple of thoughts, while we wait for the answers to the whys or perhaps why nots of the list of sins....

      What happens IF there is no valid reason to NOT say, wear ties. What will that do the congregations if the list is pared down and found to be without a solid foundation?

      And, LL Reader, I bet you are on to something by finding out who were the men in charge at the time of a new sin being born.

      What if they are man made and have no roots back to God so to speak?

      There is a odd juxtaposition between the shallow and surface changes they are not allowing and yet the life altering affects of adhering to the rules. It doesn't really seem to be a big deal to wear a skirt or pair of pants, until the choice is taken away.

      Still eagerly waiting to hear the clarity in the foundation of these sins.
      Surely, if they are rigidly followed, there is substance beneath them!


    28. This old extoots thread mentions a Laestadian athlete who did not enter the Olympics because it would be a stumbling block to his faith.

      Eric August Larsson was a Swedish cross-country skier who won a gold and bronze in the 1936 Olympics before turning to Firstborn Laestadianism and giving up sports. He became a preacher in Kiruna.

      I hope we get some more comments here before we move on to a new topic.

    29. My answers based on perceptions I had while still in the LLC...
      1. Men wear ties.
      2. Tithe...good question! However, does one really need to give the top, the first, or the best, when they already give everything they can possibly give? teehee
      3. Interesting, isn't it! I would love to cause a big scene sometime explaining that Jesus and his disciples often drank wine because of the absence of quality water. Maybe they read 1Tim 3:8, but got bored and didn't read to 5:23. The Bible, to me anyway, warns against too much drinking, but also promotes wine as having medicinal qualities.
      3. Why indeed? Again, anywhere that has an "atmosphere" that is dangerous, such as loud music, some motion or action that may be considered provocative, could be bad. Even having the lights turned down low could possibly be construed as sensual, so it MUST be avoided! One girl I knew had begged her mom in high school to let her go with to a movie, and kept asking for in-depth explanation. Finally she was told that if the world ended while she was in the theatre, she wouldn't be found and taken to heaven.
      5. Still don't know. Such a crock, church kids can play any manner of sports with each other in a secluded location, just not on a team and certainly not if they enjoy it too much.
      6. I trimmed my dad's ear hair...(gross, I know.)Shaving legs must be ok because it's one of those subservient female issues. When I was really little, nobody plucked eyebrows. Then it just started happening...I remember actually hiding my tweezers.
      7. They aren't, I don't think. Maybe it's just another one of those don't ask don't tell type of situations.
      8. All traveling was thought of to be ok, so long as you weren't spending too much of your own money when there was someone else in need.
      9. Didn't experience that at all. However, have heard rumblings about what "types" of photos are ok for a facebook wall.
      10. Photos were always taken in abundance...
      11. Weird. I was thinking about this recently. It used to be that anyone that started their own business (that wasn't in the trades) got talked about for being prideful, high on themselves, etc. Now it seems like it's ok for women to make some cash doing things in gender appropriate roles...like selling vitamins, things they sew, etc., and every fourth lady has something like that going on. Now it seems like a lot of them have been suffering an identity crisis and they throw themselves into their project. BUT going to meetings with unbelievers too often will still be cause for concern.
      12. If he did say that, I'm just going to go ahead and thank God that as rough of a past life I think I had, that I didn't hear it.
      13. It seems pretty clear to me...see question 12.
      To be continued...

    30. 14. Yeah, I always thought that was kind of bogus, too. Like it's ok when they're little and cute and innocent, but when they get older and could possibly be the star of the show, we can't have one of ours cast too much attention our way?
      15. Make up and other things are not allowed because of fear. All of these things are not allowed because of some man's illogical, frightened ideas about what would happen if the people used their own brains to think and consider their own actions. By golly, they'd all leave! There is conflicting SCRIPTURE to back up the USAGE of beauty products and tattoos, piercings. About the hair...that was the Old Testament, people! When Jesus came/died it was supposed to end the need for blood sacrifices and things of that nature. It's fine if one MAN's opinion was that a woman's hair is her glory, but clearly they haven't seen mine when it is misbehaving.
      16. Music. Ah, my favorite topic. I have come to one conclusion, and that is that music is a connection to our soul. Whatever your particular liking is, music has the power to change you, to engage you in prayer or rage or mmmhmmm/cough. So, that must also be controlled. This scared guy or guys really knew what they were doing. Better to say all of it is bad/wrong/sinful then try to explain and accidentally reveal the true purpose of blocking it.
      17. Organ in his home? That seems a bit expensive for the poor non-materialistic church folk. I would love to have an organ in my home...along with someone that I could guilt into playing it for me at a professional level daily without pay. I kid.
      18. Uh, you might not want to go to a parenting class because you might find out that everything you are doing is WRONG! You may find out that scare tactics punctuated with threats of eternal damnation, squelching all questions and forcing tradition on your babes does not lead to healthy, productive, successful and happy lives into adulthood! Not to mention you're probably about 19-23 while considering taking the classes, hardly an adult yourself.
      19. It's too fun. Next. Maybe because they were associated with a riverboat and booze and floozies at some point.
      20. Whew, whhhhhat?
      21. We played cards all the time. Not cards with faces, but suits were ok! Lol. We had virtually every board game on the planet, but not playing cards. I tease my parents mercilessly because they play free cell and solitaire on their computers and phones. They have absolutely ZERO explanation as to why, and won't join in when us unbeliever kids want them to play cards with us.
      22. They don't in the LLC, maybe it's some form of being humble? I know they used to.
      23. Because they need to be more available should their husband decide...ok, maybe that seems crass, but historically speaking that's truly the reason.
      24. Really now. As Beth says above, there MUST be a reason we all followed these rules.
      Maybe I will finish the list later, but I'm starting to feel like I felt when I had to explain the nuances to one of my friends that I wasn't supposed to have...like I just wanted it to end.
      I am really enjoying reading and interested in seeing more responses.

    31. LLLreader again: Eric Larson must have been involved in sports in his youth. There is a big difference between not entering the Olympics because of the fame etc. then being a toeheaded kid running and becoming stronger and more healthy on a soccer field.

    32. Thanks pebbles! I will reply tomorrow with OALC answers if no one else does by then. The answers won't be official but they will be the answers I have been told or understood to be the answers over the years.

      My view

      1. Oofda! Or not. Trying to answer with OALC reasoning is mentally taxing. with no materials to rely on, oalcers different ideas and reasonings being vague, (not to mention the unreasonableness and Biblically unsupportedanswers) It's Definitely harder than I thought it would be. No wonder the oalcers have been quiet.

        -my view

    33. While the silence lingers, is it possible that there is another layer of questioning going on...to look closely at the folks who first told us about these sins? That perhaps they too are not comprised of virtue and high morals. That not only have we been unquestioning about the sins, but also about the sin promotors.

      My viewpoint of my mother as a christian of high morals and values disintegrated when I could see how her life was in complete contrast to what she proclaimed. I wonder if the church's foundations are shaking as we also delve into its roots?

      Can a church really stand strong and tall when the very basis of its pillars are found out to be hollow?
      Let alone the men, preachers and parents who spread the word....in faithful blindness.


    34. #1 through #44....CONTROL. JK

    35. I grew up in the OALC and I can say that everytime while growing up I would ask my parents some of these questions and wonder why I couldn't do certain things and my mom couldn't ever quite give me an answer except that that's how we are taught and then she would look to my dad and he would say we don't question what we are told, that's just the devil getting to us...

    36. ok [deep breath] bare with me as I try, one by one, to answer the questions OALC style

      1.Neckties: This is a wordly fashion. See (1 Peter 3:3)

      2.Tithe: we encourage giving the amount that God reveals to you to give. This is usually the amount that comes to your mind first. see 2 cor 9:7, Mark 12:41-44

      3.Alcohol: it is the devil's poison.

      4.Bowling, skating, movies, dancing see: these are wordly entertainments and we want to focus on spiritual matters. 2 Tim 2:22

      5.Sports: sports are fine but organized sports are not encouraged. Historically the Christians were made to fight till the death for sport in the Greek games. Why would we want to participate in them? And as you can see in today’s time, it all is just idol worship, pride and honor. They also often practice and play on the Sabbath. (see: 1 john 2:15)

      6.Plucking hair: see #15 and Rom 12:1

      7.Amusement parks: see #4 and 2 Tim 2:22

      8.Travel to warm places: We don’t want to travel to places to might tempt us into sin or fleshly freedom.

      9.Display photos: displaying photos is a form of idol worship and honor

      10.Picture in church: (I don't know)

    37. 11.Tupperware and other sale parties: we don’t want to pressure our friends to buy products that they might be able to afford and cause hurt feelings when someone can't afford to buy any of the products.

      12. laughing: yes

      13.depression/anxiety: don't know

      14.Little kids/adults in plays: kids don't do it for false pride and honor.

      15.Makeup and other vanities: this is vanity and it is SIN. The crown of thorns pressed into Jesus’s head is the symbol of vanity. Why would we want to cause Jesus to suffer? See: 1 Tim 2:9,1 pet 3:1-6

      16.Music: It has been revealed that music awakens the wrong spirit in us and when a person listens to music they don't think of God or their Christianity.

      17.LLL organ:

      18.Parenting classes: we wouldn't want to become such good parents that we take pride and honor in it. We need to give all the thanks to God if our children turn out well.

      19.Gambling: this takes away money and time from our families

      20.Christmas tree: this is a custom of the world and a false idol (see Jeremiah 10:3-4)

    38. Sorry, my brain went numb. Have to go get a quad shot and try to finish later

    39. Tupperware parties, bowling and roller skating are completely ok in the OALC in Europe. Amusement parks are ok in Finland, but not so ok in Norway and Sweden, but also the Norwegians and Swedes visit them anyway...

      Family photos on the wall are compeltely ok in Norway. Most people approve of it also in Finland and Sweden, but there is some objection.

      Playing cards is ok in Norway, but not at all ok in Finland, although some quite devout Finnish oalcers do it anyway.

      Having an organ at your home, and playing it, is completely ok in Norway, most people have it. It's also very common in Finland, but the strictest ones don't approve of it. Some people also have pianos and guitars, but they are not as commonly accepted as organs.

      Christmas tree is not at all ok in Norway and Sweden. In Finland it depends on the family. Some families have it both inside and outside. Some families only put some lights in a tree outside of the house, in their yard or on the porch (even some quite strict families do it). Only the extreme strict end of the group doesn't approve of a Christmas tree outside of your house. Some families accept it inside your home if you only take in the branchs and throw away the trunk. Some families accept a juniper inside their home but not a fir tree.


    40. I suddenly became uncertain about playing cards in Norway, possibly it is not commonly accepted there after all.


    41. Interesting to compare my responses to FreeThinker, as a different perspective on FALC attitudes circa 1990-1999.

      1. neckties are nearly required at church.
      2. small donation to the collection plate nearly required every sunday.
      3. alcohol is a sin, full stop. communion is grape juice. (a practical response to Finnish/Sami alcoholic tendencies, I thought.)
      4. worldly activities are sinful in general, for they lead to licentiousness and frequently include alcohol. But inconsistently, roller skating and bowling are fine (if done with faithful companions and no alcohol), movie theaters and dancing are verboten no matter with whom, movies at home are severely questionable, TV at home is merely tsked at.
      5. sports are not sinful, they're strongly encouraged (but this varies per family). we knew other "crazy" churches forbade them and didn't see their point.
      6. plucking eyebrows is very much like makeup. shaving legs is a practical requirement for comfortable pantyhose (for some people, not all) and hose are a nearly required part of a modest dress (also practical in the cold winters).
      7. amusement parks, the permanent kind with rollercoasters (Valley Faire in the Minneapolis area), are acceptable in moderation. County fair midway games are borderline unacceptable.
      8. travel is generally acceptable, I never heard a specific prohibition on Hawaii.
      9. family photos are always acceptable, the more the better. I wouldn't be too surprised to hear some families consider them too close to an "idol" or shrine, but I don't think I heard that specifically expressed.
      10. wedding photography is done before the ceremony, outside or nearby. The first time I saw a professional photographer in the sanctuary I found it very intrusive (but I've gotten used to it since).
      11. sale parties are acceptable.
      12. laughing is not a sin; nobody would agree that it is.
      13. "psych meds" (as I would have called them at the time) are strongly stigmatized, never discussed, and never admitted to.
      14. elementary school plays are unlikely to include backstage hanky panky or makeup (other than "tiger stripes" or similar facepaint, which is acceptable).
      15. painting the face is not humble and makes the woman a harlot. Hair styling is fine so long as not too outre. Tattoos, piercings, are frowned on.
      16. worldly music leads to dancing and licentious behavior, and often has sinful lyrics. Oldies are fine, easy listening is OK, modern pop is questionable.
      17. organ or piano is an important part of many homes, and both adult and youth gatherings very often include singing hymns accompanied.
      18. I didn't encounter this attitude, but at a guess: parenting classes likely include discussion of family planning, recognition of child abuse as a problem, anti-spanking rhetoric, and exposure to worldly people.
      19. because we said so.
      20. christmas trees are common and unremarkable. Gaudy home decoration is frowned on.
      21. playing cards lead to gambling and fortune telling. Dice are verboten too (unless included in a boxed game, and preferably distinct from standard 6-sided dice). Rook cards or Go Fish cards are fine though.
      22. women don't cover their heads; women should be in church and are included in discussion at wednesday bible class.
      23. women can wear pants, although jeans are too casual for church. A long skirt or dress is preferred; a hemline above the knee is quite risque.
      24. a pedicure is just makeup; gossip is an important part of the social news system.
      25. there is, in practice, a lot of sexism and patriarchialism in FALC, and the "man is the head of the wife" according to the wedding liturgy, and pastors would counsel a wife to be subservient in the case of domestic turmoil. Historic norms, backed up by biblical citation.
      26. HPV vax came after I left, so I dunno, but there's a significant anti-vax sentiment in some of my extended relatives that's new since 2000.
      27. not a sentiment I saw expressed.
      28. no insight.

    42. ...continued...
      29. follow the church teaching, disobeying her husband if necessary.
      30. "be fruitful and multiply", but many of my family obviously used birth control, sometimes rationalized as "the doctor said another pregnancy might be dangerous."
      31. the wife can refuse sex, it would be bad for her husband to force it on her. But, spousal rape certainly happened in some marriages.
      32. Reading the bible is acceptable. Arguing about it, not so much. You won't get useful answers out of your clergy anyways, so there's not much point.
      33. FALC does (did?) have weekly bible study.
      34. FALC doesn't connect much with the old world; some visiting happens, but it's uncommon. It's known that the "other side" (meaning the LLC) and other LLL churches have stronger connections to the Finnish LLL structures, and this is considered evidence for why it's not bad that the connection is weak.
      35. hanging out with worldly folks leads to temptation and sin.
      36. FALC calls them "worldly people" or simply "sinners" as opposed to Christians. Only FALC are Christian, everyone else is fallen into unbelief, no matter how they feel on the matter.
      37. individual congregations govern themselves.
      38. greeting and leaving with "God's Peace" is an important "handshake" between believers. It very effectively marks in-group vs out-group.
      39. full pronounciation is important, but even just going through the motion is fine.
      40. All sins can be forgiven as long as you stay in.
      41. a leading question, m'lud.
      42. KJV is inspired and inerrant, and the only true bible.
      43. FALC churches often have a Finnish bible as well; it's not KJV of course, but the similar antique Finnish translation.
      44. there are no errors in KJV, just faults in human understanding. Bible scholarship is not sinful (pastors often consult other translations) but is only helpful to understand the perfection of KJV.

    43. There is weekly "bible study sessions". They are called gatherings but they are real study events with random discussion not pre organized rehearsed mini church sessions like everybody elses bible study. The bible study is the true heart of the church because all collective understanding starts there not "behind the table". The "gatherings" predate Lestadius, Lapp Mary, even Pastor Brandel. The readers have been misunderstood all the way back to Apostle Peter. By the way many of our christian struggle is the same strife Peter Paul and Mary Magdalene had too. When people cry on shoulders asking forgiveness in Jesus name you can feel Mary Magdalene and everybody else too. Its surreal.