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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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

Now for the second part of the big OALC question list from "My View." Please refer by number when commenting, and don't forget to include your name (or alias).

  1. How are songs for the OALC hymnal chosen? Why did the OALC church take some songs out of the hymnal? Why don’t they add new songs? Are most songs are from the 1700’s?
  2. How does the OALC trace its faith back to the Jesus and Apostles?
  3. What was the early church hierarchy and how does it compare to today’s OALC church hierarchy?
  4. Is the theology of Lars Levi Laestadius like that of the OALC today?
  5. Did the OALC change the creed? When and why? Do they use this same creed (“descended into hell in Gethsemane”) in Sweden, Norway and Finland?
  6. Why is the Lord’s Prayer worded differently in the OALC than in the Bible?
  7. When was each new “rule” placed in the OALC’s teachings and why? Did OALC originally use the sign of the cross? Did OALC once use organs in the church? Did the OALC preachers wear vestments in the early 1900’s?
  8. Does the OALC church tape sermons, have a mission statement and other material about its theology? What documents of the church policies, procedures and guidelines exist?
  9. Why is it not okay to read religious books beyond what the church offers (early church fathers’ books and others such as Luther’s)?
  10. Why is it considered wrong to question or disagree with the preachers? Was it okay for Luther to question the church? Was it okay for Laestadius to teach against the church and go on his own understanding?
  11. Is the OALC the congregation of God? This question is an extremely important question; a matter of eternity: if it isn’t the congregation of God, what is? Is there truly only one true church?
  12. Why does the OALC consider Africans (blacks) considered a cursed race?
  13. Is God truly going to judge us by what church we attend?
  14. Why are Laestadius’ sermons read each Sunday?
  15. Does the church idolize Laestadius, the Elders, missionaries and/or preachers and give them or their words more reverence than the Bible?
  16. What is the importance of the Elders? Why are they at the top of the hierarchy?
  17. Is it true that Raattamaa was the first one to use the “keys of the Kingdom” in the OALC? If so, what exactly did “Lapp Mary” explain and give to Laestadius and how did she do it?
  18. Does the OALC have the right understanding? If OALC preachers have the right understanding, do all the members have it? Do they automatically have “the keys”?
  19. Why does the OALC teach that there are NO other faiths/church that teach living faith?
  20. Why do preachers derogatorily speak of the “dead faith” customs, beliefs, and traditions if they have never experienced or seen these for themselves?
  21. If Jesus himself walked into the church and started preaching like he did during his mission, would he be welcomed in the OALC?
  22. Did “Lapp Mary” spread the “living faith” to anyone other than Laestadius? What about Pastor Brandell in Nora, who taught Lapp Mary?
  23. Did Laestadius consider his friends and family outside of the “awakening” as true Christians? Did Raattamaa?
  24. Why are other Laestadian churches considered heresy even though they believe the same doctrine (excluding a few minor practices or sins)?
  25. Why is it assumed that anyone outside the OALC is going to perdition when they die?
  26. Is a person’s faith is given by God/ Holy Ghost? If it is only in God’s control and if a person doesn’t have the power to take it, how can anyone judge them? Why wouldn’t God give this spirit to everyone? Or do we actually DO something (like accept it; works)? What part does free will play in this?
  27. Did Jesus die for all sins and for all people? Is Eve’s sin included? If so, why is it still held over woman? If not, why wasn’t Eve’s sin included?
  28. Are woman truly not to be church leaders? Did Paul really have woman lead as preachers, deacons and readers? If so, what did he mean by “woman are to keep silent”? What is a prophetess and what was their role in the early church/ OT and NT? Are woman allowed to teach their male children? Didn’t woman teach many things in the bible? Including the gospel of Jesus?
  29. Is it true that a daughter of Laestadius often took his place teaching the gospel?
  30. Did Jesus dress as the “worldlies”? Did the apostles? What did they wear? What did woman wear in biblical times to differentiate themselves from men? Or how did they separate their appearance from the “dead faiths”?
  31. Why can’t a woman get married in the church if she is/was pregnant out of wedlock? Can men get married in church if they got a woman pregnant out of marriage?
  32. Why would a preacher advise a couple to get married but not perform to ceremony? (An OALCer was counseled to get married yet the preachers make the couple go to the justice of the peace to perform the vows. If the preacher can’t bless them by performing the ceremony; how/why do they feel free to give the couple the counsel to get married in the first place?) That’s like saying “God wants you to marry each other but he doesn’t give the blessing”? Why would they advise a divorced person to get married but not let them get married in the church? Again isn’t that like saying “God wants you to marry each other but he doesn’t give the blessing”?
  33. What is the point of the church? Why do we attend? Why is it so bad to skip one Sunday’s worship? Do people skew the true meaning of “church” from what the bible meant by “church”?  Was there even a “Christian church” when Jesus preached or was it the “Jewish” church/temple? Or was it a whole different meaning?
  34. Why do people repent to all of the preachers during the same movement? One repentance isn’t enough?  Why not accept the first testimony of sins forgiven in Jesus’ blood?
  35. Why don’t they pay the preachers a wage? Do they get any financial benefits? Did Laestadius get paid?
  36. Why don’t the preachers get ordained? Do they get any extra instruction?
  37. How exactly does the OALC choose their preachers?
  38. Why is some OALCers free to divorce after their spouse committed adultery but some are told to stay in the marriage?
  39. Where did the marriage/wedding custom begin? Origin of the ring? Why don’t OALC guys wear a ring?
  40. How far reaching is forgiveness? Why does the church limit and put stipulations on it for some things (divorce, children out of wedlock) but not other things (fornication, child molestation)?
  41. If a person asks forgiveness for something they have done illegally, do they still need to answer to the law of the land? Do they need to pay retribution to society and/or the person they sinned against? If a person stole a candy bar, would they be encouraged to pay for the candy bar and repent to the store owner? If a person molested a child, what is required of them? Is this OALC policy different for “worldlies” vs. OALCers?  


  1. My View, you are really lowering the boom on the church. These were all the same questions I had many decades ago and I was considered an anathma for having done so. I doubt you would get anyone in any position of authority to venture any kind of answer as the easiest pathway for them is to ignore you and state that you are a 'lost soul' or imply that you do not have the 'right spirit'. Some people will quietly agree with you but they will remain silent as they greatly fear the loss of fellowship (shunning) if they were to do so. Your questions would be considered very threatening as you are putting into question an entire lifestyle, not just the church that they attend. If people were to renounce the 80 beliefs raised by your questions they would be like zombies as these beliefs as well as many others are the cornerstones of their livelihood. Question 81 should be, "What would church members ascribe to or believe in, in place of all of the long term Laestadian beliefs that are being brought into question?" Old AP

  2. 81. Why does the OALC lay claim to Rattamaa as one of their own when he's clearly a LLC stalwart? If you doubt this, just ask the LLC. They'll set you straight.


    1. LLLreader: You know, I had never even heard of Rattamaa in the OALC. I don't think most OALC members even know who he is. He gets mentioned here as part of the history. Many OALC members and exmembers are finding out about their church history here for the first time. Isn't that interesting? I enjoy your posts--carry on.

    2. I would like to hear the LLC side of this as it is a huge part in justifying the split.
      the oalc has letters from Raattama communicating that he was in agreement with Takkenin (spelling?). What's the LLC version?

      -my view

  3. What is left of the "faith" that is unquestioned?

    And, who will answer the questions....and further more, who will also dare step forth and demand answers....and further still, what will all this questioning do to the 'faithful' when there is more left unanswered than answered. I guess you can't be considered 'faithful' if you are questioning and doubting.

    I know the leaders will not look at what you are questioning, but will hold you in contempt for questioning. You will be the problem, not the unfounded sins.

    Instead of seeing the faults of the church, they will point out yours.

    Which is why you will have very few daring to stand with you as you ask these questions.

    The questions will be ignored and you will be cast out...labeled a doubter, unbeliever, etc.
    And, they will continue to preach to those who will listen without questions.


  4. The church has been "catsing out" for centuries. Including Luther! That's another reason why it's all hypocrisy. How can a church have Luther's name AND treat questioners with such disdain?! At least we don't have to worry about getting burned to death Just for questioning anymore.

    in the previous post Beth asked why victims are encouraged to ask for forgiveness from the abuser. That is a great question and I'm sorry it wasn't included here.
    the answer: often times the victim blames her/him self for some reason or other. victims may think that the abuse is their fault. they carry that guilt around for years and it doesn't help them heal. If the victim believes in the forgiveness of sins then asking for forgiveness for any part they felt they had in the abuse can be very healing for them. this is all about helping heal the victim. Does that make sense or do you think the church is playing with Fire?
    I personally agree with it only if the victim feels guilty but it's my understanding that they encourage ALL sexual abuse victims to do this.

    -my view

    1. My View, I truly can't figure out where the victim's guilt would be. For typical sexual abuse cases are with adults and children or with a person who is stronger or more knowledgeable, or one with more power. The perpetrator, to me, is the one who is initiating the abuse.

      I am not sure how this is healing to ask for forgiveness, as if the victim did something or provoked the act? They already are feeling like it is there fault in some form or another.

      In my work with Dial Help and the Detective in our county, IT IS never the fault of the victim.

      I have also heard from different sources a new definition of forgiveness. Not the churches where it seems the slate is wiped clean and they are now whiter than snow. But, that forgiveness means accepting that the past can be no different. To not wish it to be different, but to accept what is.

      The scope of damage sexual abuse causes, is multiplied by victims having to not only face their abusers, BUT forgive them. Especially IF there are no consequences, no reporting to the police, no protecting other children etc.

      I guess the question is what is the protocol of the church in dealing with victims and abusers?

      What I heard in the FALC, was that there was no sin too great to forgive...and all sins are equal. Which again, doesn't make sense. Say wearing make up or abusing a child???

      I too agree that just having a list presented will nudge some folks to begin thinking deeper.


    2. Just to clarify, I don't think the victims are guilty but like you said, the victims feel like it is their fault in some way. you can tell them it wasn't their fault all day long and they may agree on the rationality but physiologically they hold onto the guilt and It goes into their adult years. Because of that, the church encourages the victims to ask for forgiveness for the things they feel guilty for even if its not a rational guilt. I never heard that the church encourages the victims to face the abuser but to do this "confession" with a trusted preacher.
      me and you both know that the victim wasn't guilty of the abuse but its my understanding that, after confession and absolution, the victim finally feels completely free of guilt.
      I want to add that I'm not a person who knows a lot of the church policy; this is only what I've been told through the typical channels.

      My view

    3. Well, in the past few years I have heard stories of there being a meeting between three parties; the preachers, the victims and the abuser. ALL in one room. And, all victims were expected to ask for forgiveness. And, it was my understanding, that in the end all went back to their 'normal' lives after the meeting.

      All of it is wrong on so many levels...and it doesn't lead to healing and/or stopping the abuse. It is completely mishandled, in my opinion.

      Victims feel bad for a variety of reasons and are often silence due to shame of the event, not by feelings of it being their fault, but rather that it happened at all. Not only happened, but by someone they knew and trusted, most often.

      If we can get the churches to at least report the abusers to the law of the land, they will then not be expected to deal or handle these cases so ineptly and hurt victims more by putting them back with their abusers and ASKING for forgiveness....

      However, what if the abusers are holding high level positions within the church?

      Will they actually report them, and believe the victims etc?

      How many victims will dare come forth and point a finger....when we can't even get them to ask question about neck ties and pants?

      It is my feelings that the churches want to maintain their high moral and high value reputation....and so goes the complaints or reports of abuse to any party outside of the church.

      There will have to be a volume of outrage that is at such a level IT will not be able to be ignored.

      I guess we all know the church policy...by their actions thus far.

      It is my hope, that discussions will start the changes....by it being discussed and thought about.


  5. Oalcers will often say that they don't go to the movies because if it burnt down while they were in there they wouldn't get a "testimony".

    First. If this is true, how come many Oalcers feel free to watch tv at a motel? Why don't they worry about the motel burning while they are sitting there with their eyes glued to the tv? If The Holy Spirit doesn't differentiate the two, does that mean that the guilt of going to a theater is only because it's been drilled into the mind from the alter? Purely manmade guilt and not guilt revealed through the Holy Spirit?

    2nd: where in the Bible does it say that people need the testimony of the "Christians"? ( I seriously can't find this so if anyone could please help I would be grateful)

    -my view

    PS feel free to ask questions that have been missed in these posts. Yes, we probably won't get official answers but at least they will get asked. Plus, putting them in a list like this gets people thinking (Not unlike the 95 thesis?)

    -my view

    1. EOP, I think this is your cue. :)

    2. Even though the IALC for the most part has abandoned the confession and absolution through the keys, I grew up hearing that you ought not to go to a bar because if it burned down you might not be saved. That was always a scary prospect. I remember once when I went to a regional meeting with a high school group eating a lunch at this small town restaurant bar, that had less division from the bar than most places my family would go to during our odd and unusual dining out. I remember feeling fearful being there at age 14 but then later telling myself I was being ridiculous, I was there with the Future Homemakers of America! I still feel awkward going to bars and I still don't drink, and I suspect I will always feel that way. I drink perhaps one or two alcoholic beverages a year, if even that. If I meet friends at a pub, I always look behind to make sure no one sees me going in. It's sort of an automatic reflex I have. It reminds me of a secular Jew I know who avoids all pork, knowing there is no health benefit from abstaining, it's just a force of habit. Stanger in a strange land

  6. My apologies for misnumbering the questions in the initial post. It has been corrected, but it means the numbers in Old AP and Beelzebub's comments above point to other questions. Sorry folks!

    My View, I also remember the fear of fire in the movie theater. What is even weirder is that I've been safely going to theaters and concert halls for more than thirty years, and "what if there's a fire" is still something that pops into my head as I wait for the lights to dim. That meme must have made a big impression on me as a child.

    I like the idea of a chart comparing the beliefs and practices of the various Laestadian factions. Questions could continue to be added (the "testimony of the Christians" is a good one -- it makes the death a bit like a job interview, doesn't it?).

    To facilitate such a chart and other cooperative efforts, Is there any interest here in starting an Extoots Facebook group, where documents could be worked on and then posted to this site? Unlike the private support groups, members could be visible to searches so others could find us (although the content itself could be visible only to members). Anyone needing anonymity would need to set up a Facebook account with a pseudonym to join.

    What do you think?

    1. Count me in the Facebook group....I think it would great to be able to "Like" and to comment or to just follow along...and to get to know some of the commenters better.

      There is freedom in being you that is unequal.


    2. I would join! http://www.prioritizinghappiness.blogspot.com/ (FALC)

    3. K Ann, I've been enjoying your blog! The fable The Sky is Blue was quite profound.

    4. Thanks! Basically I just wanted to find someway to express the thought that simple "child-like" faith works for some but when you don't open your mind you miss out on much more?

  7. Regarding testimony of Christians: The only place I know is claimed by the OALC as proof of their Truth is "I give you the keys of the kingdom. Whoever sins you forgive, they are forgiven unto them, and whosoever sins you retain, they shall be retained." This is the ONE place! That's it!

    So, if I read this correctly (and we know we are not supposed to do this without "supervision"), the True OALCers are given the power to forgive sins (and thereby freeing the sinner so he/she can be accepted by God and also the power to NOT forgive, thereby binding that person forever in their sin.

    I question that God gave the OALC, exclusively, such power, and yet they claim it.

    I recall my sister-in-law pointing out this passage as proof of the OALC's The One True Chruch concept.


    1. The church teaches that a person needs 3 testimonies to reach heaven. 1 testimony is from the holy spirit, 1 testimony from the person (belief that they personally are a Christian), and another from a true Christian(s). I've heard of weirder things but it doesn't seem like even they could interpret the "keys" passage into their 3 testimony teaching.

      My view

  8. One more comment: Nearly all the questions above concerning sins should be viewed through the OALCs emphasis on deep humility, which, I feel, is simply the flip side of arrogance and hubris..If it doesn't keep/make you humble, it is a sin.


  9. I had to look up the word "Humble" for what the sins seem to do is erase self control or freedom. Humbleness perhaps is being defined poorly in these religions.

    Here is one that I agree with.

    1. An admirable quality that not many people possess. It means that a person may have accomplished alot, or be alot but doesn't feel it is necessary to advertise or brag about it.

    Is the quality of being modest and respectful.

    Not sure what the churches lenses are....but humility and humbleness doesn't seem to be defined in the list of sins.

    When you are controlling and placing fear of Hell...as a consequences to behaviors, I am not seeing the humbleness, but rather bullying.


    1. I am in the process of leaving, and as I read everyone's posts, it's almost funny. Almost. I have lived in fear for so many years and believed the thoughts I had were sinful and only had by me. So many questions....so much hypocrisy...so much therapy needed....


  10. Well, yes, Beth, it is bullying, but they see it as humility. They see their "job" as making sure you, as well as they, remain outwardly humble at all costs. If you want to do something that raises you above the status of a worm, that action is a sin. (I am going to go out on a limb here and say I recall boys having much more freedom than girls when it came to "wormhood.") That is why I said it is the flip side of hubris. SISU

  11. Beth--are you absolutely sure that meetings with the 3 parties, abused, abuser, and preachers have taken place? With the abused having to ask forgiveness? Are you kidding me? Is there anyone who has been through this that you know of (no names of course). Were the parents there? If I was there and was meeting with someone who had hurt my little girl, that guy would be crawling out of that meeting. In fact, if there were preachers telling my baby to apologize to the sicko--those preachers wouldn't be in very good shape by the end of that meeting. And that is a fact! No one hurts my children and gets away with it, and I don't care who they are.

  12. Anon, my sister was told to ask forgiveness from an uncle who molested her as a teen. She did. SISU

  13. The victim I spoke to was older by then, and she was one of multiple victims who had the courage to face him. A preacher was present and the abuser. Unless she wasn't telling me the truth, this indeed took place. It was my understanding she could no longer live with knowing he was more than likely still doing what he had done to her. She felt she had to do something.

    I know the courage it takes to speak up and to say you were abused and believe they did their parts...but that the preachers were not capable or equipped with the knowledge or gravity and consequences of not seeking counsel of the law.

    Somehow, this treatment of victims and the no consequences of the abusers, is what we victims intuit. That we will air our dirty laundry and nothing will change....except that we are now know as "trouble makers".

    Again, the church needs to be held accountable for non-reporting of sexual abuse.

    I applaud your stance "that no one hurts my children and gets away with it," but it is so much more complicated than meets the eye.

    You will have to have a willing victim to press charges. A victim who is most likely young. A prosecutor that will bring it to trial....one who will have charges reduce to what he can actually win with... It certainly isn't as easy as prosecuting drunk driving. As hard as it is to believe, the abusers are having to be brought to justice by little children. The old victims, who were abused years ago are helpful, but are near impossible to use for putting the abuser away. They are helpful to show history, to set a pattern in place. But, even then, like in my father's case, he may get a slap on the hand and live to die a free man.

    Even if my father wasn't put away for good, all knew who he was and to keep their children away....and more importantly the victims, like me, got our power back...and were able to heal by the breaking of the silence. To not carry his shame upon ourselves.



    1. Beth....I do indeed recall the mentality of making the victim ask forgiveness from the abuser. The mentality seemed to be that the victim had feelings of anger and certainly no heart of forgiveness towards the abuser. Those feelings of anger, which are certainly natural AND IN NO WAY WRONG, were in turn used against the victim to say that THEY were the one's who were wrong because they held onto their anger while the abuser, if confronted, would grin like a Cheshire cat and put on the air of the compassionate pardoner. But this mentality does not arise out of nowhere. Instead the problem goes back to the pulpit where the necromancers expound a doctrine of condemnation and essentially hatred and then turn around and say how they are preaching 'love.' Within Laestadian circles, people seem to go through a 'moral inversion' process where evil is called good and good is called evil defying even rational common sense. When people grow up within such a sub-culture there are bound to be problems. From what I saw, the more rigid and dogmatically the Laestadian household was, the more personality disorders I observed. More than a few times I noticed how the more dogmatic a person portrayed themselves to be, the more of a deviant they really were. Old AP

    2. You are spot on with the 'moral inversion' process. I have experienced it at work within my family, where I became the outcast and not my father. I am not even sure they can rationalize this, for it is at a subconscious level.

      Given this being a common occurrence it is no wonder that the victims are treated in a way that the abusers should be. It is totally flipped around.

      Thanks so much for sharing this. Also, with that in mind, it is no wonder that the make-up bow ties are seen as evil and real evil as good. Messed up to say the least....and how to flip it around???

      Guess by us at least shining the light upon what is happening and for people like you Old AP giving us some history!


    3. Beth said, "I have experienced (moral inversion)... at work within my family, where I became the outcast and not my father. I am not even sure they can rationalize this, for it is at a subconscious level." IMO Beth there is no rationalization as the Laestadian sub-culture's norms are the rationale for an entire lifestyle which includes a very weird decision making process based on a subtle dual- morality system. The only hope of 'flip(ping) it around' will be to keep exposing the light on the situation. I noticed how the falsehoods seem to disappear when the truth constantly illuminates the skulduggery. But the best thing seems to be to focus in on one's new post-Laestadian life. In the word's of Martin Luther King, "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last." Old AP

    4. Beth, a real problem within Laestadianism is that they teach a doctrine of 'truth by omission.' In other words much of what they teach is true but intertwined within it are so many falsehoods that it makes it difficult for many members to differentiate between the wheat and the chaff. One might argue that many other church's do the same thing. While this might be true, most other church's do not teach nor think of themselves as being the only possessors of the kernel of Biblical truth. Also, for most people church is more of a Sunday affair whereas within Laestadianism 'the church' is the center of one's life, hence they are confronted with Laestadian moral inversion 'truth's' 24/7. Old AP

    5. Old AP, I do agree that most churches IT is just a Sunday go meeting affair, while in these churches, IT directs all their life decisions. I know, for it did for me...and If I decided not to follow the church, I was guilty.

      Not only is there moral inversion 'truths' but they are highly expected to remain with fellow church members and not mingle with the outside. So, no new info will challenge their beliefs.

      It is discussions like these start wiggling the foundations of the false truths...and to put into perspective not only the mind set of the believers, but how they got to be that way AND, hopefully, how to prick their consciousness with awareness...to plant doubt.

      Not doubt in their reality, but doubt in what they were taught to believe to be true...

      And, it is hard to let go of the one and only way to heaven, for the fear of Hell is much larger than the prospect of Heaven.

      Even the fear belief is backwards...where they are not afraid to have lost most of their control and choices in life, but are afraid of freedom.

      Like being free is sinful, wrong and evil....and being bullied, controlled, manipulated is right and good.

      This moral inversion sentiment is huge in understanding how they are able to live within the confines of these religions and not see the forrest for the trees.


    6. Beth, I can only understand it because I grew up in it. An outsider might have wondered at that time if there some type of hidden 'magical strings' that were making my life as a Laestadian sort of like that of a marionette. The sad truth is there are indeed 'magical strings'...unseen but very real that do indeed 'bind' many Laestadians.

      You stated that, "... it is hard to let go of the one and only way to heaven, for the fear of Hell is much larger than the prospect of Heaven." Your statement seems to hit the nail on the head as the dread fear of hell was drum-beaten into us as children. Bit by bit as I began to crawl out of my Laestadian pit I had to constantly live with the dread fear that I would end up either blaspheming the Holy Spirit or committing some other unforgiveable sin. It took me some years to gain confidence that I was indeed on the right pathway to the truth and eventually I saw my Laestadian background for what it really had been....sort of like a blend between a semi-isolated ethnic subculture and a religious cult.

      The moral inversion aspect of Laestadianism spreads out to their understandings of hell too. I clearly remember being taught that despite having lived as a Christian all our lives we would still have to go through another judgment at the end of time and if there were any sins we had not verbally confessed and had 'washed in the sea of grace' then we would be condemned to hell. Common sense should tell a person that something is drastically wrong with that understanding. In fact the sad truth is that the Bible teaches just the opposite as true Christians only face a judgment of rewards on the last day. But the fear of challenging this and other long held false assumption (blasphemy) keeps people quivering in their shoes with fear and hence they remain attached to those 'magical strings' with the congregation able to keep yanking on the marionette's strings.

      If people had the courage they would simply walk up to the curtain and yank it back and discover that the 'man shouting behind the curtain' or supposed 'conscience' that they had fearfully dreaded violating all of their lives was really a conscience that had been 'morally inverted' by false guilt, empty threats, Biblical un-truths, hypocrites and spiritual quacks. Physical, verbal and sexual abuse have also been factors in 'shaping' or warping many a member's conscience too. It seems like there are more and more members and ex-members who are reading this site and coming to the same obvious conclusions about the 'magical threads.' Those 'magical threads' were only fear stories based on non-Biblical bogeymen Old AP

    7. LLLreader: I have noticed at funerals how parents will hold up their children so they could get a good close look at the deceased. Must be part of that instilling fear thing---it's very effective. Thank you for your insightful posts. I always learn something from them.

  14. OK Beth I realize it is more complicated then meets the eye. When it gets covered up and all that. What I still think is that beating the ____ out of some creep if he messes around with a kid might be the only thing he understands. If in each family the dad, brothers, and uncles are there too protect the girls then this wouldn't happen. If it is a male in a family is doing it, the other males need to step up. Those guys are all going to hell and no amount of forgivness from other church members is going to save them. I think the preachers to let this stuff happen are going to be following them. Thats what I believe.

    1. What makes it complicated is that 90% of abuse happens with someone the child knows, and of that 50% of the time IT is family. At the time of abuse, the children most often are little and very traumatized and if it someone you know and love, they will be less likely to tell you.

      We have to look for signs...for behavior changes, mood changes, personality changes, fears showing up, no longer liking to go to places etc. Having 'special' adult relationships.

      Also, the word pedophile comes from the greek root 'child friendship'.

      I know that many parents will not let their children sleep over at other people's house, believing that the abuse happens only at night. It does not.

      I have heard abuse happen in homes during the day, with another adult just a room away, in the same room, in a church basement. More often than not, surprisingly, the wife of the abuser is an accomplice, they are helping greatly, willingly or not, they are party to the abuse.

      My father could not have abused so many girls without my mother's help. Without the help of the preacher and our neighbors...all played a role in his longevity. Even myself and how I kept silent my fear of him, how I couldn't get close. I was ashamed that a daughter would feel this way about her father.

      AND, what makes it all the more complex and complicated is within these religions, children are already set up to be submissive, to be silent, to be unseen...to follow obediently. And, the parents to forgive away the sins. The moral inversion where evil is good and good is evil all play a role in the continual cycle of abuse.


  15. Your list of questions is quite interesting as it opens some visibility into OALC (and its sister organisations in Finland and rest of Scandinavia). While my own movement, which is the LLC equivalent, certainly shares some doctrine with the OALC, I think there are some profound differences as well. One part of the explanation could be historical: There was a group of people in the early Laestadian movement who associated the 19th century Lappland (Sami) life style with living faith. When the Laestadian faith started spreading into new geographical areas and upper classes (like civil servants in the 19th century Scandinavia), it became a serious matter of debate whether a believer could wear more decorated clothing, paint the floor in his house or have curtains in his home. (There is a famous citation from Raattamaa himself when asked a question about some similar topic, where he appears to side with the more liberal party.) This desire to preserve the 1800's Lappland life style completely unchanged, was one of the divide lines in the division of the movement into eastern (OALC) and western (LLC and the rest) Laestadianism in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The more conservative beliefs became what is now known as OALC (and its equivalents in Finland and Scandinavia). I admit that I am cutting short some corners here, and there is more to this story than just the great division. For instance, there was similar discussion inside SRK/LLC in the first decades of 1900's as well. Thousands of pages worth of scientific research has been done on this topic (also by non-SRK/LLC authors), unfortunately very little of which is available in English. I think there is quite wide agreement among the researchers, however, that the first born / OALC movement is the one with most emphasis on the old fashioned Lappland lifestyle, even in matters with seemingly no connection to Christian faith.

    Finnish believer

    1. Finnish Believer, I am new to the study of Sami history but I feel uncomfortable, given what I've learned about ongoing racism, with any statements rooting the OALC/Firstborn movement in a "Sami" lifestyle. By the mid-1900's, the Sami had long been Christianized, and almost entirely colonized, and it could be more accurate to say the lifestyle was the Finnish settler's, one that so many Sami were forced to adopt (including my ancestors).
      As settlers encroached on their land, the Sami could either starve or adapt. There are many parallels with American colonization of our indigenous peoples.
      So yes, the OALC/Firstborn may be "most traditional," but it is no more like the Sami than Southern Baptists are like tribal Africans. Those churches are both products of colonization. (Sherman Alexie points to the counterintuitive fact hat many Native Americans became more devout than their oppressors, and more conservative politically. The motivations are complex, but survival is an obvious one.)
      For English readers who would like a very readable book about a Sami Laestadian family, check out the new translation of Emilie Demant-Hatt's "With the Lapps in the High Mountains, A Woman Among the Sami, 1907-1908." It describes Laestadian rules and church meetings (in a Sami tent and a Finnish church). I'll write a post about the book soon. It's really good.
      So all that being said, Finnish Believer, I am very interested to hear what was retained of the early Lapland (I won't call it Sami!) lifestyle, especially what has no religious basis. It would make a great topic for my Facebook group about exploring Laestadianism as a cultural phenomenon! Perhaps yould like to join us.
      I would also appreciate your recommendations for scholarly papers (in any language). I have so much to learn.

  16. LLLreader thanks Finnish believer: Yes, and I understand that the movement came to the U.S. before it even spread to all parts of Finland. When Laestadious was preaching to the Sami population, he was dealing with people living very harsh lives, much alcoholism, much poverty. The style of preaching was pretty harsh too. The OALC hung onto that. That's why we hear about the whiskey merchants etc. You brought up some important information. I hope you share more.

  17. Beth, Sisu and others,

    I didn't know the church was having the victims ask forgiveness from the abusers. I've heard rumors but I just thought I misunderstood. If this is the Lastadian policy, in all the sects, maybe we can collaborate an effort to get this policy changed to protect the children. wouldn't it be more effective and efficient to share resources such as speakers, law and other professionals, personal stories, strategy, research etc.

    Just to be clear, My goal isn't to attack the religion but only to protect the children. My hope is that the church will report abusers to the law, get professional help for the abused, let the congregation know about the abuser so each family can protect their children and start a discussion so past victims can open up and get the help, love and support they deserve.

    If anyone is interested in helping, even in the smallest way, send an email to:
    myreflectiveview at gmail dot com

    -my view

    Here's to the crazy ones.
    The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, disbelieve them, glorify or valify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They HEAL. They explore. They create. They INSPIRE. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
    - Apple ad campaign written by Rob Siltanen and Ken Segall


  18. My View said, "I didn't know the church was having the victims ask forgiveness from the abusers." It is indeed the truth. This practice seems to stem from the Laestadian concept of each believer being part of a 'royal priesthood' with each person having the power (the keys) to forgive (or not forgive)sins, much like the Catholic priests. So those who are Laestadian abusers are already well versed in guilt, confession and then using the 'keys' to have the 'sin drowned in the sea of grace never to be remembered.'

    For the abuser this is a very comfortable relationship as they know that they can physically and/or sexually abuse some one and essentially get away with it as they know they will be able to use the victim's anger as a tool against the victim to induce guilt and then make the victim ask for forgiveness. So it is basically a pretty good deal for the abuser/molester as they get to perpetrate their crimes knowing that they will not be held accountable for their perverse persuasions. One might ask that how could such a warped system have come about? Well when you think about it many congregations themselves are already enablers of abuse through vicious gossip circles fostered by rumourmongers who bully people into submission to church norms. So there is already an unofficial abusive social circle already set up whose goal it is to maintain the congregational status quo.

    So like the pedophile priests who have made national news, the Laestadian abusers are also adept at channelling the victim's guilt and rage as another tool to force the victim to either keep their mouths shut or ask for forgiveness from the abuser as the victim's 'conscience is bothering them' with rage and anger. Otherwise the victim themself will come under scrutiny from the congregation who will demand that the victim, 'forgive and forget' the perpetrator's actions. Now that the whole issue is out in the open people can start exposing the rotten apples for what they really are... abusers. Old AP

  19. Question: Why does it seem like much of the discussions lately are centering around (sexual) abuse? Although it is an issue near and dear to my heart, and I am intrigued by the dialogue, I see a lot of other valid topics just waiting to be pounced upon!
    I personally think that the whole abuse cycle begins with spiritual/emotional/liberties abuse, and that it grows from there. My views questions are probing into the why's and how's, not just the what's. We know that victims are not handled correctly, but the bigger question, to me anyway, is how did it get to that point, and what can be done in the future? Beth is on to something with her very real community attachments.
    I don't know enough about the OALC to be a credible source, but I'm looking forward to some more communication on the other points/questions...just sayin'.

    1. The reason is that a select group of person feels the need to turn every discussion into another rant about their experience, regardless of the topic.


    2. Don't be silly #T.

      The best way to talk about the topic you want is to talk about the topic you want. Passive aggressive snark is a path to nowhere.

      What would YOU like to discuss?

    3. The original topic of the post. There were 40 different things to talk about, but now we're back to talking about sexual abuse again. Of course its an important topic and if someone wants to devote a post to it go ahead but its the same thing over and over.


    4. Please take responsibility and don't blame others, okay? Just bring up the topic you want next time. Since you didnt', I'll choose #79 "Why don’t they pay the preachers a wage? Do they get any financial benefits? Did Laestadius get paid?"

      My understanding is that while Laestadius was an ordained Lutheran priest and had a salary, he was given permission by the state church to teach lay preachers to help him in remote locations in Lapland. These were obviously not plum assignments for seminary grads. I don't know why the OALC doesn't pay a wage now, but I'm told the preachers' needs are "taken care of," whatever that means.
      In the United States, the residence of clergy is exempt from federal taxes.

    5. Most LLC preachers aren't paid much beyond a small amount for each time they preach. There are full-time pastors in the Minneapolis, Rockford, and Phoenix congregations, and some other preachers who are employed full-time in official roles for the national organization.

      It seems quite consistent with the humble "servant of the word" view of preachers that is a genuine part of LLC culture, and at least outwardly expressed by OALC preachers in their sermons. Both of the ones I've listened to, at any rate: Those two guys spent at least ten minutes apiece going "aw shucks, I'm not worthy to preach" before finally getting around to actually preaching.

    6. Free I'm not sure why they don't get "paid" but when you hear they are taken care of its because the OALC members are always giving the preachers money. Either for weddings, baptisms, holidays or just because.

    7. LLLreader knows: They don't get paid because they are different then the hirelings that preach at the dead faith churches. For the worldly preachers it's just a job, but for the OALC preachers it's a calling. That's how it was explained to me.

  20. Pebbles, you are right that it does begin by taking away all our spiritual, emotional and just general liberties away, to leave us voiceless and choice less, the perfect or ideal victim in waiting.

    Perhaps it doesn't matter how we got into this boat or the why we did, but how do we now get out. And yet, it is helpful to understand the illogical reasoning that got us here in the first place.

    From what we have gotten back in Answers, to the above questions, it is telling me that there is very little substance to the sins....but it appears to be a form of control, to again take away the liberties.

    We do have to recognize that folks will slowly take back their powers, bit by bit. And, perhaps in having these questions hanging out here un-answered, it will cause doubts into the faith of many.

    How do we now empower each other to speak up. To take back our liberties and our emotional and spiritual freedoms? How do we help those who have been silent so long, dare speak?

    As I speak with the Detective in our town, He had asked me, "What could I or someone like you have said earlier to have awoken you to the plight of abuse within your family and church?" And, I have yet to find that answer.

    Had there been a blog or two on the internet at that time, I may have been curious to read what others were saying. I guess this is a starting point to breaking the binds of stolen liberties.

    We need questions and understandings from all walks and about all things. Abuse, I believe, is very prevalent and that is why it keeps popping up. AND, it is a huge factor in keeping the legacy going.

    Alice Millers books are huge in that she believes that children, Adult children have to look towards their parents for answers to heal you. Meaning, I had to see my father as an abuser to heal. If, I looked towards my children to stop the abuse, while still in a relationship with abusive people, it will not work.

    I have to be the example, the start of a new pattern.

    Our way to change, is to be the change you want to see in the world. You do what your parents did not do.

    And, so what is that? What did they do or not do, that we now can?


    1. Pebbles said, "Why does it seem like much of the discussions lately are centering around (sexual) abuse?" The reason is that sexually abusing some one who is defenseless is the most heinous of crimes and the ultimate abuse of power. What we are really doing in one sense is discussing our common experiences within Laestadianism which has regressed from a bright religious light into cultish, abusive religious groups and how the level of abuse has sunk down into childhood abuses. The abusiveness (not just sexual) of respective Laestadian groups has been explored from many different viewpoints on this blog site. When sexual abuse of children is covered up by the group's orcongregations, the church itself becomes an enabler of the activity. Hence in more than one case entire congregations have essentially become just as guilty as the abuser themselves. These same congregations are the same ones who proclaim that they are the only Christians on the face of the planet. So more than a few of us have been able to see the hypocrisy of the whole situation and also to realize how we were fed a line of childhood malarkey and this is the web site where we discuss it. Old AP

    2. I read this today on another site, and it seemed appropriate:

      "Although I'm pleased to see churches adopting child protection programs that include norms for behavior and reporting, it also seems like the family is a critical part of preventing abuse. First, lifting prohibition on birth control and encouraging people to have only as many children as they can handle might lead to less stressed-out and overwhelmed parents. Second, teaching positive parenting could lead to improved relationships between parents and their children, which would probably make kids more comfortable talking about uncomfortable or confusing experiences."

      My husband and I took Positive Discipline classes when our children were young, and they were a complete paradigm shift for me, as they ask you to assume that children (and we adults) are motivated by the need for significance and belonging (in other words, not by "sinful nature"). They encourage affection and dialogue and gentle firmness. Neither authoritarian or permissive, but parenting with the long-term goals in mind: what will my child learn from this?

      If the OALC forbids parenting classes, it may be simply because they emphasize the importance of doing the job well. Our children did not ask to be born, and we owe them a safe, nurturing, affirming environment where they feel loved and accepted. A receptive ear, and honest answers to their questions.

      So yes, parenting classes . . . but let's not wait until parents have children! We need them in high school.

    3. Old AP,
      I'm in complete and total agreements with your above-stated blurb. I feel a bit like you were meaning to admonish me for asking the question that I did. "So more than a few of us have been able to see the hypocrisy of the whole situation and also to realize how we were fed a line of childhood malarkey and this is the web site where we discuss it." I wasn't trying to make any judgments at all about what is or is not appropriate here...I wouldn't want to or try to, I love the free form, but it kind of seems like you were telling me that this is your group?! If I intruded I apologize, it was an honest question based on an accurate observation. I simply care about My View's questions and answers. Next time I will take Free's suggestion and bring up what I'd like to discuss.
      What I would like to say, somewhat off topic, but somewhat on, is that after digging into the EOP, and some other research, is that it is no small wonder why we didn't hear about Laestadius growing up. Egads! That is probably also why the (formerly, bah!) Super Intelligent, Creative, Blessed, Patented Ed is only whispered about, the congregations collectively would have NO idea how to defend their beliefs and might have a mutiny on their hands! What would "they" say if there was a video camera or a tape recorder present, (whichever that particular faction allows,) and were asked to align these "rules" with an excerpt from a) the Bible, b) writing of Luther, and c) writings or sermon excerpts of Laestadius?! I seriously cannot remember even one occasion in which either of the men from which the churches take their name were mentioned except in passing. Pardon my French, but I am going to continue to promo the "hell" out of this blog and Ed's book.

  21. Pebbles said, "I feel a bit like you were meaning to admonish me for asking the question that I did." No admonishment intended Pebbles and this certainly is not 'my group.' I am just an 'Old Apostolic' (Old AP) commentator myself. Fortunately years ago I did question my parents and a lot of the old timers about what things were like in Laestadianism 100 years ago when they were young. As time went on I began to see that there has been a constant theme of bullying and abusive types of relationships going back at least 100 years. Old AP

  22. Pebble said, "That is probably also why the (formerly, bah!) Super Intelligent, Creative, Blessed, Patented Ed is only whispered about, the congregations collectively would have NO idea how to defend their beliefs and might have a mutiny on their hands!" Pebbles, in my opinion the first to mutiny would be the women. Old AP

    1. The women SHOULD be...then the organizations would really crumble as there would be no one to enforce the rhetorical teachings to the future generations. What an exhausting task to have to constantly reinforce all of the idiosyncrasies! Sometimes I think about "repenting" just so that I can help more of them get out. Alas, realistically it would take a lot of money, as there are so many kids and they'd all have to move. That is, if they even wanted to. Maybe my next big adventure should be to become a fantastic fundraiser. Except, I only know how to make pasties and bake!

  23. I just heard that the OALC has a new policy, that preachers "will not advise on sexual matters," announced from the pulpit on Sunday.

    Can anyone verify this? It sounds too good to be true.

  24. That sounds rather vague to me. What exactly does it mean? SISU

  25. #45-Does the OALC use the "Hymns and Songs of Zion" like the ALC?
    The ALC does not condone or use modern "Praise" songs.