"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Breaking the Cycle

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Breaking the Cycle

If you have ever been betrayed, personally or professionally, you know how tempting it is to seek revenge, to "do unto others" what was done unto you. If you're lucky, you have principles, family, and friends who help you process these feelings; people who commiserate (literally are miserable with you), while reinforcing (giving power) to the good in you and others.
Seeing others positively reveals your own positive traits. On the other hand, your words could reveal negative perceptions of others that are linked to narcissism, antisocial behavior, and even neuroticism.—Dustin Wood, PhD, Wake Forest University
They prevent you from going over to the dark side, so to speak. If you are unlucky, your natural desire to hurt is given juice and you join in the vicious cycle of hurt. Such are my thoughts as I reflect on this blog, after a relative recently suggested that the purpose here was to "punish" my family and the church.

Punish? I rejected this out of hand. I don't condemn or exclude here; I encourage conversation and multiple points of view. Right?

This blog helps further understanding and connection, not hatred or rejection.

Most of the time, at least?

Punishment is what THEY do, I said. It's pure projection. All that alienation and gossip and disinheritance. No wonder they think I'm punishing them. That that is their stock and trade! I even reasoned that retaliation could be the primary psychological basis for Laestadianism: its exclusivism, its emphasis on "hating the world," its shunning of apostates. They had good reason to be mad, those Sami and the poor Finns who met in the tundra and fanned the flames of the early church. They could not be blamed for wanting retaliation for the state's onerous taxes, the church's excesses, the colonizers' disdain, the alcohol trade that wreaked havoc on Lapland, the maltreatment of the poor and dispossessed, the condescension and self-proclaimed authority and superiority. Or simply for Laestadius' supreme jerk of a father, who made his family life so intolerable.
We see in others what we fear in ourselves. —Psychology Today 
Certainly there is abundant cause for the abused to create a religion—or even a mindset— in which they assume the upper hand, at least in their own minds. I'm sure that's a survival mechanism, like a protective sheath around a seed, so that it can literally pass through the belly of a beast unharmed, so that once it has landed in nourishing soil, can awaken and grow.

And as much I'd like to think I'm above revenge, the waters we swim in become part of our being, and only by becoming aware of them can we choose to disrupt the cycle. While we learn with our mother's milk whom to love and whom to hate, what to encourage in ourselves and what to suppress, it is never too late to learn anew.

That is my hope.

And that is the answer to "why the blog." My writing is not intended to punish, though that may be the perception among certain people who have been trained to see enemies where there are none.
When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.—Desmond Tutu 
Yesterday our daughter pointed up into a canopy of trees and said: "Mama, look at the pretty holes that the insects made."

It hadn't occurred to me to find them beautiful until she did. They look like tiny galaxies!
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.—Anais Nin  
What do you think?


  1. I am not sure you can have a blog with opposing views and not be seen in a negative light, albeit from their own lens.

    I received a couple of very negative messages a few weeks back, and I got some wonderful advice, a bit late for me, in that....when you receive something full of anger/hatred/resentment...etc, to post a simple note on their letter saying, "this is belongs to you, I am returning it." Instead, I try and dialogue, explain and teach....when it is a negative that was intended to pierce me.

    The messages did pierce me and made me sad for the senders, for they truly believe that I am harboring negative and like you 'punishing' them as I heal me and set up boundaries.

    The cycle is broke, when you don't give more negative back.
    I try to keep my blog and my responses based on my feelings, my insights and my experiences.
    How they receive it is there business.
    My intentions are to sort and pull apart and excavate the history and legacy of abuse.
    I am not responsible for the energies they send me.
    I am responsible in taking it in or kindly returning it.
    This is hard to do, for they know our weakest spots and it seems find their marks easily.
    I had a hard time recovering my balance after such attacks.
    And, it also affirms to me, why I am estranged. It doesn't feel good to me inside.

  2. We interpret the world through a lens of our own choosing. When I worked in a psych hospital, I was always reminding myself that while I wouldn't encourage delusions, they were very real to the people who believed them. I could help raise questions but those questions would fall to deaf ears if the recipient wasn't open to them. I first saw this site 2010 or early 2011, I found myself disagreeing with much of what was being said but I read on. I didn't come back to it for a long time but when I did my perspective had changed. I again poured over the posts but this time I searched for truth rather than lies. And again, I found what I was looking for. The posters on extoots are people, they each have their own stories and own perspectives. We share what is true to US, the truth is subjective. Some may disagree or find it threatening. They too have a right to their own opinion and their own truths. At times there may be stories of pain or hurt, in my opinion that is what makes this community a true community. Sharing these thoughts and experiences helps us move past them and look to a brighter future, seeing what others have overcome makes our struggles seem easier to overcome. Keep posting Free.

  3. This blog,has been a big help to me because until I found it I had no way of working through the feelings and experiences I have had with this church. I am not a member but I have known many who are and have spent many years being an outsider yet also getting to know those who have been born into this. This church is not a choice anymore than I chose to be born with blue eyes. I am not sure how the miracle happens. How does one born into this ever get out? It's easier to get in than to get out and I don't know anyone who has got in (other than by being born into 'a believing family'). I am pretty sure that no one a part of this would ever read this blog. The reason I say that is I have had only 2 discussions regarding these beliefs and there was a complete dismissal of any discussion and both time the person stated, and I quote ' I ain't changing'. I want even trying to get them to change only trying to be honest about how certain behaviors made me feel. Needless to say the more I have learned the more hopeless the divide between us. I will say that anyone who actually reads this blog who is still in the church has some hope. It's like when a married couple fights. Even though they are fighting it is a positive thing because both are engaged emotionally in the relationship. When one stops fighting , it's most certainly a bad sign and the relationship has ended. Those reading this blog are still emotionally engaged in their own life despite being a victim of indoctrination and psychological abuse. How does one learn that the church is a lie? It's sad.


  4. Dude, I'm working through it, its a long long long process....

  5. There comes a point in the healing process where one has to move beyond anger and bitterness. That is my stumbling block. Sometimes, in my anger, I see the whole LLC as a monolith, and not as a group of individuals, albeit individuals adhering to a very fundamentalist belief system. My parents didn't abuse me. My parents were unaware of the sexual abuse done to me. They raised me in an environment that in retrospect made it easier for the abuse to happen and stay hidden, but if I apply logic to it, simply by looking at the newspapers, I have to conclude that sexual abuse occurs across religious boundaries, family boundaries, and socio-economic boundaries. It is not a Laestadian problem. My anger at the confusion of why it we greeted some relatives with God's Peace..while others were considered "heretics" and we didn't greet them, and we were expected to matter of factly understand that they were going to hell because they were not "Christians" may be understandable to those who have left, but not to those who see it as truth. Someone adhering to the Laestadian belief system cannot be simply written off as stupid or abusive etc., lest we be doing exactly what we left...painting with a broad brush.
    It is easy to lump the whole group into the "wrong or bad" category, but as I look honestly, the LLC has good people and bad people, as does pretty much any religion or any other grouping of people. Each individual has their own motives, as did the people I encountered as I explored Buddhist thought, and as I now see in my current faith community. As I struggle to move beyond the "Black and white, right and wrong" thinking, I see how easily it is to carry that thought pattern, minus the religious beliefs into my new life. I left the Church, and their sense of "right and wrong", thinking I had to flip flop it. Thus what was wrong, is now right, and what was right (laestadianism) is now wrong. But then I realized that some of the things that the church taught were wrong were things that I still believe are wrong, and my view became one of "They are wrong, the way I believe now is right, and some of what I was taught was wrong is still wrong. This led me to realize that within Laestadianism, at least from my perspective as a Practicing Christian belonging to the Catholic Church, there is a thread of Truth running through my life. That Truth for me has to do with the gift of Salvation from God as Jesus Christ. I am called to not hold onto anger, and to reach out in love. That is hard. It is radical.
    Thanks for being here.

  6. "I am called to not hold onto anger, and to reach out in love. That is hard. It is radical."

  7. Dude summarized his discussions with some Laestadians by saying, "The reason I say that is I have had only 2 discussions regarding these beliefs and there was a complete dismissal of any discussion and both time the person stated, and I quote ' I ain't changing'." I would say that is an accurate statement as I recall the same statements being made decades ago. Laestadianism might be termed a 'closed religion' and it is really an entire 'closed lifestyle' versus just a church that one attends in the normal sense. Critical thought or critical thinking is discouraged at a young age, hence there is a closing of people's minds at a young age along with numerous mental barriers and psychological red flags regarding any subject that is not centered around one's local Apostolic Lutheran/Laestadian church. This mental conditioning usually starts in one's home by parents who are themselves semi-paranoid about the outside 'world'. Laestadianism is a religion that conditions members (brutally in some cases) to defy their own common sense and intuitive process in order to make people 'see life' through a Laestadian lense. This might help explain why various ones on this board have finally had the courage to discuss long repressed accounts of child molestation and other forms of horrid abuse. The truth is that all of the problems in the the so-called 'world' are also within the so-called 'church'. The only difference is that the people in the 'world' discuss their causes, effects and solutions whereas within Laestadianism the people just keep trying to deny that the same problems exist. As difficult as it may sound, it is easier to 'move on' from Laestadianism versus trying to change them or get them to see life in a rational way. Old AP

  8. In a nutshell, the reason so many people are so upset with all of the Laestadian movement, is the great amount of damage they have caused to families by their false claim of being a special church, Truth be known if God decided to wipe out the whole Laestadian movement his work here on Earth would not be effected. Of course the poor people still in the church do not know this..............Matt

  9. It seems to me that there is a lot of bitterness and misunderstanding being shared on this blog. I can appreciate the desire to speak out and share your experiences with one another, but find it difficult to understand the need for vagueness in regards to which variation of the church each one belongs/ed to.

    Let me explain; I am a member of the OALC and have lived in several localities across the US. I have never found that the faith is different from one locality to the next. I have many close friends that have come from outside the church and rejoice when anyone is given the strength to repent of their sins and beg for forgiveness. I have also witnessed many that have left the church, this brings sadness to my heart but I must remember to pray for them that they may be able to gain peace of conscience before they are called upon by the angel of death. It is I believe, the desire of all OALC members, for all mankind to be able to receive the grace of free believing in the Living Lord Jesus and to believe their sins forgiven in His Holy Name and Blood.
    This is what I believe the children are trying to say but do not know how, or are afraid to be ridiculed by their peers in school, when they tell someone they are going to go to hell. It is not to say that all are taught the same way.
    Any questions about the OALC and our beliefs are welcomed. I will answer them as best I can, but for the best explanation it is best to come to one of the services and speak with a few members or talk with one of the preachers. We do welcome everyone and would enjoy a good discussion of Christianity.

    I am a poor one to take as an example of a Christian and I hope I did not cause any offense or confusion by my ramblings. I hope there is yet forgiveness for me.

    - Barabas

  10. That's why I believe the whole Laestadian movement is a cult, I'll use your own words."when someone comes to your certain church, and finds the strength to repent of their sins and beg for forgiveness". That's not salvation, that,s not believing the gospel. We get saved by believing the gospel. ( 1cor-15: 1-4). Begging for forgiveness, is a Laestadian way, not the Bible way....Matt