"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Laestadian Parenting Manifesto?

Friday, October 04, 2013

Laestadian Parenting Manifesto?

In response to the Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto post, reader "mouse in a corner" has offered a Laestadian Parenting Manifesto:
  • Above all else, I want you to know that you are lower than dirt because we are all worthless in the sight of God. Do not expect special treatment from me—you will learn from my words and actions that your natural wants and needs are to be subdued, and that you are here only because God put you here. You are a burden, but since I have to accept the gifts God gives me, I cannot let anyone know, especially you, that I am overburdened with “gifts."
  • I want you to engage with the world from a place of humility and superiority at the same time. You are special because God has chosen to put you in this family, in this church, in this faith, and you are going to heaven, unlike most of the other people in this town/state/country/world. But you are not worthy of this gift. You will learn to beat yourself up on a regular basis as you watch us adults constantly complain that we are unworthy and do everything we should not, and do not do those things we should.
  • We will practice courage in our family by choosing to stand out from the rest of the world by not participating in the normal everyday activities that are so sinful. Makeup? How dare you think you can improve on the way God made you. Jazzy music? It might make you want to swing your foot to the beat. And pretty soon it will be your legs, and then your whole body. Dancing is from the devil, and we avoid the things of the devil. He is stronger than we are and we have to avoid him at all costs. He can even take us away from God. 
  • We will share our struggles of feeling unworthy with each other, and this will bring us renewed strength to keep being strong. We will bravely tell people that we don’t practice birth control, even though we can’t afford the children we already have. We will remind people that we don’t watch the TV shows they are talking about because we don’t believe in having one of those sinful boxes in our houses. If they ask you, you can tell them that they, too, are going to hell because they don’t haven’t had someone from your church forgive their sins.
  • We will teach you selflessness by making you share everything you have with your siblings because there is not enough to go around. We will shame you if you try to set boundaries, because we are in charge, and you are not. Sharing and giving up what you want will be your family values and family practices.
  • You will learn accountability and respect or I will beat it into you. You will ‘fess up if you do something wrong. I will tell you when to say you are sorry, and teach you to ask for forgiveness whenever I think you need to. I will make sure no opportunity goes by without pointing out your vulnerabilities and telling you what you did wrong.
  • When uncertainty and scarcity visit, we will suffer the blessings of God with each other and draw strength knowing that we must bear this cross to get to our eternal reward.
  • Together we will cry and face fear and grief, but I will tell you that God’s ways are not our ways, and our suffering is in His hands.
  • We can laugh and we can sing, as long as the songs we sing are church songs. We will not dance. (See third point above) No matter what happens or how bad it gets, you can always count on me to tell you that God won’t give you more than you can bear. 
  • As you begin your journey, the greatest gift I can give you is to put so much fear into your heart that you will never think of leaving the church. Should you choose to give up this precious faith, I will kick you out of the house because I don’t want your unbelief to contaminate the other kids. 
  • I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly because I am a faulty believer and my faith is weak, as a flickering candle. I will only accept you when you are heaven acceptable—otherwise, when we interact, it is my job to make you as miserable and as uncomfortable as I can so that you will want my love so badly that you will do anything to get it.
What's your take? Does this resonate? If you are a parent who left the church while raising children, how did it change the way you relate to your kids? (Thanks Ed, for suggesting this as a separate post. I look forward to your input!)


  1. Wow. Kind of sends chills through me. What makes me sad is those that need to "get this" would read it and not get it. What a sad commentary on child rearing and character destroying.

  2. Not much to add. It is an excellent summary of the way impressionable little children have their self-image twisted in on itself and negatively reinforced for most every Sunday of their lives. You are told that you are a worm, that the devil is whispering in your ear, that your body is sinful flesh in which dwelleth no good thing. The best of your efforts are only comparable to filthy (menstrual) rags. You are worthy only of eternal damnation at the hands of a God who looks with contempt upon the humans he has created.

    But, cheer up! Despite your unworthiness and constant sinfulness, God has decided to offer a way out for the one out of 50,000 people who are incredibly fortunate enough to be born into a family adhering to one particular schismatic branch within the Laestadian revival movement of the Lutheran reformation of Western Christianity. Now, limit all social contacts to others within this tiny little group, avoid inconvenient facts and questioning, and have a bunch of kids whose little brains you will bind and constrain in the same way yours was.

    Raise up a child in the way he should go, and he will not depart from it, Proverbs says. No wonder.

  3. I was extremely fortunate in that I did not experience an upbringing like this. Of course there were always the undertone of being in the one true church, but it seemed our family always took those things with a grain of salt -- or perhaps a bushel of salt. We associated with many families outside of the church, and took part in a lot of things that the more pious folks did not. We didn't have a TV or go to dances or drink or go to movies, but I have never felt deprived because of that. I never heard my parents say anything, even remotely, along the lines of someone not being worthy of heaven. We always felt that God alone had the right to make those judgements. I never heard anyone speak against our family because of our practices, although that may have been due to having a grandfather who might have taken a horsewhip to anyone who did. I know there are many who were raised in the ways described in the parent post, but not all of us were.

    I left the church to some part due to the fact I heard preachers, from their hiding place behind the table, condemn people -- and nobody in the congregation had the courage to tell them to stop. I'll accept my share of the blame for that -- instead of confronting them for the self righteous, spineless bullies they were, I just left. How many of us have done just that -- just walk away rather than engaging in a good fight? Could turning the other cheek sometimes be a way of continuing the enabling -- and allowing others -- children in particular -- to continue to suffer in the ways described above?

  4. This needs to be put in every newspaper where there is a local church so that the community can understand what they are dealing with. They hide behind the name Apostolic Lutheran; why don't they call it what it really is, LIEstadianism. JC

  5. But it is not true of every Laestadian family as CVOW eloquently attests. I do think we are enabling the negative aspects of the religion when we retreat and throw arrows rather than engage in relationship and dialogue.

    How can we do the latter?

  6. My apologies! I was asked to remove one comment and accidentally removed two. I'll try to restore the second one -- please be patient.

    Meanwhile, let me just say that I was told I would never be loved again when I left, unless I repented. It is a terrible thing to say to a child and one of the major reasons for this website.

  7. "I will only accept you when you are heaven acceptable—otherwise, when we interact, it is my job to make you as miserable and as uncomfortable as I can so that you will want my love so badly that you will do anything to get it."

    This point resonated with my experience. When I told my mother I was probably going to leave the church, she responded with, "You can't really be part of our family unless you go to the church." In my mind, it meant that I would be thrown out, that I was unwanted, and even unwelcome. I wish she had expounded more on what she meant. Did she mean to throw me out of the family? Or, did she mean, that by not attending services, they would see me less, and I would become more of a peripheral member of the family.

    It was always said to keep close to the group. It was dangerous, perhaps, even to study abroad, or make too many friends in the world. I have only a few friends, really, but I enjoy meeting people. Growing up as a believer, but away from other believers, made it difficult to really feel like I had a place anywhere. For my parents, not so much, as they grew up in Laestadian communities and belonged to a congregation, and they were firmly rooted. I'm not sure why they moved us out to the periphery, but I suspect it had to do with hiding an addictive disorder that could easily have been exposed in a community of connected believers. The outcome was not so good--2 of their 5 children have left, even when we all moved closer to the community, and one has been said to be teetering close the the edge. I wonder why they blame it on our open-mindedness that we left, when being more open-minded was actually the result of their choices, and what we had to do to survive growing up away from other believers. It is much easier to blame than to look at your own choices and the impacts they have had on your children.

    I do not believe that all Laestadian families operate in this manner. I recently met a distant cousin, who left 40 years ago. She has maintained close relations to her parents, most of her relatives. They were sorry she left the church, but her mother, in contrast, said, "God decides, not me." I have another cousin who had the same experience too, and her best times are still in the bosom of her family. I'm jealous.

    I love my family. I wish, however, they were healthier people. Laestadians, like all other people of various races, religions, and creeds can be wonderful friends and family, and then, they can also be deeply flawed.

    So many people have left the church lately. I only used to hear of a person or two, every year, who left, and it was always a shock. Now, it seems like it is going in cascading waves, the leavers, in greater numbers. (And there are, too returners, I know of less).

    But I think I know the difference. I think the returners might have family who are forgiving, and who can admit the wrongs they have done to the leavers, can apologize, and make some of them right. And there are those who return who decide they can live with ambiguity, after all. Their families cast their nets with love instead of with disdain and they reeled them back in.

  8. Somehow I am missing something...I am not fully getting the two sides of this one religion. I can't see or separate it into what you seem to believe is there.

    It sorta feels like how my siblings hung on to a dad in the face of his being abusive.
    How they still treat my mother like a mom, when she was unable to discern abuse or remove us from it.

    How do you find something of value in a church system that believes in the forgiveness of sins and the sins being abuse....and to still find something there that is good?

    Is it good, when members are unaware of what is really going on....or is that person just naive to the full make-up of the church?

    What I feel like as a person who has experienced the indifference of the church is that it invalidates me. And, I can also see that by validating me, you would be invalidating others. I guess I wonder what is the truth. Or is the truth only as deep as our perceptions...

  9. Beth, some of us see Laestadians as complex, with both negative and positive aspects, as CVOW and Anonymous allude to above. This does not invalidate anyone's suffering, quite the opposite. To simplify people is to abandon critical thinking; it is extremism from the other side of the fence.

    I challenge you to ask yourself: what part of you wants to fault your siblings for accepting your parents as more than their bad acts, as worthy of love? What part of you wants them to be like you?

    What would you lose by validating their complexity and humanity? Of embracing what you have in common instead of what separates you?

    Don't misunderstand, I think anger at being hurt, deceived, and unloved is righteous anger, and serves an important purpose. It motivates change. But when we nurse that anger, justify it and protect it, we are as trapped as we were before.

    There is no contradiction in validating our suffering and the complex and essential humanity of everyone else, even our abusers.

  10. First of all I had to look up critical thinking to see if we were on the same page.

    "Critical thinking is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false."

    Interesting to know that critical thinking is to investigate what is true.

    In critical thinking is it only to be what is a personal experience? Do we believe things to be true without experiencing them or do we need direct experience?

    I am not certain I can gain or lose by the actions of my siblings, but it is more of what they can gain or lose. I don't need them to be like me to have peace, love and joy. I am challenging the ways they are replicating the legacy of abuse....in how you do as you said, "see them as worthy of love."

    Is it my responsibility to make them worthy of love? Or is it theirs?

    The complexity of humanity is more complex with abuse and cult-like religion in the mix...it takes it to another level. Somehow we equate understanding their sickness as accepting it. And, not realizing that we need to discern what is healthy for us and what is not.

    You may also fail to consider that I did live for 46 years trying to love them into something they could not be. I tried to be good enough so that they would act better, it did not work. Putting the responsibility on me seems insanity....like I said, it didn't work. I did this unknowing abuse was what I lived in....I was unaware, but felt the weight of making things better or worthy. I was not able to no matter how hard I tried. I now leave them to fill up their own worthiness.

    I just don't see how it will make the religion less cult-like if we call it a different name....Will that change how they treat their members or how it is experienced? And, how my parents will be kinder if I were to love them. What does it have to do with me?

    I wonder if we are clouding the issues by semantics....and leaving behind the simple critical thinking of is it true or false?

    Perhaps it can't personally invalidate me for I have validated the truth in my life.

    Maybe humanity is making the simple complex by skirting around the simple questions is it true?

    1. Oh, dear. I think we misunderstand each other. I don't mean to say you have a responsibility to do anything! I don't know the particulars of your situation, and mean only to be helpful by suggesting alternatives ways of looking at things.

      Terminology matters when we seek the truth; I think you would agree that a healthy skepticism of labels (and skepticism of our own perceptions and memories) is necessary for intellectual and spiritual growth. That doesn't mean there is one definition of "cult" . . . there are clearly many, and if we chose to use it, it indicates something about us, and our intentions.

      Scott Peck, a psychologist, once defined spirituality as having 4 stages, with Stage I being ego-centered (like a child), Stage 2 having blind faith in authority and seeing things as binary, Stage 3 embracing doubt, skepticism, questioning, complexity (often completely rejecting spirituality), and finally, Stage 4, characterized by profound happiness, wonder, compassion, detachment from ego, love of all nature, forgiveness of enemies, full acceptance, complete integration. Peck was describing in secular terms the path found in many wisdom traditions, and also perhaps the progression from mere intelligence (observation and classification) to wisdom (integration and application).

      I find this idea useful, but that doesn't mean it will be meaningful to anyone else.

  11. It is meaningful to me, Free! I think I've read all of his books over the years (helped me tremendously in my Dark Years) and own four, maybe five, of them. He explained things in a way that made sense to me. I gave my brother (who is still in the OALC) a copy of one of Peck's early books when when he was going through a rough divorce, but it made no sense to him At All. So, to each his own!


  12. When I was struggling the most with mental illness, addictions, low self esteem, and PTSD from sexual abuse my mind would say words like this, "Above all else, I want you to know that you are lower than dirt because we are all worthless in the sight of God." I have since experienced the Love of God and the difference is a million miles apart and one worth living for. I am shocked you don't have to be in my tormented mind to hear this.

    Carl Huhta

  13. There is a saying going around Facebook for Parents. "Watch how you speak to your children, for it becomes the voice in their head." I don't have it perfect, but you get the idea. We don't have to wonder too deeply to find the seeds of your tormented mind.

    Free, Terminology matters, definitions matter, feelings matter, experience matters and through it all a thread of truth does wonders. Is it true is a great question to ask.

    I don't know about the many definitions of cult, they all hold the same sentiment....maybe there can be more or less severe cults. Just as there can be more or less levels of evil, but evil is evil....just different kinds.

    I will look into Scott Peck... it is helpful to see the progression of stages.

  14. IM Perfect, I think sometimes we might confuse the experience of growing up in a dysfunctional family with the church, and they are two different things. While sex abuse, addiction, mental illness can find refuge in the church, where some people are held accountable, and others, are not, these things occur frequently in families who belong to mainstream religions, or no religion at all. Like the Catholic faith, which covered up pedophiliac priests, and have their share, along with many other faiths, of abusers who are covered up. We cannot, and must not, assume this is the experience of all families in the LLL faiths. I have seen some good and loving families in these churches, have watched them from afar, and wished I had belonged to one of them. I have seen good mothers and good fathers and siblings who support and love one another. I have to separate my experience in growing up in a family with an addict and a mother who could not cope with his behavior, and the resulting fall-out with the children. Years ago, my brother said something wise that I've always remembered. My father was particularly hard on my brothers, and emotionally distant and unsupportive. They've always looked to him for approval, for acceptance, but he was unable to accept them. His therapist told him that he "could be his own father." He could practice loving acceptance of his own self, and listen to his own wisdom, and give himself the love he missed out on. My therapist told me something similar, that I could, in essence, be my own mother and to try to think loving thoughts about myself. I'm not quite there yet, but I try. I have a couple of siblings who were more accepted by both my parents, and they're still favorites. I don't equate these family problems with the church, not necessarily. Such lack of parenting occurs in almost all addictive families to some level. I have seen, in my church, families who continue to foster relationships with their gay children, people who have left for other reasons. I recently met a young man whose family left the church when he was in his teens--mother, father, and children--after his confirmation. A friend whose daughter married into that family do not know the reasons why they left the church, just that they left, and that the entire family is still close, and they enjoy good relationships. It does not help me to view the church as all evil, black and white, because my family had problems. I would be ignoring, then, all the good that happened to me there, and the ways the church, and my family, shaped my character. While at times, I suffer from being estranged from the church and my family, and I miss them sometimes, I cannot see them as two separate things. They are overlapped, they are entwined, but I cannot overlook the people at the church who are very happy with their families and have no significant issues with the church. They love being there and show love to others, too.--Punahilkka

  15. Punahilkka, In my experience the church's creed or direction was what my mother used to raise us. It is, in my opinion, hard to separate church from family, when the family is molded from the churches beliefs. It isn't like a sport, where it is something you do and then return to life. Church was in our home by the virtue of what was allowed and what was not. In how her beliefs colored our worlds.

    The church wasn't just a Sunday affair, that we attended for a few hours, it permeated our home in everyday...it was how we lived, or aspired to.

    So, what happens in a dysfunctional home? To me, it allowed my father's sins to live with us, since she continued, as taught by the church, to forgive him. To toss away the bad into the Sea of Grace, and wipe him clean. He was then allowed to continue on. A perfect place for him. Not so for the little girls who happened to cross his path.

    To me, and again, in my experience the church and dysfunctional family go hand and hand. They were made for each other.

    I agree, abuse is in a wide variety of places. I can only know what I have experienced in my life. I speak of what I know. I speak as well from what I have heard others say of their abuse and they too came from the FALC or OALC.

    I speak from what I know.

    You speak from what you know.

    Most will want to maintain the image and have a hard time bringing in my experience for it doesn't match what they know. I understand, but by not bringing in the experiences of those whose lives were abused, and by members of the church, it does invalidate us.

    Changing minds is not my agenda.

    Giving a voice to the voiceless is.

    I can't make others hear....or listen or even believe.

    Abuse is challenged when we break the silence. I am trying to break the silence.
    If I could have separated the church from my dysfunctional family, I would have. But, the way the church lived in our home, it was impossible. And, many members knew my father was abusing as well as the preacher in his time. It wasn't like the church was innocent of the goings on in our home. It knew and did nothing.

    How can there be two such different churches in one church?

  16. IM Perfect. There are as many churches in the FALC as there are individuals in the FALC. I am not an apologist of the FALC. I would assume, however, that in the history of the church, there were divorces before divorces were acceptable. I know, in other branches of the church, there were rare divorces that had happened. Your mother made the choice that she did not to leave an abuser. I know several women who left abusive spouses in the 1950s and even 1960s in my church, and one or two even remarried, though it was not considered acceptable. Your mom sounds as though she was really weak, and was afraid or incapable of standing on her own, so she had to make her husband acceptable in order to continue on in the fantasy world she made up for herself. I have seen many people do that and it strikes close to home. I've done that myself to a small degree. Your mom, she simply cannot afford to see your truth. If she saw your truth she would not be able to live with herself and what she has done. --Punahilkka

  17. Punahilkka, I agree that IF she really saw her legacy, it would literally kill her. I also believe that more and more young women are taking control of their lives and NOT doing what so many did in the 1950's and 1960's. It is helpful to all for us to have these exchanges to clarify and to delve into the nuances of the church and families as well as different choices and their outcomes.
    I appreciate your willingness to state your side(s).

    Most of my fuel to make the choices I make are due to not live the life of my mother, to do what she wasn't able to do. I didn't start out strong, but making healthier choices created a stronger me.

    I will stand by my belief that the forgiveness of sins creates a separate problem, for we were made to feel less christian life to NoT forgive and forget. To not restore them as white as snow. In and of itself it leaves the avenue shut for setting boundaries against someone. For once the sin is forgiven, there is no reason to step away from a clean soul.

  18. Yes go ahead and forgive and never mind making amends. That's convenient. Mean while all the rest of us not in the church are viewed as less than rabbit turds.

  19. "I think there are two kinds of forgiveness, the kind that when you forgive you're also giving them another chance, or the kind where you forgive, but move on without them, use them both wisely" s.b. To me, the forgiveness of sins has never meant that I need to accept them back into my life, but just that I need to love them enough to give them a clean slate before God. To not bring these past sins up every time I see them at church for example. To love them enough to offer my forgiveness for what they have done, but not necessarily offer them the opportunity to do it again. Just to be clear, I also believe we need to follow the laws of the land.

  20. JAT, I have the same view of forgiveness as you. There are some people who simply do not care that they've hurt you, belittled you, disrespected you, gossiped about you, judged you, etc. etc. In more extreme examples, perhaps they've even beaten you, molested you, robbed you, raped you, or committed adultery against you. There are all levels of sin against other persons. Perhaps they don't care that they've sinned against you, and they're never, ever going to care, they're never going to apologize, and never make amends, and most importantly, they'll never change or adapt their behavior. They will continue to be disdainful or disrespectful in your dealings with them and may not only deny it, but also gaslight you, or even go as far as tell you you've hallucinated it all. They may try to insinuate or say out right that you're crazy, or that you're you've sinned by being unforgiving. People who really love and care about you would really want to know that they've hurt you, and they would genuinely want to make amends. They don't talk down to you, sneer at you, or make jokes at your expense or sarcastic remarks. I think about my own husband, my own children, my close friends, and some members of my own family and how hard it would feel to know that I've hurt them. One of my children this summer told me about something I said to him three or four years ago that hurt him, and he never forgot it. I love him. I would never, ever want to hurt him, and it hurt me to conclude I had done that, inadvertently. Why would he lie about it? I concluded I must have said this, though I don't remember. He misunderstood me, perhaps, and I apologized. I told him I would never want to hurt him, that he is very valuable to me, and I respected him. (Wow--I realize how far I have come in my life in comparison to how I was raised. That a parent could apologize to their own child!) So in conclusion--yes, sometimes, one sadly must walk away from such abusers, and its very sad when they are close members of your own family. However, if they make no attempt to hear you out and to acknowledge your hurt or pain, but only mock or belittle or deny or gaslight--you have no choice but to move on.

    Within the small confines of the church, if one needs to create such boundaries, especially if its close family, however, it is perceived as being unforgiving. Even if it's not, and it's an act of self-preservation. If you do not listen to your inner voice, and remain around people who are toxic to you, your body will sometimes tell you! (Headaches, stomach aches, hives, panic attacks). So JAT, what does one do if these people are your close relatives, or members of your own congregation? Forgiving is not hard, really, but it is difficult to endure from year to year with people who given the opportunity, will continue to hurt you.

    I recently read an article about estrangement that illustrates the responsibilities of the person who has been estranged by another - very powerful: http://www.tinagilbertson.com/estrangement.html

  21. Great observations.

    The Buddha was once spat on, and looked at the spitter and said calmly "what next?" The spitter was confused. The next day he came to the Buddha and begged forgiveness. The Buddha said "the man who was spat on and the man who spat are no longer here." Talk about not being attached! Now would the Buddha hang out with a guy who kept spitting on him? Not a chance. He warned us to avoid those who arouse us to anger, greed, etc. and to seek the company of those who uplift us.

    It is up to us to choose what is healthy and conducive to our wellbeing.

    I think forgiveness of this kind has nothing to do with the person who wronged us. It is a radical decision not to let anyone's (including your own) past actions define one's present self. It allows me to accept the pain, but not let it become me. It is tremendously liberating. This is how I wish to keep forgiving those who wrong me no matter whether they ask for it or not. It's not about their peace of mind, it's about mine.

    My therapist once told me that all suffering is due to blame. This made me mad at first, because I thought he was saying I had no reason to blame my past for any suffering. But I was missing the boat. What he meant was bad stuff happens, and we get to choose how to react to it. If we stay stuck in blame, we are hanging on to the hot coal or turdblossom someone gave us. The only way to let go is to open our hands. That doesn't mean we accept another hot coal or turdblossom! We've learned.

    Sorry for rambling. I have been thinking about how an OALC person told me it was my duty to go to someone who had wronged me so he could confess and get it off his conscience. This seemed warped to me. His conscience is his affair.

    I forgave him long ago. I have no desire to see him or talk to him, but if that happens, I can accept it, too. The person who did the hurt and the person who got hurt are no longer here.

  22. Check out this awesome video about forgiveness.

  23. It is a good video on forgiveness.

  24. I want to run from people who preach forgiveness of the sort that is a denial of reality. One has to process things and really get in touch with their true feelings. You can't just ignore that little voice that is really screaming out to protect you. That is why I bring up the amends part because these people act like saying I am sorry somehow fixes everything. Maybe sometimes, but actions are the key. I am not talking about earning salvation , as if God is holding a tazer and a record book waiting to take you out if you don't make things right. I am talking about really owning your mistake. "I was wrong when I. ............ You didn't deserve that and to be treated like that. How can I make this right?" Why is this part if the process ever talked about. Anyone can say they are sorry to save their own ass.

    1. Dude,
      I agree with most of what you are saying, but the fact is, in most cases you cannot force reparations. From my own personal experience and directly relating to how it applies after leaving this faith, they will NEVER understand how they have hurt you. Expecting someone to make something right when they can't understand what the problem is setting yourself up to be hurt again. I know it isn't fair. I know that I have said sorry to save my own ass in the past. In my parenting today, I do not force my children to say they are sorry if they are not, I find it to be much more effective to talk about it until they get there themselves. I am NOT trying to excuse bad behavior by church members or anything of that nature, (or assume that you don't already know what I am saying,) but am just hoping to encourage you on your path because really, forgiveness is for YOU. You get to let it go, when you're ready, and it feels so amazing to be free of something that you didn't necessarily even know was weighing you down.
      An overall comment after reading the post and comments:
      Obviously I am jaded and an imperfect parent, partly because I am part my parents. I accept that, rather, I own that. I struggle with not guilting my own children, (it's so effective for immediate obedience!) and in teaching them not to be judgemental. It feels like it is ingrained in me. However, one thing that I have, that all of you have as well- AWARENESS. And, my kids do not walk in fear. This post caused some very strong emotional reactions all around...well done!

  25. ude, you are right on! I don't think I learned this true accountability and taking responsibility for the fallout of my actions until long after I left the church. All I ever saw modeled was, "oh, I'm caught. quick, ask for forgiveness, and we won't ever talk about it again!" You didn't get to process things. You had to squash it down and try not to think about it. True forgiveness is not a process that you can manipulate and force into happening.
    mouse in a corner

  26. It is just so strange that they will talk about 'putting away' sin and they refer to this condition where an individual has done something wrong but is worried about someone finding out, and the terrible sufferings of keeping that 'sin' to himself. No mention of the harm done at all. Then he tells someone so he can relieve himself of guilt and temporarily 'travel' in the 'kingdom' until the next transgression. They think that nobody else outside of their church can tell is able to confess. Heck anyone can do that. What is scary is that I could see where you could be a scary dude if you just keep confessing and eventually are capable of avoiding accountability for your actions. I think to myself 'big deal!!! You are honest but what is your true motive? Is it to avoid punishment? It is to cover your tracks? ' I am not impressed with this behavior at all because it is a reverse form of pride. Look at me I am so humble because I spilled my guts and at the same time my kingdom friends and I are better than everyone else because we have a clean conscience. Sometime telling the truth can hurt an innocent 3rd party but that's ok because we are saving out own ass. Nothing wrong with honesty and there isn't going to be much peace and true love without it. It just a stands out tom me that confession IS THE SOLUTION and absolutely nothing else. It is so hollow and can't anyone see this? It is so obvious . Good for you - you confessed.

    Please help me with this: what is a named sin?

    For example: a preacher from the kingdom was blasting the act of watching March madness on the internet (the NCAA basketball tourney) on the internet. I say WATCHING and not LISTENING ON THE RADIO. Listening is ok but watching is wrong. Who says so? How do they know? HYPOCRITES!!!!! I can't freakin stand it!!!

    What bibles do they read? Is it a particular translation?

    I am sure the subject of many of there sermons is how they are persecuted. Give me a break. They look down on me and make no secret about it. Do they realize how their god is not someone I want nor do I want to be them?

    As you can see I'm a little resentful and very angry.


    1. Dude, I understand your anger. I think it comes across the way you described for many of the "fallen ones." However, I have to wonder how much of it goes on in reality from the preachers' standpoint. I haven't visited many of the OALC congregations over the last few decades, but I remember it being preached that asking for forgiveness repeatedly for an "action" sin without trying to modify your behavior diminished the value of the forgiveness and eventually rendered it moot. It doesn't help to be remorseful after the fact if one refuses to change!

      Has the preaching changed so much, then?


    2. I don't actually go to the sermons but I've listened to them and it's like being a fly on the wall finding out why I have been feeling like I am. I am the one they look at and take comfort in not being a self indulgent worldly skidmark and my life doesn't matter to them and finally learning in the end they are Gods children and .... You know the rest. I am not impressed with their so called godliness and they think they are giving the world this great testimony and are persecuted. It's quite the opposite. I finally know the truth.

    3. By the way the preaching I've heard is exactly like that.

      What is a named sin? Thanks

    4. Section 4.6.3 of EOP (“Sin – Confession”) discusses the uniquely Laestadian idea of “name sins.” Near as I can tell, it is a theological innovation based on the Catholic mortal sins that had to be confessed lest the sinner head down the chute to hell. The Laestadian twist is that “name sins” have to be confessed by name, lest they not be really forgiven.

  27. I always got confused about the part where something was a sin, not because the action was inherently sinful by itself, but the sin was being disobedient to the congregation, who had decided that the activity was too close to sin, that it was too big a temptation, so one shouldn't do it. An example would be watching Television. Clearly not all shows would be considered sinful to them, but because some might be, then we just throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. Or sports. There was nothing inherently sinful about participating in sports, it was sinful because the congregation decided we shouldn't. Talk about splitting hairs... That's the LLC for you...at least before I left.

    In regard to Forgiveness, it seems to me that there is two parts to it. One is the personal letting go of the hold of someone else's actions over your emotional self, the other is the actual forgiveness that is received by the other person.


  28. Sisu, I had to chuckle a little when I read your post about repeating the sin and confessing over and over. I seem to recall that those weepfests used to be virtually canned language on both sides: "Forgive me for being such a poor Christian, for having so many lusts and desires, for being so quick to anger and slow to forgive." (God forbid anyone would actually give any juicy specifics!) Then the response was always "Believe all of your sins forgiven in Jesus' name and true blood." "Next."