"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Hear No Evil, See No Evil

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Hear No Evil, See No Evil

Carl Huhta gave me permission to repost his thoughts about his abusive father's enablers. (After decades of abuse and countless victims, his father was finally investigated, prosecuted, found guilty, and given a short prison sentence. He died last year, at age 82, as a registered sex offender, unreconciled with his victims, who included his own children.) This is an excerpt. Read the entire thing at Carl's blog, Messy Guru.
Nobody apologized from within the FALC organization for not doing anything for my family. We had zero value to them. Nobody went to the authorities when all 14 of us Huhta's were growing up. 
Victims told my mother. Neighbors told my mother. She went to church. He kept on molesting. It went on for generations. Victims told their parents. Their parents did nothing. Victims told the main minister in Calumet. He did a meek attempt at "confronting" my father. My mother did not ask what the minister came to "visit" about. He never went to the authorities. He got "involved" when it became personal to him. And that was years later. And it was not for my family.
I was met with "indifference" from the blood relatives and the FALC Chairman of the Board said he will not investigate their own. Keep in mind most of these people have known me and my family since I was born. They watched our family come in and out of Sunday School, Bible Class and Church.

Year after year.
. . . I also wonder how many other victims there are still in their organization. I wonder if they will get help. I wonder if anybody believes them. I wonder if they are left with the burden of an "untold" story. Forgiven and forgotten. 
Sex abuse has been discussed six ways to Sunday on this blog, and I have long been perplexed at how anyone (Laestadian, Catholic, Hindu, Vulcan, you name it) can feel justified in ignoring it. Until I read this thoughtful analysis of the many reasons abuse goes undetected and unreported. In a nutshell:

  • Overwhelming feelings (like fear, anger, or shame) caused by just thinking about the sexual abuse of children.
  • Confusion caused by incorrect stereotypes about what kinds of people sexually use and abuse children.
  • Physical, emotional, and financial dependency on an individual or group that would be lost (for oneself and the family) if such concerns are raised
  • Self doubts of various kinds (e.g., “I’m paranoid.” “What if I’m wrong?” “It’s none of my business.”).
  • Fears of various consequences (e.g., of acknowledging betrayal by a trusted and respected person, of being wrong, of being right).

Please read the whole thing and then come back and discuss. List the things that can be done, now, in the church and outside of it, to prevent abuse.


  1. Are these expressions like idiom? I wanna learn more about English, whether it is reading text or listening form.


    1. Translation: Your interpretation of Jesus is wrong. But not mine!


  3. sorry about the caps. My tablet needs work. I was just trying to prod some preacher to defend or expose their false teachings. Maybe the one from the Caumet area who reads this blog.,...........Matt.

    1. I'm sure you'll have good luck with that by calling their beliefs a perversion and false religion and condemning them to hell. You sound positively delightful.

  4. I have learned a lot by reading this although none is justification for ignoring abuse. I do get stuck on the 4th reason. I would hate to accuse anyone falsely and worry that I am a busy body if I dig into rumors. I think I should follow up on them now, but then again, that doesn't seem like it would be effective either because if the "wash, rinse, repeat" policy.
    Maybe, if i/we could get the churches attention long enough, a repentant abuser could educate them on the true dysfunction of this sexual desire. A professional(s)) could also try to educate these preachers on this topic. that these people with this problem need extensive help and it cannot be swept under the rug after confession. I know the OAlC doesn't sweep drug problems under the rug. They speak openly about people with drug problems, theft, gambling addiction.... They have even preached at church that so-and-so is "living in sin". so I still can't comprehend why they treat child molestation with total forgive and forget.
    Do you think a video posted on this blog would get their attention? Be effective?
    -my view

  5. I believe we have to acknowledge that in order for abuse to start decreasing, we will have to do what has not been done. Something different. Anything different. It isn't helpful to look outward as to what others can do, but start within your own relationships, within families, to be the change you want to see in the world.

    Perhaps we can't wake others up, but we who are awake need to change how we engage with folks who abuse and with those who stand by them, either knowingly or unknowingly.

    We seem to think, that they don't know there is abuse. It may be, as it was for me, a feeling of fear or resentment or not wanting to be close to someone…a family member. That is a good start, by honoring your feelings.

    Start asking questions, rattling cages, upsetting the cycle of silence…bit by bit.

    The old ways were to keep silent, to not get involved, to forgive and to forget, to focus on the good points.

    It isn't to seek help outside to stop the abuse, but to help us become empowered.

    The Community Mental Health Agencies will be helpful, as well as Dial Help, in ways to start making changes to honor your feelings.

    I don't believe we can expect the folks who are entangle in the abuse to be the ones to start changing, unless we start putting up boundaries.

    And, even then, the families we speak of are large, exceptionally large. There are no ways we can swing a whole family around, but maybe we can change enough limbs on our trees to slowly start changing legacies within families.

    If not you, who? If not now when? When will there be a good time to start throwing the truth around in your relationships, to start voicing your feelings? It begins with small steps, one shaky voice at a time, beginning to add a different conversation. One that is completely new to the old family ways.

    You may not have followers, and you may lose family, but you will also lose the legacy of abuse that has haunted many families….on your limb of the family tree.

    We can't wait for the outside to help us. This will be an inside job. 95% of abuse happens with someone you know….of that 50% family members. It is someone close to you….and it is up to you how you respond.

    Again, seek help for the changes you want to make; get someone on your side…with wisdom and clear vision. If you were raised in abuse (born in captivity) your mind and definitions will be telling you no abuse lives there.

    In the guts of many of you, you know it has touched your family. What are you going to do about it?

    Beth (Huhta) Jukuri

  6. The word "rumors" has spared more pedophiles from being caught then you can possibly imagine. I had spoke with a minister who focused entirely on this word while his son kept on abusing young boys, his grandchildren and others. My father had been "rumored" to be a pedophile and nobody could get beyond that word. A simple word. If you "heard" I was a pedophile and you asked me about it, I would not be hurt or angry. I know of only one person who came forward with his childhood past about his abuse with others and was vilified for it and not accepted. Forgiveness of sins only works for the silent pedophile and people scared of the word rumor. Carl Huhta

  7. It is very peculiar about the sentiment many have about 'spreading rumors' so they remain silent. You have to wonder, IF the rumor was about a teacher (non-church member) how they would respond, what they would demand etc.

    And, it appears to be a way to do nothing out of fear of hurting someone's reputation. I know many who refused to 'hurt' my father's. So, instead he hurt little girls.

    What I do, is give what I have heard to our local Detective and he can do with it what he will. It isn't like we are asking you to investigate BUT to pass on to folks what you have heard.

    My father's exposure started when someone passed on their concerns…it started the ball rolling. If you know either the person doing the abuse OR the children at risk or both, PLEASE pass this info on to the helping organizations in your community.

    This is what the adults failed to do. They failed when they heard a rumor and did not pass it out of the church and into the hands of folks who are trained to deal with these issues.

    The detectives job is to detect if the 'rumor' holds water…it isn't ours. Ours is to pass on the information we hear. It needs to get outside of the families, outside of the church….for nothing happens inside, but the forgiveness of sins and the pedophile is washed and then set free…to 'sin' again.


  8. In my experience, it seems that there is a protection of men, and not so much--women. But it is the women who are shunned, for example, for divorcing an abusive or a cheating spouse, or having an extramarital affair, or having a child out of wedlock, while ignoring the behavior of adult men who do the same, or even worse--abuse children sexually.

  9. The more unequal the gender roles, the more this is true, in any family or organization. In fundamentalist versions of faiths (Christian, Muslim, Mormon, Jewish, you name it), nothing must upset the Russian nesting doll system, in which children and women are smaller and reside "within" the male. Questioning that system (exposing it AS a manmade system, not a Godly decree) is what they actually mean by the ultimate sin.

    So the big outside doll tries to deal with abuse internally, believing it is a question of obedience to authority, and forcing the sinner to obey is the cure. But it is more like a cancer that unless treated, will spread.

    While reporting rumors to authorities is an important step, they are powerless if nobody talks -- either from fear or because (consciously or not) they are protecting that outside doll.

    Whether we are inside or outside that nesting doll, the best thing we can do is be true friends to children -- treating them as independent, not "owned" by anyone but themselves. This not only gives them an example of a healthy relationship, it gives them a trusted adult in whom they can confide.

  10. Advice to parents...or anyone else who finds out about abuse...refer to people with knowledge. I am aware of a family who went to the Church board for advice after discovering that an aunt was sexually abusing a couple of their boys...and were told not to take them to see a therapist. Wouldn't want that worldly influence...right? So the cycle continues.
    I am told that there is starting to be more conversation about abuse and how to handle it within the LLC, I have been outside for 15+ years, so I cannot say for sure. I always thought it was interesting how many rumors there were in a setting where gossip was considered a sin.

    1. Yes, the LLC has addressed child sexual abuse in official materials presented to congregations, as well an article in the Voice of Zion newspaper. They do seem to take the issue seriously. I give credit where credit is due, along with some criticism, in my book.

  11. I would not discount 'telling authorities' due to the fact that they need a child to come forth. It is true, but how can you know which child will be brave enough to tag the pedophile. And, once they do, the court systems take it from there.

    I would also like to say, that the empowerment of telling and BEING heard by authorities goes along way in recovery. Meaning they will not 'bless' it away…but recognize it as a criminal act.

    Sometimes children tell Tom Rosemurgy and he doesn't make them go public and down the avenue of prosecution, but rather his interest is in what the child wants.

    In abuse, a child doesn't have choices.
    In Telling and being able to choose what they want to do or not want to do is a start to getting back their lives.

    What I think we fail to consider is How much the laws and social services understand and know about these issues COMPARED to the church. And, yet many go to the preacher the church board for issues they are not trained to handle.

    My beef, If I have one, with the church, is that they don't Pass them on to the authorities, and admit that sexual abuse is a criminal act. It is like they are now aiding and abetting the criminals when they don't expose them.

    I agree that the women are not seen as equals or felt as such and don't dare go ahead of the men…and we need strong men to lead the charge. But what man wants to give up the top of the mountain, where he rules?

    Sadly, this issue will be fought and won by the children and women….if they dare be the ones to take up the helm and change the dynamics they were taught.

    It will take a revolt from the underlings…the victims and the voiceless and the choice less to dare stand up…


  12. My uncle and I were just discussing the idea of women and children historically not having value in the FALC system. He was saying how he doesn't see how some of the strongest women he knows stay under that system. I tried to explain that if that is your whole culture, your whole world, then you feel there is a problem with yourself if you expect better treatment than the culture allows. I think this is why Ray Huhta was allowed to terrorize so many. Those who tried to report did so to the wrong people, but to the people their culture taught them to report to. Unfortunately, those in authority also did what they were trained to do, which was go to the offender and talk to them. I'd like to think times were different, but are they different than now? Also, it is so ingrained in the culture and religion that families should stay together, that Ray's children were overlooked as victims. Some even thought that Ray wouldn't harm his own children, only neighborhood children. They just couldn't understand the depth of his evil because it wasn't in their way of thinking. So if they kept the neighborhood children away, problem solved right? I truly believe there was no intentional "throwing the Huhta kids under the bus". Just ignorance and rose colored glasses. There is also a fear of government involvement because of the tide of acceptance turning away from large families. If they stay under the radar they won't bring unwanted attention to their church. Just my two cents and thoughts for the day.

  13. I too, at first, felt that there was no intentional throwing of children under the bus, but after talking and processing this, I believe that the children under the bus wheels are just the residual affect of holding on to your faith as the MoST important thing in their worlds.

    It isn't to purposefully discount all things that come in the way of faith, but it does, for faith and the way to heaven always will trump all things.

    All things include your own children.

    When I spoke to my mother, I was told I wasn't allowed to discuss her faith or her marriage. Well, that pretty much left me with nowhere to go to discuss the contents of abuse with my father and how he was able to remain her husband.

    So, while I too thought, in innocence "they didn't know no better"…they knew what they wanted. They wanted to hold tight to a faith that believed in forgiving as a way to deal with the sin of abuse.

    I would have hoped that nowadays it would have been different. However, in my experience the folks are still keeping the old faith as it was back then, the same today.

    What has changed?
    What sins have now been made okay?
    What is their ultimate mission and how has that changed.

    Who really has rose colored glasses and ignorance often times is those of us who want to see them in a kinder light than they actually are.

    We will not stop this abuse by dealing with the perpetrators, but by not being bystanders and those who know and not make life changes.

    Life changes would look like questioning the actions of forgiveness of sins. Which among the members of these churches would dare suggest that the main framework of the road to heaven is flawed?

    This is going to be a much slower boat to turn around…and it will be turned by the people Inside of the church, not on the outside…Or perhaps when the church implodes upon itself, where its dysfunction bleeds into the outside and the outside doesn't just forgive it by bring it to trial in the courts of law.

    When we speak of sexual abuse of a child…we are not calling it and identifying it as criminal behavior. We fail to appreciate the enormity of it.

    While many think that the folks were looking upon the children, most were saving their Faith and church by continuing to be good members and using its tool.

    Children were and always have been second to the Faith.
    Mother's will shun their children if and when they leave the church, in most cases.
    Wives will bless their husbands, so as to not take the sin upon themselves.

    It isn't so much of what they overlooked, but what they didn't want to fail.

  14. If anybody could find a copy of the article in the Voice of Zion and publish it here, I would appreciate it. I would also like to comment on the post above. "Strong women" staying in that system does not make them stronger in my experience. My mother has been described also as "strong" woman. Had she crumbled while we were growing up (facing the truth, questioning her husband, listened to her children and neighbors) we all might have been spared and seen. Your comments on the "Huhta children" lacks experience and depth. You may truly "believe" that our fate was caused by people with "just rose colored glasses and ignorance". It's another to live out the affects of this sentiment. May you never have to walk in our shoes or face the affects of abuse of any kind or face the indifference of "friends" and "family". I would not wish this on anybody including my abusers and the people within the FALC who turned away and did nothing. Carl Huhta

  15. BRAVO!!!! I would love to see parts (or all of it) of this placed into the Greetings Of Peace within the FALC and signed by the Mission Board. They have done NOTHING other than bless the abusers. Thanks for posting and sharing. Its a start. Carl Huhta