"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: March 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Good Kid (Guest Post)

This is a guest post by a reader I’ll call The Good Kid. If you are struggling with similar issues and would like to talk, let me know on the contact form and I’ll put you in touch with him (privacy assured). —Free


Imagine this. You're a good kid. You want to please your parents. You want to do well in school. You want to do well in everything you do, including being a good Christian kid. You try your best to be this good kid because it's the one thing you can control in your life. Your home life isn't amazing. It's actually pretty abusive. But that's beside the point. You go to church pretty much every Sunday. You make sure that you know the answers to the questions that are being asked at the gatherings. You go to young peoples’ gatherings. You travel across the country with the Elders when they're here. You go to confirmation and get yourself a girlfriend, which of course doesn't work because you are too young. You're sad that it doesn't work out, so you date another girl, but that doesn't work either. You still have plans to get married one day, and have kids. You still want to be a good person and give back to others in some way. 

But you're different, and you know that you're different. You grew up with no TV and no movies,  and in a time where you didn't hear a lot about the "different" that you were. Every few Sundays they preach about the different that you are. They tell you that you're going to hell. You're pretty confused, because you know that you didn't choose to be different. You don't understand why you're going to hell, when you seriously try so hard to be so good for so many different people. 

Then, one day, you finally realize that you're tired of being told that you're going to hell. You're tired of trying to be good for everyone else. You're tired of sitting in a building where the preachers are talking about how you're going to hell. You're tired of it all. So you finally decide to walk out the doors of the church. And it is hard! You lose a lot of family members. You lose a lot of your support system. You lose many friends. You lose your faith. You turn to drugs and alcohol because you can at least control how high or how drunk you get. You put "being good" on the back burner for a while. But, eventually, you smarten up and realize that you're not that person. You still want to be a good human being. You want to be you. You've always been you. You were born this way. You are, and always have been, gay . . . AND THAT'S OKAY! 

The BS you were taught was not real. It wasn't true. You can find another church, one that won't condemn you to hell. You can get your faith back if you'd like. You can find friends who will love you as you are. You can still have kids if you'd like. You can still get married if you'd like. You can still give back to society if you'd like. You can get to a point in your life where you finally realize that being gay is the same as being born with black hair, or being lefthanded. It simply is what it is. The men who told you that it was wrong, well, they're simply uneducated. Maybe some of them are gay, too. Who knows?

But let me tell you one thing, you are not alone. Things can get better for you. Don't think that you have to marry someone of the opposite sex and "pretend" to be okay with doing that. You won’t be okay. You won’t be happy.  Your life is too precious for a closet.

I'm here to tell you that there are others just like you.

And you know what? I'm doing just fine.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Læstadianism and Sami Identity: A Talk by Lis-Mari Hjortfors

Recorded at Umeå University on March 9, 2016. Organizers: Umeå University and SLU. This is a talk by Lis-Mari Hjortfors, an ethnologist and researcher at Umeå University who studies the role of Laestadianism in the preservation of Sami identity, language, and tradition.