Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Unbearable Loneliness (No More)

The recent post by anonymous gave me a jolt. I often forget how painful it was to feel trapped, with seemingly no exits.

She writes:

I have so many doubts, have been having for so many years. Am living under fear and emptiness, uncertainty and confusion. Want to leave, but feel so constrained by the social issues involved in leaving. Not sure I have the mental stamina to withstand the shunning, and my family's sure grief. :( Dread the unbearable lonliness in losing my community. Yet at the same time, I am plagued by the sickening hypocrisy of bringing my innocent children up in it. Not sure where to turn anymore. I already recognize some of you here; and you would be sure to know me. I live in fear of being found out, at this time I prize my anonymnity, it is allowing me to jump in on these discussions here. Even wonder as I type this if I am commiting the 'unforgivable sin', by blaspheming The Church. Feel as if I may even go to He** for it. How do I know? How does anyone know? I pray every day that He will help me, that He will guide me. I know that He will. His love is unconditional, and forever. That is my only comfort right now.

First, let me say you don't need to worry about being outed on this blog. You can remain anonymous as long as you like. We understand the reasons why.

Most of us here have lived through that "unbearable loneliness" you speak of. It is awful. You won't have to do that, friend, because we're here. And we'll help.

Check out this wiki how. It represents my own views on how to best leave the OALC. Feel free to edit it.

194 comments:

  1. Another awesome site on the internet. Will wonders never cease?

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  2. I like the wiki how-to page, extoots! I learned about something new today (the wiki, not how to leave) I left already. :)

    anon, I felt the same way that you describe your feelings. You are not alone in that. When the pain of staying as I was became greater than the fear of what would happen if I left, I got the courage to leave. I won't lie; my family was upset. I felt scared. I second-guessed my decision. But my kids have a faith like I never had because they have been able to learn the truth about our God.

    Now after I have gotten free, I know I made the right decision. I know it without a doubt. I was drowning in a world of illusions, and now--I have so much joy. I have a church home that I love. I know I've been saved by an awesome God. The uneasiness you feel there is God nudging you, encouraging you out of the darkness toward a life in the light--His light! He will walk with you.

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  3. Many Trails Home2/15/2007 02:36:00 AM

    Whew. This is about as poignant as it gets. Many blessings to you, dear one. When things get too bleak, remember this: They don't call Jesus "The Comforter" for nothing. He is always with you. Only fear blocks awareness, and Jesus came to bring love, not fear. We on this site see your experience as God pushing you toward Truth. And the Truth will set you free. It probably won't be easy but you'll be fine. Wishing you strength, comfort, and many blessings. MTH

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  4. To anonymous,
    I'm married with children and quietly exited several years ago. I live in an area where the OALC congregation is quite large. Looking back, I wasn't prepared for and am sometimes still hurt by the coldness of some in my family and other church members.
    The ONLY part of my life that I changed is that I no longer attend that church building. Other than that, I am still pretty much the same person. I never hid my thoughts and questions when I was attending. In fact, there were many others in the church who openly shared the same.
    Fast forward - OALCers will distance themselves from you. Those who you might have once had something in common with will stop talking. Family members won't know how to love you in your new "state". Some will assume you are on the road to perdition. Some will treat you as if you are a bad example, as if you will poison them. Some will no longer come to visit. Be prepared to handle the rejection.
    One OALCer told me that it is true that if one decides to leave, most OALCers assume that you no longer want anything to do with them. That is simply not true. I would like nothing more than to be able to keep some of my old friendships and relationships with my family.
    It has taken time to make a new life for myself and for my spouse and children. Through it all, I'm living what is in my heart. I'm a Christian, not a Laestadian. Hopefully you will find the strength to live what you believe in your heart. Will write more later.

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  5. LLLreader sez: I know you will be uplifted by the previous posts. I would add that it might be helpful to you to find somone in your area to talk to in person. You might know of, or hear of, somone else who has left. Most people are willing to lend an ear. We all know what it's like. I had a wonderful Mom who always worried about "measuring up", having married into the church instead of being born into it--which somehow is "more better". Anyway, when she was at the end of her life I believe she realized what a waste all that worrying about "what people will think" really was. When she died, it was just her and the Lord.

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  6. stranger in a strange land2/15/2007 10:54:00 AM

    Just a fleeting thought--how great it would be if there was an in-person support group for former and doubting Laestadians. It seems that larger localities, such as Seattle, Twin Cities, Duluth, etc. would have the population to support such an endeavor. It could be possibly once a month. It would probably help a "have left", "leaving", or "thinking of leaving" individual in a more personal way. I know I'd attend such an event if we had one here, even though I still attend my church and am not sure if I'll ever leave. It would also provide some socialization with people who would understand the context of how you were raised. There could be potlucks and family gatherings. I know I've tried to attend some Finnish-American events and they were fun and informative but most of the membership was elderly and centered on the music and dance heritage rather than the apostolic.

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  7. stranger in a strange land2/15/2007 10:57:00 AM

    Just a little humor--what would you call such a group?

    Apostolics Anonymous?

    And would we follow the 12-step program?

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  8. Hello to all who so lovingly answered my post. : ) (I am the new 'anon' who posted the origional post in discussion here)
    Wow, what a gift to be able to open this site today, and see that I am indeed not alone! That so many care and understand. It is so uplifting. Although certainly my own personal journey still is mine, between myself and The Lord. Yet, these communities can really help! And I feel so thankful for that. I belong (?) to a very large congregation; maybe the largest one we have here in US. And every Sunday (and all week) I am surrounded by people, yet have never felt lonlier. It must be so common it is practically a cliche, by now. But it's not funny. Maybe someday, when all this is behind me, I will laugh. I will be able to smile at it all. But right now, it is painful. And full of numbing fear. Still afraid that I am not doing the right thing. Well anyhow, I'm rambling. : )

    One thing that I have always been told, that I have always known about myself, is that I DO have a strong 'intellect'. I am almost proud of it, although I know all gifts come from God. It has been my experience that, since becoming married and a mother, (in the OALC), I have so frequently had to 'dumb myself down'.. to turn off my innate intellectual leanings, and it has been stifling. I am not ashamed of the brain God gave me! I wish now I had pursued my dreams, of going to college, being a writer, etc. Not that I begrudge my precious children, they are my greatest gifts. It's just that, maybe, if the timeline had gone a bit differently... ah well. Water under the bridge and all that. Anyhow, there is just so much I wish to say. I will have to continue to post, although I will not risk exposure with a 'real' blog!! : ) Yikes.
    Thanks again, to everyone who answered. May God bless.

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  9. HA! HA! I know what you mean by "dumming yorself dowwn." Now I don't even know how to think. My brain gets very overloaded from lack of use! My desire is there and by golly if God wants me to learn, I wanna learn!

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  10. This is sort of off our normal topic here (as if that ever stopped any of us from heading down a bunny trail!), but maybe this will be encouraging in some way. I went back to college late and got my BS in engineering at the ripe old age of 34. (It was a real experience going to college with three young kids in tow and my wife trying to make ends meet but that's yet another story.) I've taken lots of various grad level courses over the years since then, and completed my MA in Education at the overripe old age of 54. I figure when I stop learning they can start shoveling dirt, because I'll be dead! My point is that sometimes we delay our education or other things in our lives but delay does not mean cancel!

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  11. My Father is on his sixth (6th!) BS/BA at the ripe old age of 70! He has never bothered to fill out the paperwork to actually receive them after his first, funny. He does not want to seem proud. ha!

    For a while I was the dumb one in the family only with my one BS.

    Learnin' is addictive as cigarettes, maybe that is why Apostolics are so anti-intellectual.

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  12. I trully feel sorry for the lady above as she needs to come to church this Sunday and repent her sins and have a broken heart. The consequence of serving sin and walking in disobedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, eventually is spiritual death. [Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16).] But God will not take His Spirit away from those who have the desire to continue walking in the light, even though they feel that they have not always been able to overcome temptation: [A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench... (Isaiah 42:3).] Child of god go speak to your dear Christians and companions as we all journey to meet on the other side.

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  13. Apostolic Anon:
    Romans 6:16 says whatever we submit ourselves to we become slaves to. I feel like if I obey all Apostolic teachings I'm submitting to their doctrine. Therefore, I become a slave to their doctrine. I want to be a slave (or obedient) to Christ as he is righteousness. Have you ever thought of it from that point of view?

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  14. Anonymous above, which sin, exactly, are you telling this lady she need repent? Just how is she "serving sin and walking in disobedience to the Holy Spirit"? Please be specific. We're listening.

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  15. One of the best things about having had some time as a former Laestadian is that the messages of fear and guilt like the one from anonymous no longer have the power they once did. I'm learning to live free.

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  16. She has the sin of unbelief in this precious Christianity and she could be on the road to destruction. If a believer's conscience is burdened with sins she has committed and acknowledged before, these sins may still be a hindrance to her faith. If the believer feels an inner need and urge to confess these sins to a trusted Christian, this is the voice of the Holy Spirit to which she should be obedient. Confession of sins to a confessor is not a meritorious work and the believer is not made righteous by this act, for she is already righteous in Christ. She confesses her sins in order to restore peace of conscience through absolution, and so that she may be able to freely appropriate the Gospel. She is not to think that only those sins which she confessed are forgiven, for absolution means that all her sins are forgiven, even those which she may not be aware of. Confession should never be taught in an exacting spirit. Neither should it be taught as a condition for salvation, but rather, as a gift of God's mercy. The only condition for salvation is scriptural faith in Jesus. [Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life (John 6:47).]

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  17. I'm pushing 50 and a college student.
    Don't ever give up on your dream. You may have to put it on the back burner temporarily, but never give up!

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  18. Anon above:
    Did she say she doesn't believe in Christ?

    Maybe she doubts the OALC doctrine, not neccessarily Christ and His teachings. (Not to speak for her.)

    Do you believe that OALC doctine = Christ doctrine? I know I did and I've repented of that.

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  19. Traveling staff

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  20. Deciding I must further my education as a road to a better career path (or maybe I should say ANY career path, such was the unspoken control back then) was one of those pivotal moments in my life. I realized I WAS different, WANTED something different, and could NOT force-fit myself into the OALC mentality any longer. I clearly recall the exact day: it was meeting time and I walked up the stairs from the basement after services one evening, looked around at all the empty pews and realized I didn't belong any more. I attended church for another one or two years, then got married, left the area, and went through my personal "Dark Night". It was years before I emotionally left, even though I hadn't attended church regularly for some time. That's how strong a hold those teachings have.
    Anon, I returned to college to work on my MA when my children were in elementary and middle school. I was also working full-time. It CAN be done. I had the good fortune to have a mentor/instructor who changed my life. It was through her classes and interaction with a close-knit group of her students that I did a 180 in my view of the world. God works in mysterious ways!

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  21. Believe it or not, someday not only will the messages of fear and guilt no longer have their hold, but you'll need to worry about eyestrain --all the EYEROLLING you'll do when you hear comments like that. ;-)

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  22. "She has the sin of unbelief in this precious Christianity."

    Um, would that be Apostolianity? Or perhaps Preciousanity?

    Tip from William Blake: Damn braces; bless relaxes.

    Eyes slowly returning from forehead.

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  23. Laestadi-insanity.

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  24. Stop the insanity.

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  25. Many Trails Home2/16/2007 12:10:00 AM

    Troll, I love your EYEROLLING comment. Great to get to the point where that canned BS just rolls off. Fear-mongering, ugh. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've heard enough of that to last several lifetimes. When you get beyond it, you wonder how that shallow fear-mongering could ever have had such power to terrify - which is its only purpose, no matter what they say. May we dedicate ourselves in the service of love, not fear: "Love each other as I have loved you." MTH

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  26. Maybe I will never need to roll over in my grave about anything. I'm getting all the rolling I need here in the "eyerolling" department.
    Tomte...your comment made me laugh, which is not easy first thing in the AM!

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  27. I only speak what the scriptures reveal to me. I have not come on here to begin name calling and ridicule ones's belief's. I only warn you what may happen if you continue on this path. Please come back with proof of what you believe from the Bible as I continue to do.

    Jesus also speaks of a way that leads to destruction: [...broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat (Matthew 7:13) On that way, there are many voices for one to follow, if one chooses to walk after the flesh rather than after the Spirit. The scriptures indicate some of these as: one's own [carnal mind (Romans 8:7); the philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world... (Colossians 2:8); ...teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9); the enticing words of man's wisdom (I Corinthians 2:4); ...false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15); the thief and robber,] who have climbed up into the sheepfold some other way (John 10:1); and Satan, the very father of all lies, who is [...transformed into an angel of light (II Corinthians 11:14).] But the child of God shall be led safely through all perils, by faith in the word of the Lord, as He has promised: [...for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).]

    God Bless!

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  28. LOL, free. I can picture your eyes now.

    I don't remember any instances of Jesus chasing down straying members and loading guilt and fear upon them to make them accept Him. I also don't recall anyone BUT Jesus who was able to simply look at someone and state that they had sins on their conscience--the woman at the well, for example. Anon, I don't believe that you know who this questioning person is any more than anyone else does, yet you simply presume to say that she has unforgiven sin bothering her, and that is why she is questioning the church's teaching. I don't believe that you have that kind of discernment.

    Furthermore, our salvation has NOTHING to do with resisting temptation. None of us are able to completely resist temptation. The point is that God already recognizes this, and Christ took care of that through the sacrifice He made. Romans 5 tells us that we are justified by faith, and that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Not through the church. Not through another man or woman. Only through Christ.

    The Bible talks about the church, but not in the context of it being a part of our salvation. If any one of our actions OTHER than to believe were in any way necessary for our salvation, we would be discounting the power of the cross. His death would have become unnecessary. There is nothing we can add on or do that will improve His perfect sacrifice.

    God never tells us not to use wisdom, or to blindly obey. He does not give a spirit of confusion, but a spirit of wisdom.

    MTH, I agree with you. Love, not fear. 1 John 4 tells us that "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God," and "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment..." -- to me it's pretty clear where our faith should be...only in Jesus.

    "seeking anon", I want to echo what others have said: it's not too late to go to college. It can be done. I was 37 when I started college. I've completed my MA degree and would like to complete a PhD as well. Like others have shared, I had a few children already to take care of, but it can be done. It is a possibility for you as well.

    I had many fears when I left; I always imagined the worst. I never imagined the best possible outcomes, but I should have. I won't pretend that it was easy going through it. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done, because as you say, there are many social consequences. However, God walked me through the darkness, and He led me to a place of healing and truth. I am so much happier now than I had ever been prior to leaving. I'm free to be myself, the way God created me, not who the church expected me to be.

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  29. daisy;
    My only concern is that she may fall from grace if she is questioning her belief in the doctrine.

    Repentance is the work of God in man, who, in himself, is entirely helpless. Through repentance and faith in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, an unbeliever is brought to salvation. God's grace, which is the unmerited work of redemption, is freely given to him. The person who does not continue to abide by faith in Christ, the True Vine, and in whom His words do not abide, is fallen from grace. This person is in the same condition as an unbeliever and can be restored to grace only by repentance and faith in the Gospel of Christ. [If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:6,7)]

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  30. I'm not sure I understand why her belief--or lack of it--in the doctrine would cause her to "fall from grace". Are you saying that belief in doctrine is the exact same thing as belief in Jesus Christ?

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  31. Initially, when I began questioning OAL teachings, the "weakness" of Grace was something I could not understand. Why were we told that Grace could disappear in a twinkling? Why was God so harsh? Could He not see that I was troubled in my heart about things taught to me (by man) and yet I loved Him? Why did that have no weight? Why did God require us to have superhuman control over our hearts and minds? My only response to these questions, ultimately, was that the church used this as control over me. God was really not even in the picture.

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  32. My response to you Anon. I can read and quote scripture too. What a glorious thing that the Holy Spirit has called me, has removed the scales from my eyes, has restored my spirit, has let me understand where my salvation comes from. Never from humanness, tradition, culture, FINLAND, etc. Only from the one that was truly God and truly man. Jesus Christ alone.

    “Jesus also speaks of a way that leads to destruction: [...broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat (Matthew 7:13) On that way, there are many voices for one to follow, if one chooses to walk after the flesh rather than after the Spirit. The scriptures indicate some of these as: one's own [carnal mind”

    If I follow a pastor or a culture instead of Jesus then I am walking after flesh. I choose Christ.

    “(Romans 8:7); the philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world...”

    Again, I choose Christ, not man.
    “(Colossians 2:8); ...teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”

    See above. I really don’t recall Jesus saying that radios, television, Sunday comics, neck ties, hair coloring, etc were sin. I think that came from man. Yup, quite certain of that.

    “(Matthew 15:9); the enticing words of man's wisdom”

    I don’t choose man’s wisdom; especially when they want to see the speck in another’s eye while ignoring the redwood forests in their own. Guess what, we all, everyone on this blog, is a sinner.

    “(I Corinthians 2:4); ...false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”

    Whoa boy! Are we in agreement here! However, I choose to see the wolves in sheep’s clothing. You still see the sheep skin. And I’m not saying that every Apostolic minister is a wolf. But certainly misled if they feel that they can judge someone else’s salvation.

    “ (II Corinthians 11:14).] But the child of God shall be led safely through all perils, by faith in the word of the Lord, as He has promised:”

    I take this promise to heart. I follow Christ. Not LLL, Torola, Heideman, Nasko, Hautamaki, Bimberg, Johnson, Nelson, or anyone else! I don’t even set my faith on Martin Luther! He was but a man too. Only Christ will I allow being my leader.

    “[...for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).]”

    And He hasn’t and He won’t.
    If I cut and pasted a wrong scripture with the wrong heading, I apologise. But I stand by my reaction to the quotes.

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  33. Many Trails Home2/16/2007 12:50:00 PM

    Tomte, sorry I gave Troll the credit for the eyerolling, not you. Sometimes I get you confused! MTH

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  34. This discussion has come to be a good model of what I hope for on this forum. We're having a relatively calm discussion of what we believe, and trying to find scripture that explains and upholds our beliefs. I am really glad to see our Anon friend explaining his/her belief, and explaining that interpretation of the various verses used as upholding evidence, rather than just saying something is so because they heard a "preacher" say it.

    What I see in this discussion is not the differences, but the things that are exactly the same. We all profess that our faith is founded in Jesus, and by believing in him and his sacrifice, we find the way to eternity with him. That, and that alone, is the most important part of our lives and faith. As I've said before, the rest is just details.

    Where we seem to differ is in those details -- that there is or isn't more than one organization that knows that path. The OALC (and many, many other faith groups) profess that they are the only ones who believe and worship in the right manner. As a result of that, well intentioned but I think misguided people have sought to make their path rigid, closed, and unforgiving, perhaps to show community, simplicity of faith, and lowliness of spirit. However, that singleminded approach - with its perquisite restrictions and rules -- is stifling, and rather than strengthening faith seems to lead to resentment and discontent. Why would we or should we live in a joyless existence focused on negative thinking and judgement (even if that's only judging ourselves and not judging others --which is a frequent concern). Shouldn't we instead be overwhelmingly happy that we are saved, and enjoy a peaceful and joyful relationship with the Lord and with one another. Too often I see prejudice, self righteousness, and pride rear their ugly heads, as soon as groups of people become exclusionary and closed to honest discussion.

    I personally believe completely and wholeheartedly in Jesus the Christ and Messiah, who died for my salvation and for that of many others who seek to love and follow him. I enjoy a loving relationship with him, that allows me to express joy in life, free from those "detail" restrictions that go far beyond those important commandments given both in the old testament as the law and clarified to mean love by Jesus. (OK, so sometimes I do argue with the Lord, but he knows and I know that he's gonna win every time.)

    Are we really so different and far apart? I don't think so. I think we all are striving toward the Lord in the best way we know. When we can discuss these important issues like this, I think we all grow and learn and understand -- which has been God's plan for us the entire time.

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  35. CVOW
    Thanks for the calm, well written words. I realise that my response may have been a little snippy. But I do get so tired of having scripure quoted to me as a reason why the Ap church is the only right one. Especially when I feel that so many are being misled by man's rules, man's interpetations,& human lack of comprehension. Sometimes I will read a passage that I've read so many times and God gives me an AHA noment. I've had many more of those moments since I first discovered the parallel Bible.

    Don't you find when you argue with God that he gives you a swat on the head sometimes?
    Other times he just lets you argue until you see the truth.

    I long for the day when all will realise that the Jesus they love and claim as their savior is the same one I love and claim!

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  36. ijumped, to your last sentence: AMEN!

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  37. LLLreader sez: It has become important for me to understand the development of the belief system of the OALC. I'm not really sure why, but probably something along the lines of what another poster said (about how knowing what other culture-churches, or church-cultures, teach has helped him get over his anger). The belief that forgivness of sin has to come from other church members is a result of Juhani Raattamaa's experience. He was the leader of the church after LLL died. He was an alcoholic who continued to drink even after he begin teaching with LLL. He eventually quit drinking before LLL died. During a period of fasting and praying he saw the devil coming towards him. He told the devil that he had Jesus in his heart and the devil left. In the year 1853 he was preaching in a small village. The reindeer sled was already at the door waiting to take him home, but a servant women there was not willing to leave the place because she felt so full of sin. Raattamaa laid his hand on her and proclaimed her sins forgiven and she felt great joy. Raattamaa then talked to LLL about it and together they decided it was the right thing to do--so there My Children is how it came to be.

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  38. With all due respect, one can pull quotes from Scripture to promote almost any proposition imaginable, but the most compelling argument for a doctrine or philosophy is simple: does it draw us closer to Love? To loving others?

    The scriptural warnings of unbelief and wolves, etc. were written by early church leaders struggling to hold a fledgling movement together, sometimes with the same tribalism and prejudice we've talked about in Fiddler on the Roof and Sweet Land. It is understandable that LLL and Raattamaa, with their revival, sought coherence and unity.

    But the good news that Jesus taught was radically focused on love, not fear, of others. Who is our neighbor? How do we love our enemies? The path of righteousness is walked, not thought.

    Wayne Teasdale, the great theologian, once noted: "Openness is receptivity to everyone and everything. It is quite fundamentally an other-centeredness, a disposition of availability to others."

    What draws us toward others?

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  39. To "unbearably lonely" -- As I read your note (thanks to our moderator for posting in on the home page), I wished I could reach thru cyberspace and hug you, and look into your eyes to give you courage. I understand the confusion, and the fear of unbearable loneliness. But you are already there, are you not? I sure was. And some days, I still am. The road of questioning and doubt is not easy. In fact, it can be terrifying. Some days it feels paralyzing. YOu took a big step even writing your note, even as "anonymous." In doing so, you sent up a kind of flare to say, "I'm lost and scared, can anybody find me?" And that is a huge step right there. So see, you DO have courage. And it will help carry you through some dark times. No matter what happens next, you will never be truly alone -- unless you choose to be. There is always somebody of like mind and similar struggle who wants to help, maybe just to listen -- because they were there, and they know. I was. I am. I know. Please don't stay in this scary place alone We're meant to support one another. Losing one community doesn't mean losing all sense of community. It might feel that way. And it IS scary. The void is very scary indeed. If you should decide not to leave the familiar even in the face of acknowledged doubt, I would actually understand that too. God will love you regardless, for His love is not conditional on whether one is in OAL or not. So it extends also to those who remain "inside." And none of us can judge the rightness of another's path, or know when (or even if) a certain person should "jump" or not. Yes, there is another way. But is it "the right" way? Only you can know what is right for you. Many of us left OAL in part (or primarily) because we could not buy into the assumption that it is the only "right" way. So it would be hypocritical of us ex-toots to say that "ours" is "the right" way, wouldn't it. Just know that you are not alone in your fear and emptiness and confusion. Speaking as another "anonymous" ... courage, my friend.

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  40. Hello all, this is 'unbearable lonliness' anon.

    I have a question for the anon who is urging me to come back to church and ask forgivness for my unbelief.. are you a preacher? Not that it makes your words carry more or less weight, I am just wondering. Perhaps you have set up a way to troll the few sites where a wandering sheep may find itself, and take turns helping return it to the fold? Or are you a fellow christian who just visits these site... you must have internet, too. A lot of us do. If you are a member of the congregation, are you not afraid that reading through these words here may affect your own believing? It seems you might find it dangerous. It feels dangerous, even to me. I am on the fence, I may stay in OALC because of my children, I do not want them ostracized or shunned, that would harm their little psyches. I can wait. I will quietly continue to come. I plan to speak with a preacher, even show him what I've written here, in confidence. Because right now I am very confused. I can see both sides of the picture. I can hear truth in what you told me, fellow OALC, yet, conversely, I can also hear truth radiating from the other posters' comments! What then. I am praying daily that Jesus will help me, will show me what to do. Even my own husband has no idea I am going through this. I just don't want the huge scene that I am sure would take place. Please pray for me, that I might do the right thing, whatever it may be. Thank you, all, and God Bless.

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  41. LLLreader sez: to unbearable--take a deep breath--you don't have to do anything right now--take the time you need--God will continue to love you--and so will I--along with the rest of the people on this blog. You know what you will hear if you go to a preacher right now--you might want to let your thoughts jell a little more before you take action. Maybe this isn't the best advice for you, but for myself, when I am in a time of great indecision, I find letting things settle in my mind makes things easier for me. Just a thought--prayers and blessings to you. God is by your side at all times.

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  42. Many Trails Home2/21/2007 05:09:00 PM

    Dearest anon, we will all pray for you, that you do the right thing (as I am sure you will, if you are asking for guidance from God and "The Comforter"). Wishing you strength, clarity, peace, family harmony, and many blessings. You are never alone, and you will never be forsaken. God and Jesus are with you always. MTH

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  43. Many Trails Home2/21/2007 05:17:00 PM

    PS Just a suggestion: Don't worry about what the OALC-anon says. Just look into your own heart and listen to what God tells you there. One of the classic reactions to being in the OALC is to care so much about other people's opinions. In spite of what Norah (or one of the other posters) said recently, we do not walk through life in a herd; we walk alone. We "cross the River Jordan" alone. We answer for our lives . . . alone. And we have a "personal" relationship with God to help and guide us. Of course we aid, support, encourage, counsel, and love each other, but we are fully responsible for ourselves. And you may not know this, or be able to believe it, but whatever you do, it will not be "wrong." You will learn what the results of that choice are, but you won't be "wrong." Many blessings. MTH

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  44. another exoalc2/21/2007 07:22:00 PM

    Well, you need to do whatever God leads you to do, but if you are protecting innocent children and interested in preserving your marriage, I wouldn't share this with a preacher. Do you REALLY think it would remain confidential? Maybe it would. Clearly I doubt it, but you know.

    In any case, go in the peace of God.

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  45. Dear Anon,

    Please don't be afraid, know that God hears and answers prayer. I didn't want you to think I was taking your post lightly with my chuckle above.. I just didn't know where the 'herd' mentality came in and I don't remember anyone here speaking of Christian faith in that way here. That my name was linked with it should not have come as a surprise to me, although it did. Which just goes to show that you must follow your own convictions and listen to your own inner voice and to what God is showing you, personally. Do not be swayed by opinions either within or without the church. Herd mentality comes in all shapes and forms, but God will guide you if you just continue to seek Him, His way and His will. God's Peace.

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  46. I found this verse posted on the left oalc site, and wanted to share as it seems to pertain here:

    "But God will not take His Spirit away from those who have the desire to continue walking in the light, even though they feel that they have not always been able to overcome temptation: A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench... (Isaiah 42:3)."

    Amen! So why do the oacl feel that faith is so wavering and prone to be lost at any breathtaking moment???

    (and nowhere does it state what church one has to attend in order for this to be true!!! :)

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  47. Many Trails Home2/22/2007 11:49:00 AM

    Hi Norah, I figured that would probably get a rise out of you but, try as I might, I could not find the original post and I was sure it was yours. I wanted to respond to it and took this as an opportunity - but the quote was to the effect that we are all to progress along toward God together, as a church, not alone. Does that ring any bells? Anyway, clearly I didn't agree with that (hence the "herd" comment) but certainly don't mean to step on toes, just stimulate some conversation! I do enjoy your posts, by the way, and find you very even-handed and thoughtful. Many blessings. MTH

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  48. Hi there, MTH - no bells ringin' here except I think maybe an OALC person might have said something along those lines - and I wouldn't have disagreed with it BTW. Having a church family is a good thing. Anyway, my toes are fine, and I'm enjoying the posts here too. They challenge me to think and spur me on - even though most of the time it's in a different direction from what's usually posted here - but I love the inspiration.

    Blessings to you also :-)

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  49. I am not a preacher just someone who has been in the Christianity a long time and has read a lot of history about our religion. It would sadden the heart to see another sheep lost. My faith is strong in this precious Christianity only wanting the true hearts desire to meet on the shore of heaven. I trully believe in the Firstborn and of our gifted preacher LLC.

    LLC was a gifted preacher of his time. He was the seventh angel of Revelation 10:7. As Christians we need to judge others in unbelief to warn them of the destruction they may facing...

    Christians have the right to judge, they do not condemn anyone to hell, but instead they warn and urge impenitent souls not to go to hell. Nevertheless, an impenitent wretch thinks the Christians are ordering him to go to hell. Pagans do condemn thus, for they wish indeed that all Christians would go to hell, but the Christians have not yet wished that anyone go to hell, but they have always cried out to pagans the severe justice and judgment of God that awaits them if they do not become penitent and repent in the time of grace. They have cried out in the manner of John the Baptist: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come” [Matthew 3:7]? And they have cried out even more sternly, as did Paul, who said to an enemy of Christianity, “O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord” [Acts 13:10]

    But Christians have been given power from above to judge spiritually, and God confirms their judgment, and then the wrath of all the pagans has to fall on them. And just as the Jews cried out, “His blood be on us, and on our children” [Matthew 27:25], thus the blood of Christ has also started to dreadfully burn their consciences, and thus also the blood of the Christians has begun to burn upon all Jews, pagans and papists, and the enemies of Christianity will always feel this dreadful burning. For God has wreaked dreadful vengeance on Jews, pagans and papists for shedding the blood of Christians and will continue to do so. But the Christians will shine as the sun when that great day of the Lord dawns, and then all persecutors of Christians will see whom they have pierced!

    God Bless.

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  50. I don`t argee with a single word you just said - but who is LLC? I thought it was LLL

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  51. Hello Anon,

    I'm wondering about your reference to LLL as the seventh angel in Revelation 10:7. Laestadianism is a revival movement, or awakening.. but there have been many other awakenings throughout history, both in American history and elsewhere. That is how Christianity has survived for over 2,000 years. My understanding is that Laestadius was sent by God at a certain time to a certain people, but he was not the only one whom God has chosen to deliver His Word to awakened hearts whom God Himself had prepared.

    This is a side issue, but when there is revival, I believe that hearts are touched by God through His Holy Spirit and the greatest manifestation of that is changed lives. However, often in revivals, there are other 'signs' also, and this continues today in charismatic/Pentecostal movements. I don't believe that all of these signs are from God. In my opinion, where God's word is spoken (faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God), there is also Satan working overtime and deceiving people by telling them they must manifest some visible and unusual signs of the Spirit. Therefore, when there were the 'liikutekset' (or however that's spelled), I question whether that was necessarily from God. Any more than I believe Benny Hinn can cause people to fall over unconscious as a work of God. In the southern US during the Great Awakening, buildings filled with straw were erected so that people wouldn't injure themselves during their 'shakings', and many of the organizers of the camp meetings came to repudiate these signs. I read somewhere (actually it was an Alan? Lomax book on American folk songs) that during the camp meetings in the early 1800's in the southern US the women would writhe on the ground so vigorously that their long braids whipped around like snakes.

    As I said, that's a side issue.. but I do question elevating LLL to the status of being referred to in Revelation. I don't think that what is spoken of in Revelation can be assigned to any particular country, person or time. While I believe that what it reveals is true, I think that many of the details are not revealed to any person, remain a mystery, and rightly so.

    We live by faith, not by sight. That said, yes, we should speak and encourage all people at all times to repent and believe to Gospel. That is the Great Commission.

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  52. Hello, OALC anon... this is 'unbearble lonliness' anon again.

    I know you are trying to draw me back out of love, and I cannot fault you for that. I sense no malice in your words. But I think you are perceiving me differently than what is true: I do not have an unbearably burdened conscience; I am not in anger, feeling 'judged' or that I'm condemned. I fear that, yes, from God, but not from the members of OALC. Rather, I'm in an odd place, where I can see what seems to be truth on both sides of the issue, and also untruths on both sides. I have doubts: not in Christ's doctrine, or the words of the Bible, but in the OALC, per se.
    I won't list them all here. It's not torment, I don't feel I am sinking into fleshly freedom and carnal sins. I would not 'leave' the OALC so that I could shuck off all moral values and descend into depravity. In fact I believe I would quietly go on as I always have, yet with a peace I cannot attain as yet so far. At least that is my hope. Your post, while well-meant, only served to confuse me further. I do not feel as if 'His blood is on me, burning', yes, we all as humans are responsible and are sinful through the flesh. Yet, since His sacrifice, I feel his blood as a cooling, calming, loving prescence. When I have felt wretched it has always comforted me. I am not versed in scriptue; I have only now begun to really 'read' the bible, on my own, instead of just listening to what I was told every Sunday. Also, your assertion that 'the Christians' (which simply means all believers on Christ, not only OALC) have been given the right to judge, and are supposed to judge, others; that simply strikes me as wrong. It is an embodiment of a large part of why I want to leave. Your 'voice' comes through the cyber-space, to me, as laced with a self-rightousness. Please, I am not blasting, or 'flaming' you... I am simply trying to be honest, and tell how I am truly feeling. A lot of these other posters echo many of my emotions and thoughts, yet a lot are quite a departure from how I feel inside. That is what is wonderful about this forum. There are so many multi-faceted personalities to draw from.
    Well I do not have time enough just now to go into it further-
    Take care and God bless....
    U.L. anon

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  53. Ul Anon...

    Have faith in those preachers and teachers of divine salvation. Pray to god that you will once again believe in those wings of faith to carry you to that heaven above.


    ....May the dear Father have mercy on them too, who think they are teachers of babes and instructors of the ignorant and that they have the form and knowledge of the truth in the law [Romans 2:19-20], but, in spite of this, they themselves do not understand the spiritual nature of the law. They themselves break the law daily. Neither are they judged by the law, for they do not know the law. There are also many voices in the world, as the Apostle noted already in his time [I Corinthians 14:10]. Indeed, voices are heard today as well. “But if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle” [I Corinthians 14:8]? By no means do we intend, dear Brother, to become whore-Christians, that is, to start living for Moses and at the same time for Christ. It pays for him to obtain a pure virgin, for he alone has, after all, purchased a pure virgin and has purified her with his precious blood. He is worthy to obtain her in entirety, and we would even give a better one if we had such, and this is, my beloved, our only consideration: that we would live in a manner pleasing to our eternal Lover and love one another. Here is that new commandment, which our King has given us. And if we could remain close to Gethsemane and the hill of victory of Golgotha, the holy forge of love would also warm our hearts more. But soon he that shall come will come and will not tarry [Hebrews 10:37]. Then we can enjoy that which has been believed here and has been borne in weak vessels of clay.
    Sins are forgiven to all penitent souls by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of his testimony.Pray for me! your companion to the true fatherland.

    I only hope the best for you on this doubtfull road.

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  54. oalc anon,

    I read your post three times, and each time it was more confusing than the time before. What are you trying to say? This is not edifying, it is bewildering.

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  55. OALC Anon, I found one thing in your last post to agree with, and that was that Jesus' commandment was for us to love one another.

    The uncertain trumpet that I heard many years ago was that sound coming from behind the altar at the OALC church, when I heard good men and women being chastised and criticized by small men who would not have dared to utter those words except from that hiding place. I heard a message that did not speak to Christ's love, but rather to a harsh judgement laid down by men. I heard the message spoken by what I now hold to be consummate actors, in mournful tones, and with language chosen to invoke fear rather than hope. I saw good "Christians" who were held in much esteem by others, committing the sins of hatred and prejudice to people of other races, who bragged in the church yard of how they had eluded the law in some way, who lived a lie as they hid their televisions when other "Christians" came over -- but who were first in line to condemn and humiliate publicly the ones who "got caught". Of course, after extracting their pound of flesh, they would with a smirk magnanimously "forgive" the sinner.

    Contrast that to a priest I know -- yes, indeed, one of those papists that you so smugly denounce -- who would often declare when speaking of Jesus Christ and paradise, with a smile on his face, that "Maybe today! Maybe today will be the day when we achieve that goal!" Here is a man who speaks of Jesus' all powerful love, of his incredible sacrifice, of his saving grace -- and does so joyfully, and with absolute trust, hope, and belief in the Lord and his salvation. The message is one of love and hope and forgiveness. Here is a man who has given his life to the Lord, who takes only a pittance of a salary, who shepherds a huge flock, who has a great love of the music of praise -- but when his Bishop asked whether he loved it too much, even gave away the guitar that his family had bought him.

    The discussion of warning versus judging is interesting. I do believe it is right to speak up and witness to the Lord, by asking someone whether their actions are right and appropriate. That happens in the OALC, and it is commendable. However, it often does not stop there but shifts in its zeal to out and out judgement and condemnation. Do not say that condemnation is not practiced in the OALC, because if you do, you lie. I have heard enough people condemned by OALCers to last me a lifetime. I have heard them specifically condemned to hell, so do not say it isn't done. I have seen people shunned by their own families -- a teaching and held position that should cause every OALCer to hang their heads in shame. Hurting others in this way is not love, and it does not follow Christ's commandment to love one another -- which by the way doesn't end in "if they happen to be another OALCer."

    ...and you include the Jews in your condemnation. News flash that you might have missed... Jesus was born a Jew and died a Jew. We who follow him are Christians, or am I being too nitpicky now in my fervor? I find it hard to stop when I get rolling.

    You ask something that I certainly will grant, and which I already do -- and that is pray for you. I would hope that we all pray for each other as we stumble down this path together -- even when we deny that's true. Peace be with you.

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  56. CVOW...

    I don't usually use older postings that I have written but I just felt what I said awhile ago really applies here.

    We could debate all day, every day. It is interesting that those that have left the OALC seem to focus on the "can do and cannot do." They also focus on all the bad things other OALCER's did or said. No one is perfect; we are all sinners. I am sure they are people in your new church who cheat,lie,steal etc. So let's bring that to the front and use it as an excuse as to why you disagree with the church. The are always a few bad apples in every group and yes News Flash there are some in yours too!!

    The only thing we have to do is face Lord Jesus when our time comes. At that time, nothing else will matter except the judgement of our soul (and yes we will be judged). And yes condemnation does need to be preached strongly in the OALC. Or should we just sugar coat everything in the Bible and not preach sin to be sin!!

    I am a faithful member of the OALC and I do believe the Lord Jesus died for my sins. That is ALL that matters! I am shocked by most of what I have read on here because life in the OALC is totally different that what is talked about here.

    The preachers do not hold themselves highly. They are humble, God fearing, and sinners themselves. They give all praise and thanks to God. Do they warn us of the dangers on lifes way? Absolutely! Do priests in other churches? NO WAY! (maybe some might try) They need to be paid. I read an interesting article in Newsweek a few years ago. There was a priest that was being interviewed and he explained that churches have become monopolies and that he cannot speak what he would like to because he wants his congregation to pay him.

    If you do not believe in the OALC by all means that is your choice. But don't keep saying the same things about the OALC church; that we all shun, we all molest children, blah blah. Enough already; as I roll the eyes back to where they need to be.

    We all have our own experiences and it is unfortunate that some of the folks on this site have had so many negative ones. I have many co-workers, colleages, neighbors, and friends that do not attend and I pray that they can find peace for their soul. As for me, I have found peace for mine in my faith. It is not in the name of OALC, or LLL, or the elders. It is in the name of Lord Jesus which they (LLL, elders, and preachers) have taught.

    Alright enough pounding. God Bless.

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  57. "For God has wreaked dreadful vengeance on Jews, pagans and papists for shedding the blood of Christians and will continue to do so."

    "By no means do we intend, dear Brother, to become whore-Christians. . . "

    "It pays for him to obtain a pure virgin . . . "

    Oh, dear. Unleavened Laestadius can make one rather queasy, like an Al Qaeda declaration.

    I am so thankful to be free.

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  58. OALC Anon,
    You said "I am shocked by most of what I have read on here because life in the OALC is totally different that what is talked about here."

    I say, sorry, we all used to be there, and we are sharing our experiences.

    You said "Do they warn us of the dangers on lifes way? Absolutely! Do priests in other churches? NO WAY! (maybe some might try) They need to be paid."

    I ask how many other churches have you been in since you speak so authoritatively? I've been in a good number, and yes, without fail of all the ones I've seen and heard, those papist priests do warn of the dangers on lifes way. I suspect that so do the pastors of those other "worldly churches" as well, although I would not dare to declare that as fact.

    You said "As for me, I have found peace for mine in my faith. It is not in the name of OALC, or LLL, or the elders."

    I say those are curious words from one who belongs to a group who has declared LLL to be the 7th angel of Revelation! That must be a new revelation that some OALC preacher had recently because I don't recall that.

    You said "The only thing we have to do is face Lord Jesus when our time comes. At that time, nothing else will matter except the judgement of our soul (and yes we will be judged). And yes condemnation does need to be preached strongly in the OALC. Or should we just sugar coat everything in the Bible and not preach sin to be sin!!"

    I say I agree that we will face our Lord and the judging will indeed be his to conduct -- but wait, by your own admission you have said that in the OALC you judge, because that's what you are supposed to do! I understand that the sin is to be abhorred, not the sinner. In my experience with the OALC, the sin is but a curiousity, while the sinner is someone who can be roasted, toasted, condemned, judged, despised, and shunned.

    Further, nobody here has advocated sugarcoating the Bible. What is advocated here by virtually every poster is that the Bible should be read, and it should be our guide.

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  59. Norah, I think you hit the nail on the head with your comments of The Law vs Grace. I also don't remember much preaching about Grace in the OALC (I was raised in that church) but I remember A LOT about The Law. Holding oneself accountable under the law. Living by The Law. Being judged by The Law. And once we were terrified of not measuring up to The Law, THEN Grace was introduced, almost as an aside, as a way of dealing with that fear. However, I don't ever remember Grace being described or discussed as something given freely, but it always seemed to have many strings attached. We, as sinners, must do something first before Grace could be granted. And it seemed to be granted rather grudginly by a God who really didn't like me very much. It confused me.

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  60. Wow, I go on vacation for a week, and there is a lot to catch up on! Of course, the articulate ones here have things well in hand.
    To UL Anon:
    I hope you take your time in whatever you decide to do. Your OALC indoctrination took years, so take your time, read and write on these blogs, read the Bible, and follow your heart.
    To OALCer:
    Your speech sounds so familiar. I have heard it all before. You claim you are saved by faith alone, yet you cling to man made rules, mandatory confession one to another, and your ever present judgemental ways. Don't look, don't taste, don't touch. This is all eye service and works.
    We will pray for you.

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  61. Many Trails Home2/24/2007 09:22:00 PM

    To OALC anon: Hmmm. "Christians have the right to judge." What a horrifying belief. "Judgment is mine, sayeth the Lord. I will repay." I am sure you are familiar with that. How much plainer could he be? And I think He meant what he said. I'd like to challenge you to say something as simply and plainly and clearly true as that.
    I'd also like to know when was the last time you saw a "Christian" "persecuted." What does "persecution" look like to you? We "ex"toots are much more likely to have suffered persecution than any of you! Just read this blog.
    And to suggest that we don't know what your "community of believers" is like is ridiculous. We all lived in it. I had an OALC preacher grandfather, 4 preacher uncles, and a lukkari/translator father, who helped work on the Postilla translation in our living room. Do not suggest that we know not of what we speak. Our experience may have been completely different than yours, but it was our experience and true nonetheless.
    I wish you many blessings, and I wish you clarity of thought! God's peace be with you. MTH

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  62. WOW! The more I learn about the OALC, the more disgusted I become! It makes me so sad for the family I have that go there. It used to make me so upset that they thought I was going to hell, but I finally realized that they're opinion has nothing to do with my salvation. but It blows my mind at what they believe.


    Question for OALC anon, have you ever read the entire BIBLE or do you like the rest just read the faithful black books by LLL? Please answer because I can't imagine how you can stand by what you say if you do read the Bible.

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  63. Saved by Grace said:

    Thank you, Norah, for your insightful comments. I agree with what you've written, particularly when you talk about seeing others through the eyes of Christ. I think that I struggle with that, but I know that is our mission.

    I do not recall hearing the grace message very often, other than at the end of a sermon after interminable, repetitive verbal self-flagellation and confusing shame-filled rhetoric (in the LLC)...not that it may not have been there, but it was buried under the messages of unworthiness and reminders of how difficult yet important it was to keep faith and a clear conscience.

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  64. Sisu and Saved by Grace, and others.. thank you for responding, it's good to get feedback. And it seems as though there is a common thread, I do know that feeling also. It really is confusing because there seems to be a mixed message there. I can see where we do have these warnings in the Bible though.. but there are two types of warnings - one is that we would not be tempted to fall back under the Law, and the other is that we would not use Grace as license. I think (and this is my own opinion here), that this is the 'narrow way'.. between these two traps that we can fall into. Keeping our eyes on Jesus is something that we need to be continually reminded of - at least I do. My own personality is one where it's easy to fall into legalism of various kinds, to expect perfection of myself and others.

    To the OALC person, please know that you are acceptable just as you are, that God loves you, that your sin is forgiven, that you are washed and cleansed and pure before Him once for all. Be encouraged and strong and bold in spirit, and testify to others of His great love and mercy to you. "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Impute is an interesting word btw).

    Being involved in a discussion such as this is good.. it's a good place to hold up our own beliefs in a mirror and examine them in the light of other people's beliefs and comments and reactions.

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  65. To All:

    As it seems to be me against everyone else on this site as to the many beliefs of the OALC and to the true Christianity; I will just try to answer the question about Grace. It seems to be so true that the world hates us; but as I continue forward as LLL did (known as the seventh angel) I will show why this is the only path to heaven. I am such a poor Christian who does read the bible with God's true speech flowing into my heart.

    A familiar text of John I shall start with:

    And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. (I John 3:19-21)



    Here Apostle John describes a Christian’s trials, which are quite extraordinary, for matters of the heart are obscure to many. First he says, “if our heart condemn us, God is greater,” and by these words he reveals that a Christian’s heart may at times condemn him. When a vigilant Christian has dreadful temptations, which the devil effects in his flesh, and the devil shoots darts from the flesh into the heart, evil thoughts occur in the mind and wicked lusts and desires are felt in the will, and, finally, self-righteousness rises as a stern and just accuser of the children of God, condemning them in this way: “How can you be a Christian with so much sin? A Christian should be holy and sinless, but you are like the devil himself.” When self-righteousness preaches thus in the reason, it appears to a Christian that his heart is condemning him, although the heart itself cannot condemn, but it is the devil of self-righteousness who condemns the children of God. And this cunning devil, who comes under the guise of truth, transforms himself into an angel of light [II Corinthians 11:14], and thus many of the penitent are deceived because they cannot understand that the one condemning the penitent is the devil.

    However, now Apostle John says, “If our heart condemn us, God is greater,” and by these words he shows that not a single Christian should believe his own heart, even if it does condemn him, but that instead he must believe God’s gracious promises, which show that Christ has come to save not the righteous but sinners [Matthew 9:13].

    As a sinner, the Christian must always flee, with all his sins, to the great Crossbearer and believe that he is saved by GRACE and not by merit. If a Christian were to be judged by his merit, he would be entirely lost, but he is saved by grace if he believes firmly on the one who is greater than self-righteousness, which preaches condemnation through the heart.

    This is why Luther also says that he fears his own heart more than the Sultan of Turkey, for every Christian whose conscience is awake feels indeed that his heart is evil, despicable and filthy, that is, the carnal heart, which is in the old man and which Paul calls the outward man, but the soul or the spiritual heart, which Paul calls the inward man, is cleansed by Christ’s blood. Everything depends on how well the Christian distinguishes between them, so that Satan would not succeed in confusing the effects of the outward man and inward man, or old man and new man, in his conscience. May that great Searcher of Hearts grant us the light of his Holy Spirit so that we could explain this matter. Hear us, our Father which art in heaven, etc.

    I have tried here, in the light of God’s Word, to examine myself and these teachings as to whether they will endure the Lord’s judgment. I have not found anything against the Bible in my teachings. I cannot change them, but I do indeed feel myself to be a great sinner even though I am in faith.

    Pray for me...

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  66. "I can see where we do have these warnings in the Bible though.. but there are two types of warnings - one is that we would not be tempted to fall back under the Law, and the other is that we would not use Grace as license. I think (and this is my own opinion here), that this is the 'narrow way'.. between these two traps that we can fall into."

    wow. reading that was a ton of bricks, a crystal clear, bell ringing moment. I really like that concept and I will have to do more reading and contemplation... Its amazing to hear other interpretations of wording Ive heard my entire life (such as 'the narrow way') I had such an intense thankfulness that God created each of us individually, yet all in His image :)Also an intense thankfulness that I have access to my bible for my questions and verifications, rather than feeling obligated to call a preacher and mandated to follow a mere man.

    Another one that hit me pretty hard was "Christians don't need to worry about Judgement Day, because we've already been judged here on earth and found guilty. But Christ has paid our penalty - paid in full." Accepted grace through Jesus Christ, been forgiven, washed clean, and clothed in Jesus’ white robe, to be presented to God on that Judgment Day. Its amazing how often I need reminded of that biblical message, (to override the oalc judgement track)

    oalc anon: Ive always believed sin needs to be preached as sin, and ALSO that Christians do NOT have the right to condemn the person. I see these as two very distinct, different issues, yet in my time as an oalcer it seemed that preaching sin to be sin was used as a license to condemn the person, more so than the sin. Again, two seperate entities. Its funny that I can recognize the flowery, (sometimes beautiful) oalc speak, yet it is just that: oalc speak, from LLL and such. (Im with you Free, and short and concise post) Ive now found that scripture sounds even more beautiful when spoken aloud :)

    UL anon: I am very impressed that you are able to weigh both sides of the issue, and I believe you are completely correct: there are positives and negatives to both. THere always are! Its wonderful you are including prayer and bible reading/studying into your weights; God will reward your hearts true intentions, which only you and He know.

    I have personallly experienced, and remember others stating similar experiences, that when we "left" our (whatever) church, we did not have the desire to be foolishly sinful and escape guilt, but to seek Christ. We are basically the same, with similar basic morals. I am deeply grateful for the foundation of morals I grew up with in the oalc. Yet I have chosen to simplify my faith, to God and the bible, leaving the "extra" people and rules out of it.

    Im fighting an angry streak right now, so thank you all for continuing to show Christ like love, mercy and prayer to ALL.

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  67. OALC Anon,

    I do hear what you are saying here.
    Just some random thoughts and questions...

    The accuser, whom you call the self-righteous.. are you referring to the world only, or would you agree that the devil and our own consciences can accuse us and cause us to doubt needlessly. And if so, wouldn't the word of comfort and reconciliation be needed for a wounded conscience who needs to hear that reassurance? Maybe you said that already but I missed it...

    Is it a sin to be tempted...? As you said, the trials in the life of a Christian are extraordinary, that's true. But God knows what's in our hearts - there is no way for us to hide it from him. He knows all about our struggles even more than we know them ourselves. Our trials and temptations will be with us all of our natural lives. But are you saying that these things are sins that need to be confessed...

    I guess that's where I would have to leave my thoughts for now...

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  68. OAL Anon, You comment in your first paragraph that the world hates you so much. What, just because we disagree with you? So anyone who disagrees with you hates you and vice versa? Honestly, what kind of world lives inside your head? OK, I'm sorry I sound so harsh, but as a former OAlCer, that skewed view of The World has always bothered me because it is overly simplistic and is a put-down to anyone with different views. You, of course, are entitled to your opinions and beliefs; it is your path. It is not mine.

    I have come to love God in a much more intimate way since leaving OAL beliefs behind. I have learned that I want to follow Him, be a good person, help others, etc, not because I fear God's wrath but because I love Him for loving me even though I usually don't feel like I'm worth loving. As an adult, it feels like a truer faith than the "Childlike" variety where we fear the Big Stick.

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  69. we dont let our hearts condemn us becauase god is greater than our hearts(meaning) when our hearts condemn us we dont let it because god wiped us clean of sin through the shedding of the blood of his one and only son jesus christ the only one who could anotherwords he is great good awsome wonderful ultimate sacrafice for all sins past present future(GREATER THAN OUR HEARTS)

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  70. concerning ruskle or mr oalc read philippians 3

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  71. also read 2 peter 2

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  72. also romans 8:31-39 if you want more scripture concerning gods love for us including wiping us clean of sin through his son just ask you cant twist it all. we confess our sins to the father(NOT MAN!!!!!)and he is faithful and just to forgive us of them. then
    (WE BELIEVE)PERIOD...............

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  73. On the subject of loneliness, a person can be in the midst of a crowd of people and feel unbearably lonely; on the contrary, a person can be alone or with very few and feel incredibly satisfied. Loneliness is more a state of mind. I can recall in years past attending OALC and feeling unbearably lonely. I knew that I had no choice but to change my life.

    I have no answers, but I do know that I'm true to myself, my spouse, and my children, and that is all I need to know.

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  74. OALC Anon, you said:
    "It seems to be so true that the world hates us".
    That is just not true.
    The vast majority of the world doesn't know that the OALC even exists. So, no hatred there.
    And those in the "World" that I know, that do know about the OALC do not hate it. They may disagree with their practices and beliefs, but hate, no. That is just not true.
    I don't fault you for saying that though. I remember hearing an Elder say in a sermon here in the USA that "The world hates you". I know that the Elders are held in high esteem by the members, and I know you would not doubt them, but it is just NOT TRUE!
    I don't know if this is an attempt by the church leaders to show wordly persecution, to try to justify the OALC as the only "True Church".
    I really don't know. But I do know that the world does not hate you.
    I know that I am now "in the world", and I do not hate you or anyone in that church.
    As I have said before, it wasn't working for me, but I respect your beliefs, even though I disagree with them.
    God's Peace to you.

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  75. OALC Doubter, I think you hit on a Truism, that the OALC needs some kind of persecution. I remember my Mom telling me as a Young-un that we MUST be persecuted if we want to believe that we are the True Christians (at least that's the inferred message that I got loud and clear). In this day and age in the US, where we have such wide-open Freedom of Religion, that poses quite a dilemma for the OALC: how on earth can we, then, feel persecuted? Create it through perceived "hatred", I guess. I now find it sad instead of seeing it as the path to (un)worthiness.

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  76. You are right, we certainly aren't persecuted the way Christians are in other parts of the world - risking their lives by meeting together. Christians may find opposition from even those people closest to us though, if we speak to them about certain things. Sometimes it needs to be handled delicately, other times we just have to ride it out because we can't agree or endorse certain things.

    But there is this continuing struggle between good and evil in the world, making itself known worldwide right now through Islamic extremism for example. Those who seek to destroy. I think that is where the ultimate persecution will originate.. my thoughts..

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  77. Saved by grace2/26/2007 12:57:00 PM

    I have to agree with you, oalc-doubter. I don't hate anyone, and I don't hate the church. I may disagree with it, I may at times be angry about something that someone may have said or done that hurt my feelings or seemed disrespectful to me or my family, BUT that is part of being human.

    Imagine if someone asked you if you were happy when you were going through a rough time and said you weren't happy. Suppose that person then said to you, "Good. You should be unhappy." Let me ask you how you would feel.

    If your feelings were hurt and you became angry, would that mean you were being hateful and bitter toward the church and the people there? Or would it simply be a natural human reaction?

    When you are in the church, it's tough to complain about things, first because you are outnumbered by people who are afraid to rock the church boat, and secondly, criticism of the church is not well-tolerated. It seems to be set up so that it is exempt from criticism. A person is made to feel if they are critical of the church, they are arguing with God.

    Once you leave the church, if you should dare to criticise, you are attacked for being mean-spirited and full of hate. A good offense is the best defense, yes?

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  78. I found the place that talks about staying away from the world in the Bible...

    [James 4:4-6]
    4You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?[a] 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
    "God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble."

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  79. Many Trails Home2/26/2007 05:14:00 PM

    To oalc-anon: Are you kidding? Can't you even read straight? Oalc-doubter said that the world DOES NOT hate the oalc. Wow. I guess you believe what you want to believe, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. Why do you think "the World" even CARES about the oalc? You sound like egocentric children, who think the sun rises and sets on your concerns. Well, maybe it does, but on ours as well.
    I do have a little soft spot for you, dear oalc-anon. When you said, "Pray for me," it went straight to my heart. That you should even ask us apostates to "pray for you" struck me as very sincere and vulnerable somehow. So (for whatever it's worth) I will indeed pray for you and for me and for all of us, that we will find peace, comfort, strength, wisdom and understanding, "salvation" (however we define it), that we will grow in love and compassion for each other, loving as "I have loved you." Many blessings to you, oalc-anon. MTH

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  80. Amen, MTH.
    Your passion inspires me.
    And your "can't you even read straight" makes me smile.

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  81. MTH here is what oalc doubter said he heard...So please look again as you didn't

    "I remember hearing an Elder say in a sermon here in the USA that "The world hates you".

    I never said that he agreed with me..or the Elder

    So as I bite my tongue and turn the other cheek about your negative comments towards me you may want to read this..

    1 Peter 3:8-12

    8Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10For,
    "Whoever would love life
    and see good days
    must keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from deceitful speech.
    11He must turn from evil and do good;
    he must seek peace and pursue it.
    12For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
    and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
    but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

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  82. Sisu: I also remember the persecution discussion from when I was young, and whenever I converse with current oalc members. They MUST have persecution or they are not setting a 'true christian example' They MUST be made fun of and hated, almost at any costs, even to the point of creating issues of discontent. ie "if the world does things this way, we must do them differently" I can remember when suddenly it was "sin" for a father to give away his daughter at her wedding, because "the world does it that way" No other reason. Just had to be opposite. Oppositional defiance disorder? It is sad really. I remember asking, where in the bible does it say anything about this? Of course there was no place anyone could refer to, the new "sin" decision was simply handed down from "the preachers."

    saved by grace: "I have to agree with you, oalc-doubter. I don't hate anyone, and I don't hate the church. I may disagree with it, I may at times be angry about something that someone may have said or done that hurt my feelings or seemed disrespectful to me or my family, BUT that is part of being human. " My sentiments exactly. Once again, so many actions of others are put into the "you hate us" category, it seems to justify that they are christian enough to suffer "manditory persecution"

    oalc anon: I also grew up hearing the elders speak, however I do not consider them any more "precious" than any other servant of Christ trying to be obedient, and in fact reserve my reverence for the context "the precious word of God" as it comes from the bible. The rest of your post I actually agree with :) And I admire that you are quoting scripture and continuing to post here, dispite your perceived 'persecution' I do not hate you, I simply strongly disagree with many of the oalc teachings/beliefs etc. I do not direct that at any one person as they are certainly not personally responible for the church beliefs, but only thier own actions.

    Except the oalc definition of "the world" Being friends with the world, I think of as: building a relationship with things/people that are not of Christ and making them more important than things of Christ. the oalc seemed to think the solution was a big brick wall of segregation between them and everyone else, whereby the only contact was when rocks were thrown over the top. (Granted this is not true with every single person within the church, as no comment can be taken to apply to every single anything.)

    MTH you are so forward yet so sincere and gentle, as always. I greatly admire you.

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  83. I was thinking about anon's comments regarding feeling alone being more a state of mind. I completely agree. Last Sunday, I went to church by myself and I felt alone on the car ride there, but once there I was able to listen to the service and I felt such a connection to Christ, I felt such extreme joy that I did want to dance in the aisle (Im much to conservative to ever do that, but I love it when my 4 year old does :) I couldnt even sing because I was crying for joy. I wanted to shout love from the rooftops and follow Christ into a fire to rescue God's people, and I felt so loved and never less lonely.

    The serman was actually about God rewarding His faithful with abundance, and what that could mean, and that a fulfilling life in Christ was promised and attainable. (my 4 year old said she wanted all the houses and toys in the world to be hers, but she would share with other people; of course we talked about that one :) I could think of so many, many ways I was blesssed, and couldnt stop counting things I was thankful for. (we have more than our share of trials, life is not perfect) but we have so much more that is good, life is better than its ever been, and better than I ever dreamed it could be; and I didnt feel a need to pray for more, but instead for ways I could share God and this joy with others.

    I wish I could find a way to share this love and joy with the oalc too, instead of always getting upset. Although I think Im mostly upset because I can remember so well the teachings there, and it makes me so sad and agry that the people there dont have the life and joy they deserve and that God promised is waiting for them... They're so afraid, wavering and condemned. There is more, there is next step!

    LIke after I dicipline my kids I sit down and talk about why, and tell them I love them so much I only want whats best for them! For thier life to be easier than they make it for themselves, to teach them better ways. I feel so much dread and it breaks my heart to get after them, or let the consequences happen, but I have to. I would be doing them a disservice if I didnt. But I want more than anything to just hold them tightly forever on my lap and give them the world on a silver platter, especiallly when they have tears in their eyes after trouble. I dont know... being a parent has made God's love and His ways so REAL for me. It seems to parallell (I cant spell sorry) to biblical teachings, Gods wrath and his love, yin and yang, perfect love. I get to give it to my children (or try my best anyways) and experience it from God too. WOW! :)

    ok, my own little rabbit trail there...

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  84. LLLreader sez: "The world hates us" from the OALC members isn't true. I don't think all the members of the OALC are going to hell, but yet a OALC member can look me in the eye, tell me I am going to hell, and in the next breath whine about being persecuted. Explain that someone!

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  85. LLLreader, I am waiting with bated breath for the reply to that one! Great question!

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  86. Many Trails Home2/27/2007 05:43:00 PM

    You know, all, this stuff - this oalc-speak - still has some power to terrify. I guess that's why we are all where we are, having grown up with this, and why they are all still in it, terrified of doing anything else. Whew, I swear they deliberately went in search of all the scariest passages, clumped them all together, and created a religion out of it. Well, if this is indeed the truth, then I'm a goner, because I can't believe this fear-mongering rubbish - and I'm glad I can't; I'd rather take my chances with a more loving belief system. "Love and fear cannot coexist."
    Furthermore, I can't abide the "whore" terminology. I could go the rest of my life without hearing another Laestadian diatribe and be the happier for it.
    May God bless us and keep us and lead us to the truth. And not "truth" defined as such by fear alone. MTH

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  87. MTH

    When your conscience is no longer moved or there is no sorrow of sin and you do not feel the need to testify your sins then you are already condemned. I am sorry that you have dead faith.

    He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

    Here, first of all, those who believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God hear that they are not condemned, but unbelievers also hear from these words of the Saviour written in the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 18, that they are already condemned, although they do not want to accept this judgment of the Saviour, for thieves of grace think they believe, even though they cannot say when they received true, living and saving faith. From this it is readily concluded that they do not have true, living and saving faith but only an assumption that they have received from the devil, a dead faith that they themselves have fabricated, and therefore they fear judgment, even though they were condemned long ago. They become angry with those who declare this stern judgment to them.

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  88. Many Trails Home2/27/2007 07:50:00 PM

    Whatever. But I still don't think you answered LLLreader's question. I suspect you don't know how to speak in plain and simple English. Knock off the "grace thieves" archaic mumbo-jumbo already and tell us how YOU personally REALLY feel - about anything! MTH

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  89. LLLreader sez: A fabricated faith hmmmmm. Well, let's see now. I have a faith that was founded on the Bible, a Lord that died for me, a Holy Spirit that lives within me, a precious moment when I accepted Christ as my Savior, and an ongoing love in my heart for the Lord. I pray to the Lord for forgivness for my sins and place my life in His hands. My belief is not based on anything other then when God has brought to me. About 150 years ago a man, named LLL, started a revival-he was helped with the teachings by another man, J. Raatimma. These two developed teachings and traditions that eventually became the OALC. If we are talking fabricated faith--I can't imagine what could be more fabricated then the work they did. Over time other men took these men's teachings and embellished and tweaked them--shall we say "fabricated" them into the shape that is the "Church". The "Church" has become more powerful then God and fear has taken the place of love. Speaking of power, how can anyone be powerful enough to be a grace thief? Is the power of God in your life so weak that he would let go of you? Come to think of it, what is a grace thief anyway? Is it someone who worships differently then you do? Are you so afraid that your church foundation is on such shakey ground that it would crumble under disagreements? The Lord is strong-he loves me and he loves you and even in your arrogance and judgement of others there must be some spot of love for all of us.

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  90. oalc anon, you really need to go ask the ministers for forgiveness for being on the internet. Don't say I didn't warn you when its your judgement day... :)

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  91. I find it interesting OALC anon, that in spite of all of the flowery LLL speak, you never did address the question of how you can look someone in the eye and tell them they are going to hell, all whilst not receiving the same rebuke -- yet you claim to be the persecuted one. Of course, perhaps it was buried in all of the allegory and shrouded confusion you were spouting. I also wonder where you copied all of that from, since most of it was not original thought, as was apparent from the style of writing. At least you might have edited out the reference to "what you heard in today's gospel".

    It seems that you are perfectly happy to live your mournful life, seeking to drive fear into the hearts of people rather than sharing a message of a loving and merciful God. You mix in a little bible speak (which frankly is an improvement over most OALCers) with a whole lot of old Lars Levi, and seem happy to base your own salvation on the teaching of a man -- who I am pretty sure is not the 7th angel of Revelation. (That one still slays me in its pure silliness!) More power to you if that's what you believe, and thanks for the explanation. What I don't get is why the OALC has the temerity and the gall to proclaim themselves so enlightened and knowledgable that they are the infallible and appointed agents of the Lord, entrusted with a responsibility to judge and condemn any that do not agree with them.

    You sit there and proclaim that anyone not in the OALC has no sorrow of sin or an awakened conscience. How do you know that? Did God grant you the power to look into men's hearts and know what is there? I know, you've been asked that before, but you seem to avoid the direct questions, or you copy a paragraph of LLL and call it good.

    You loudly proclaim that "worldly" churches do not preach a fear of sin, but you have no evidence of that except what your preachers have announced from the holy seat of the altar. The problem is they have no evidence either, but only parrot the words that they saw their predecessors blathering, that seemed to cause great wailing on a good Sunday, and at least a few sniffles on the worst. You throw in a few odd references against the papists, the whoremongers, the drunkards, and you call it a "precious sermon". You brand anyone who enjoys a glass of wine as a drunkard, even though the person may never have been intoxicated in their life -- but wait, that's right, you have the power to look into men's hearts and judge what's there. I seem to recall that there are many references in the Bible of Jesus drinking and sharing wine with his friends. Good thing the OALC wasn't around in those days or he would have been put straight on the slippery slope, the drunkard!

    Those of us who have actually set foot in those "outside" churches have found first hand that what we were told about them while still in the OALC simply is not true. Note that if it is not true, then it is a lie.

    So along with the fear and sorrow and downtrodden spirits that are professed as the best state for a Christian, I have found virtually every other thing told about the outside churches to be lies as well. Now who is doing the persecuting?

    As was pointed out, we who have left have never said that any member of the OALC is going to hell because of their unbelief. We have not shunned any member of the OALC, but many here have certainly been shunned -- even by family. I know you want to wallow in your self perceived position of persecution because I guess it makes you feel justified, but answer me, OALC anon, who is being persecuted? This time, don't hide it in some copied words from LLL. Just answer the question honestly.

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  92. You know, oalc anon, you have so much double-speak in your two posts here that I'm surprised that you still know what you are talking about. There is no possible way that you could assume, without knowing all of the people represented here, that we are all "grace thieves". You also assume that even though we think we believe in Jesus, we are really only believing in ourselves. And that our faith is dead. What????? Did you become omnipotent when no one was looking? Are you now able to look into the hearts and minds of men (and women)?

    You have a serious flaw in your theological reasoning, o. You are deluded enough to presume that if a person does not believe in your brand of faith, that it somehow follows that they do not believe in Christ Jesus. You quote John 3:18 to say that he that believeth on him is not condemned....fast forward to the part where you say we do not have true, living, saving faith.

    My faith is not in your words, your elders, your LLL, your church, your anything. My faith is in Jesus Christ. I cannot become distracted by the illusory precepts you try to wave in front of my eyes. My eyes are fixed on my Savior.

    I am not angry at you, and I am not afraid. My faith is not in myself. My faith, my foundation is in Christ. My confidence is not misplaced. In Him rests the power that created our world, and through Him, I am saved. Not through my doing, but through the grace given to me as a gift, freely offered. It is offered to you as well, dear o.

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  93. daisyaday,
    You said "My faith is not in your words, your elders, your LLL, your church, your anything. My faith is in Jesus Christ. I cannot become distracted by the illusory precepts you try to wave in front of my eyes. My eyes are fixed on my Savior."

    Amen, Amen. There is so much in those few sentences. Thank you for saying it so well.

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  94. LLLreader, Cvow, and Daisyaday, thank you all for your wonderfull posts.
    I couldn't agree more!

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  95. I found it so interesting that as soon as I finished writing my thoughts, I hit Publish, the page refreshed, and I saw that there were several of us echoing the same thoughts, although in slightly different words.

    Thank you to everyone, including o, for taking the time to be here, to wrestle with this "inheritance" we share, our common background. It helps me clarify many of my own issues to "hear" all of you discuss them here. We all have our own perspective and experiences to contribute, and this is a richer place for it!

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  96. I have actually found that other, so called "worldly", churches are full of people that love the Lord and love other people. I can honestly say I have felt more love in them for other people than the one I grew up in (LLC). I see more outreach, ministries, service for others. So being taught growing up that all these churches were dead faith, lacking the Holy Spirit, has been interesting to see that its not true! There is so much love for others! That definetely cannot be the devil or some false spirit.

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  97. Many Trails Home2/28/2007 11:05:00 AM

    Ooooeee, cvow, you really turned out a good one. Love to read you when you get fired up. And I am actually grateful to oalc-anon for coming on, as it gives us so much food for thought, reflection, reevaluation. I LOVE YOU ALL, you are so dear, so honest, so desiring of a true relationship with the Lord. This site is a major blessing in my life.

    Having said that, I was reflecting on this often parroted expression heard from the pulpit thruout my youth: the devil "comes as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." What a scary image to wean infants on. No wonder we're all a little off. To me, this expression is the CORE of Laestadianism, because without it, who would stay? The core is not love, grace, forgiveness, repentence, or anything else, but fear of the "roaring lion." God help us all, how disgusting. What's worse, of course, is that there was never any sure sanctuary from the "roaring lion," since any number of sins or even the slightest lack of vigilance could consign us to its maw . . . for eternity! How could one ever be SURE that they were saved by grace, hadn't fallen into unforgivable doubt, hadn't unwittingly fallen victim of self-righteousness, etc? In fact, if one is SURE, is that not the most likely indicator that the devil has got you after all? All one ever had was hope and uncertainty. I could never again live like that. Thank you, Lord, for stirring doubt in me, so that I was then freed up to look for the LOVE in the Lord and my fellow man and in myself. Blessings to you all. MTH

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  98. New Anon.
    Vey interesting post. They have helped me so much. I have made the decision to not attend that church anymore. It is difficult yet I feel a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I prayed to God to lead me in the right way. I feel so much more love here than I ever did in the church.

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  99. I am praying for God's love to abundantly pour out over you, for His peace to consume you, and for others to be brought into your life to lift you up and support you.
    You will be okay.
    You are courageous.

    Helena

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  100. {the devil "comes as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." What a scary image to wean infants on. No wonder we're all a little off.}
    MTH
    I want to thank you for my first good guffaw this week! I scared the bejeebers out of my dog because I chortled so loud! I so well remember those words from my years in "the church". But the remark about all being a little off made my day. No wonder I love this sight! I'm surrounded by all my fellow dingbats, cracked pots, nut cases, & loose screws. I love being a part of a community that is as hooloo as me; yet for the most part knows what it took to leave the grips of confusion and spewed garbage.
    Though I can't so eloquently express myself as so many have been doing lately; I've said lots of "amens" as I've been reading your words.
    Kiitos my fellow aliens.

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  101. LLLreader sez: After the OALC member posted MTH said the words still have power to terrify. I sure hear that MTH. But, that church has had 150 years to hone and refine their language, no wonder they are so good at it. LLL was a master of scary discriptive threats, and he harvested the Bible for the most threatening passages he could find. Someone else posted that at his death he asked for some of his OWN sermons to hold.

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  102. To all:

    I have tried in these last few days to rekindle the conscience of anyone here and move you from dead to living faith. If I under these words with the teachings of LLL have awakened one unbeliever to testify those sins and believe and be free; then I have saved one soul.

    You cannot give someone the Christianity; you can only pray that they will one day have the faith to believe. But remember dear friends that one of the worst sins you can commit is the sin of unbelief. You knew what you had but instead gave it up to satisfy those worldly and fleshly desires.

    Many of you have tried to undermine our preachers and elders. May I remind you of this place….. Hebrews 13:17

    “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.”

    God’s peace and farewell....

    “the beach is booked”

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  103. New Anon, welcome. You've probably got a lot of reading in the older posts. I hope you find encouragement and compassion in our fussy little community, where we discuss, argue, show sympathy and empathy and prayer and love for each other. God bless you!

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  104. "You knew what you had but instead gave it up to satisfy those worldly and fleshly desires."

    Wow. We "ex's" must speak lower Slobovian or something because I have no idea where o dreams this stuff up.

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  105. I've been following this thread with great interest, amusement, and sadness. To be honest, I looked forward to oalc anon's posts the most. I always wonder what he/she will come up with next. "Shoot. What do I believe? I'll just quote some Laestadius." Jesus doesn't care if you can quote the whole bible. Do you really believe and live it? I know when I was in OALC I had know clue who Jesus was. I just did the right things, said the right things, cried at the right times (with abundant effort). Just one question oalc anon:
    What if....think about this with an open mind...just what if we(exes) are believers?
    Act like we are and see if anyone goes against Christ's teachings. If you can't open your mind enough to do that, you should ask yourself why you can't. What are you afraid of? Why can't you believe we are truly christians? Because you know it would shake your whole foundation, right? Because then...you might be wrong. Everything you ever believed in and were taught would have to go right out the window. Well, guess what? That's how you find the truth. You go to God with NOTHING. No teachings, no Laestadius, no Elders. Just you. That's all He wants...you. He loves you as you are, sinner and all! He wants YOUR heart. Not your heart plus anything. Just you how you are.
    Is the thought of leaving all teachings behind terrifying to you? Or stupid? That's where faith comes in. Do you believe He will show you the way? Every single one of us believers that left had to do that and we're all on a different path. The best thing is, all the paths lead to Christ.
    I care a whole lot for you despite my exasperation of Laestadius. That's a whole other issue. You are unique, beautiful, and precious to God. Please believe that! Don't say you aren't because that would be saying God lies. He loves you!

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  106. Did y'all notice that oalc anon -- after ignoring the question on the first round and instead just throwing out some LLLspeak that didn't apply -- then bailed out and said farewell when pressed again to answer the simple question about persecution that he/she was asked?

    Notice that happened on the other simple questions as well -- such as "how do you know that such and such is true in the worldly churches since you've never been in one?", or "how do you know what's in another person's heart?"

    It is very difficult to have a discussion with someone who will not even acknowledge anything you say and refuses to answer any questions. It is very difficult to have a discussion with someone who blithely makes statements such as "You knew what you had but instead gave it up to satisfy those worldly and fleshly desires."
    Now I don't know about all of the rest of you, but I know that the only part of that statement that is true for me is that I finally did realize what I had -- and I found it wanting. I certainly didn't give it up to satisfy those worldly and fleshly desires. I gave it up to find a path that the Lord was asking me to take, not Lars Levi Laestadius.

    Those are the kinds of statements that simply infuriate me about so many of the OALCers. They make those kinds of statements -- that are nothing but out and out lies --but try to do so from some self perceived and self proclaimed position of ....what? It seems to me that it certainly is not the position of humbleness and humility as they claim.

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  107. True conversation means the back and forth of at least two people taking turns speaking and listening. It's an art: some people do it well, some work at it, and others do not see any value in it, and perhaps are threatened by it.

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  108. Oh, greenhorn, that was beautiful. It's so true. I didn't find Christ until I did just that: came to Him with nothing. It was life-changing.

    cvow, I see the same things. It's kind of a hit-and-run philosophy--get a couple of those fear-provoking jabs in, and run like heck. Come back, o. We're not going anywhere, and God would not condemn you for trying to sort out His truth from the window dressing that sometimes gets laid over the top of it.

    norah--very true. It's good to remember that we are all at different stages of our walk in faith. I guess that is what makes this so interesting.

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  109. OALC Anon,

    Good luck at the beach avoiding all those sinful things there, and be sure to visit Christians on the way to justify your trip.

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  110. To All:

    I am sorry if you felt that I did not answer your questions about persecution but I have noticed that every time I quoted scripture or LLL which speaks alongside the bible everyone comes back with their own thoughts and criticisms? Why don’t all of you actually pick up the Bible and show me the way you believe rather than based on your opinion? I try to use examples in the Bible such as listening to your spiritual leaders for example.

    And yes you can go to the beach with your family in a Christian way without partaking in all matters of sin in this world. The beach is not the sin but if you get into trouble while being there; then yes it could be looked at that way. IMO making fun such as someone did about the beach is a form of persecution. You are being made fun of or mocked because of the way you believe. Now I am not saying that we will be stoned to death but it is a form of persecution.

    As far as visiting other churches; I have been to weddings and funerals of people outside of our church. I can agree with the preachers that most of the dead faith churches concentrate more on the rituals (ringing of the bells in the Catholic Church) and how well you sing with the organ versus the most important thing which is your soul salvation.

    So again I ask if you do attend a church other than the (OALC, LLC, FALC, etc) let me know which one you do. For example if you attend the Catholic Church we can surely divulge into what they believe in such as purgatory? Now where is purgatory in the Bible again?

    Again as I usually do I like to end with some scripture…

    James 5:19-20

    19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back,20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

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  111. LLLreader sez: Thanks for coming back oalc anon. I can understand your feeling that being made fun of is persecution. I want to tell you that going to weddings and funerals is not a true respresentation of what a church is like. If you would wonder on over to a Baptist church near you on one Sunday (think of it as a field trip) and listen to what is preached, you might be surprised to hear them preach against sin, the importence of leading a Godly life, and other matters that we as Christians think are important. Certainly there is all manner of sin in the world, but that doesn't mean that everyone takes part in sinful behavior. God Bless you oalc anon. I know you want to do the right thing. We don't agree on religious tradition, but we do agree that we have a wonderful Lord. I don't go to a Baptist Church, but I think others on this blog do.

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  112. Many Trails Home3/01/2007 05:23:00 PM

    4eyes, I would have to agree that your comment was a bit sarcastic but I think we are generally quite successful at avoiding sarcasm, a good thing. So for the blog, I will apologize to O for any sarcasm or mockery. I believe we do not intend to belittle you.

    I myself was unconsciously prone to sarcasm on occasion, no doubt a heritage from my childhood. I was essentially "cured" of this negativity by my son, who has keen radar for mockery and is 100% intolerant of it. At first I considered his reaction disrespectul and unkind to me, until I realized that I was the one at fault and was willing to learn from him. Blessings to you all for generally "eschewing sarcasm." It is one of the things that makes this blog so successful, that we try to treat each other with respect. MTH

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  113. oalc-anon

    Will you PLEASE answer this question with a simple yes or a no?

    "If you happened to be wrong about your faith in the oalc, LLL, the edlers, etc.. would you want to know that?"

    Please think about carefully about this because almost every time an oalcer will respond by saying "It isnt wrong." Without answering the question.

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  114. I stumbled on this site after researching lars on the net. I am not sure if this is where I post but I thought I would start here.

    I left the IALC 7 years ago at the age of 28. I was raised in it and my immediate family is still active. But I am not sure if it is as controlling as possibly other laestadian groups.

    Maybe someone can enlighten me there.

    I have had no issues thus far other than it is strange when my family mentions they can't do something with me because of church. I do miss out on babtism's of nieces and nephews and I am sure funerals will be akward but life isn't supposed to easy.

    I admit it is difficult but I am not sure it is any more difficult than leaving any another religion.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the IALC? LMK.

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  115. Once again Oalc anon, you avoided the question.

    You condemn people to hell. None of us do to the best of my knowledge. How does that make you the persecuted one, and not the reverse? You seem to feel persecuted because someone made an unkind comment about you going to the beach. You condemn us to hell and say that is not persecution.

    Think about that. Don't look in your Laestadius, look in your heart.

    BTW, I am not persecuting you here. I am just trying my best to understand your position and find it hard to believe that you are so hardened that you cannot see the irony.

    God bless us all, everyone. While we certainly don't agree about the details, we do agree on the salvation found in Jesus Christ. Peace.

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  116. Was My comment somewhat sarcastic, yes it was. In my oalc life the beach was preached against as a sinful place to avoid, and any vacation that did not involve a Christian visit along the way was frowned upon.
    I don't enjoy being sarcastic, but I am a little bit miffed at oalc anon's posts about "Grace thieves", "Dead Faith", and judging and condemning people that he has never met! And his/her comments about wordly churches and ministers also struck a nerve.
    I have put up with this very same behavior from fellow OALC "Christians" for years, and I am still angry about it!
    MTH, thanks for apologizing, although I don't think it was necessary. :-)

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  117. Former IALC goer again. You guys make me feel like I grew up in beverly hills!

    I thought I had hidden issues with: lying to fellow members about high school dances, movies, sipping wine on occassion, playing with cards; hiding my apparent faith to school mates, nightmares from the "rejoicing" I witnessed

    Apparently our little shism is the liberal one of the group. I have a hard time coming to grips with that.

    Love this site and keep it coming.

    Again I ask, any former/current Indenpendent Apostolic Lutherans out there?

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  118. saved by grace3/01/2007 09:33:00 PM

    4eyes-thanks for the clarification. It's so interesting to learn about the different rules in the various churches. I think my parents had their own version of the rules, because there were things that were okay with the church, but were SO not okay with my mom, such as curling one's hair, wearing two piece swimsuits, having hair longer than the collar (for boys and men), and my mom, bless her heart, would turn off the radio if there was a commercial with music that had too fast a beat. :)

    Rebel, interestingly enough, I only remember one person who rejoiced, and that was many years ago. In the LLC, I had not seen that for some time...maybe twenty years or so? Was that common? I remember it being very uncomfortable.

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  119. Rebel, you are the second ex-IALCer this week! Koivutar posted for the first time last weekend, I have been posting for about two months, and stranger in a strange land has been here the longest. So we have three ex's and one fringer (Stranger).

    Read back through the posts over the last few months and you will see much of my opinions on our childhood church. Within the last week I posted on rejoicing and how it never sat right with me.

    Yes, strange to think that we were more "liberal" then most the other ALC branches, but the exclusivity, shunning, and legalism is the same.

    Contact free2bme (Site Author and administrator) if you want to get in touch with me through e-mail off the website.

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  120. Mr. Smith,
    I will look at your post. This site has really opened a world I was unaware of.

    These different laestadian groups do seem familiar. One majore difference, however, is that I never even heard Lars L. name until I found it on Wiki. They never mentioned him while I was around. These other churches seem to study and quote him. Interesting eh?

    I may try to contact you but I am diggin the anon thing now.

    until my next email.

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  121. Saved,
    IALC is mostly in UP of Mich, Minneapolis, Kenosha WI, New Hampshire and Northern Cali.

    Rejoicing was only done in the bigger churches; strange how that works. Always seemed kind of show boating to me. I think the jumping caused a schism at some point if not a couple of times.

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  122. Someone asked earlier if "rejoicing" still occurs in other Laestadian churches than the IALC. I don't know if it was answered yet, but it does occur at least in the OALC branch in Finland, to some extent also in the OALC in Sweden and Norway as well as in the LLC in Finland. It is getting less common also in the Finnish OALC, but you can still see it happen sometimes at the end of the sermon when people are asking each other and the preachers for forgiveness. In general, it tends to be a very emotion laden moment at OALC meetings, as the preacher gets louder and starts speaking about things that are likely to make people emotional. The listeners start crying and asking each other for forgiveness, and even the preacher may start crying. A first-time visitor to an OALC service said it felt fake and ghastly because it was like someone was pushing a button, first everyone was just normal and suddenly the next moment they were crying and hugging each other. So, in the OALC it's not so much about rejoicing as about crying. There are also some interesting geographical differences within the OALC, one of the differences is that Americans tend to be louder and more emotional than Europeans, especially out west.

    ---

    OALC anon asked about purgatory. I'm not Catholic and I don't believe in purgatory, but I happen to know that Catholics actually use a Bible verse to back up their doctrine of purgatory:

    1. Cor. 3:15 "If any man's work shall be burned, he will suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

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  123. Hp3, that verse you are talking about is concerning the Bereans..


    Acts 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

    Here's the NIV version:

    11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

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  124. As far as Lars Levi, I vaguely remember hearing of him in my FALC youth. Probaby in relationship to those "sinners" who left us and started to LLL church. Never really became aware of him fully until I started researching the FALC and also found this blog. Rejoicing was neither common nor uncommon. Some times an older person would start rejoicing during the sermon and walk to the alter and ask for a blessing. Interesting thought: I never heard anyone doing that in English, only Finn. Of course rejoicing after communion and asking family etc for blessings is the norm.
    Anon, I invite you on a journey. For the next year, visit a different church every other week for an actual church service. Not a wedding or a funeral but an actual service. Keep a journal and record the degree of deadness or life you find in each one. You don't even have to go as a seeker. Go as someone that is going to confirm their belief that all other churches are dead. That way when you tell others that all other churches are dead you will have your research journal to bring out and back up your claim. Not just because the preachers said so. If you are called to task, explain to the congregation what you are doing is to have final proof for doubters that OALC is the only living faith. If some don't seem quite dead to you, check them out a few other times. Then I will put stock in your claim that yours is the only way.

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  125. LLLreader sez: There are 6 main Apostolic groups listed in according to size: 1. Old Apostolic Lutheran Church, around 10,000 members. 2. Apostolic Lutheran Church of America (Federation), originally the largest group, but has declined to an estimated 7,000 members. 3. Laestadian Lutheran Church 5,000-6,000 members. 4. First Apostolic Church, 5,000-5,500 members. 5. The Pollarite Groups with two subgroups (a)The Independent Apostolic Lutheran Church (Matt Reed), about 3000 members and (b) The Apostolic Luthern Church (Aunes Salmela), about 600 members. 6. Grace Apostles Lutheran Church, new group separated from First Apostolic Lutheran Church in 2004, 200 plus members.

    The Apostolic Churches got their start in America as one group, Solomon Kortetniemi Lutheran Society, 1873, in Calumet, Michigan.

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  126. I believe OALC anon should examine him or her self by the very words that they are judging others by.

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  127. Many Trails Home3/02/2007 01:14:00 PM

    Anon above, I agree: Did Jesus not say, "Judge not lest ye be judged?" And I think he meant, "Judge not lest ye be judged by the force of your own judgment." Now THAT's a slippery slope and if there is such a thing as a devil as described in the OALC, judgment seems like the very thing he'd try to trick us into, and then turn it (appropriately) against us! He'd also probably convince us that we should not think or allow our minds to be blank, as that might allow Jesus / God to get through to us in the "still small place." In fact, he'd probably tell us that we should not think at all but just do and "believe" what we are told. What better population of potential recruits than those who are terrified? The terrified are weak, not strong. How things do get turned inside out and black can be made to look white . . . so maybe we should just rely on the preachers.

    O, how much simpler, truer, and purer to just listen to JESUS' own words (I only read and quote the "red parts"): "Love the Lord your God . . . . and your neighbor as yourself. Love one another as I have loved you. I come to bring life . ." etc. Where are your references to love and life, O?

    I just opened the Bible prayerfully at random (as the preachers supposedly do, but their Bibles must all have spines broken at about 3 places) and this is what I got (Jesus speaking, Mark 7): "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your TRADITION." (caps mine) Does the shoe fit, O? Is your "tradition" more valuable to you than the commandment of God? It is simply not possible to practice love and at the same time be on continuous alert for the "roaring lion." We must/do choose, and I choose to place my faith and trust in Jesus' commandment to love.
    And this: "He who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." I think Jesus himself is the door, and piggy-backing in on the backs of the preachers is "climbing up some other way." Saying "The preachers told me so" is not likely to get anyone past St. Peter. May we all choose instead to be in direct service to a loving Lord.
    Enough. I have been very verbose today. Have a great weekend, everyone.
    MTH

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  128. Many Trails Home3/02/2007 01:14:00 PM

    Anon above, I agree: Did Jesus not say, "Judge not lest ye be judged?" And I think he meant, "Judge not lest ye be judged by the force of your own judgment." Now THAT's a slippery slope and if there is such a thing as a devil as described in the OALC, judgment seems like the very thing he'd try to trick us into, and then turn it (appropriately) against us! He'd also probably convince us that we should not think or allow our minds to be blank, as that might allow Jesus / God to get through to us in the "still small place." In fact, he'd probably tell us that we should not think at all but just do and "believe" what we are told. What better population of potential recruits than those who are terrified? The terrified are weak, not strong. How things do get turned inside out and black can be made to look white . . . so maybe we should just rely on the preachers.

    O, how much simpler, truer, and purer to just listen to JESUS' own words (I only read and quote the "red parts"): "Love the Lord your God . . . . and your neighbor as yourself. Love one another as I have loved you. I come to bring life . ." etc. Where are your references to love and life, O?

    I just opened the Bible prayerfully at random (as the preachers supposedly do, but their Bibles must all have spines broken at about 3 places) and this is what I got (Jesus speaking, Mark 7): "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your TRADITION." (caps mine) Does the shoe fit, O? Is your "tradition" more valuable to you than the commandment of God? It is simply not possible to practice love and at the same time be on continuous alert for the "roaring lion." We must/do choose, and I choose to place my faith and trust in Jesus' commandment to love.
    And this: "He who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." I think Jesus himself is the door, and piggy-backing in on the backs of the preachers is "climbing up some other way." Saying "The preachers told me so" is not likely to get anyone past St. Peter. May we all choose instead to be in direct service to a loving Lord.
    Enough. I have been very verbose today. Have a great weekend, everyone.
    MTH

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  129. OALC Anon,
    Methinks thou doth protest too much. I am wondering: if you are truly secure in your faith, why are you surfing the web for sites like this one? I don't buy your protestations that you hope for one saved soul unless, of course, that soul is yours. Anyone steadfast in his/her faith would dutifully follow the preachings against the internet, the current Great Sin, knowing what severe danger lurks there. So what is the draw for you? Why would you want to know what's being said by ex's? Why would it matter? Unless, deep, deep in your heart and soul you feel twinges that terrify you and you wonder how we have all managed our struggles. Am I on the right path here?

    My heart goes out to you. Your writings feel more like you are trying to convince yourself than the rest of us.

    God's Peace and Blessings to you, especially in your dark moments. We all know what they feel like.

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  130. Many Trails Home3/02/2007 04:24:00 PM

    Sometimes this befuddles me. I don't know how that post got in there twice. Does anyone know how to erase one, or does Free have to do it? MTH

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  131. Does anyone know how to search the comment areas by user or keyword? Is it even possible?

    I am trying to gather former post regarding the IALC. Thanks in advance.

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  132. I hope oalc-anon comes back. I know he/she is out there reading the posts. I am really looking forward to your response to my question of weather you would want to know if your faith is really the truth or not. If you can`t answer that even to yourself, doesn`t that make you wonder?

    just curious....

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  133. Rebel,
    As far as I know, there is no way to do that. That doesn't mean there isn't, just means I don't know of one.
    I do know that Google has often sent me to these sites because it flags certain words.
    If you do a search on Google (or any other search engines), if you put quotations around the specific words (e.g. "Independent Apostolic Lutheran") it will search for that exact phrase and not break it down into individual words.

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  134. Thanks MTH, Amen.

    To OALC Anon,
    I started questioning the OALC because of the judgement that was so harsh to "worldlies" or "evil workers". So I started to visit with these so called non-believers to make my own call on why they were called such. Do you know what I found? LOVE.
    I was able to see that the horrible harsh gossip that was build against them had zero foundation. I was horrified by the evil talk about them. The stories that were embellished upon to make these people even more evil. I found that it was a pack of lies.
    Since then the same thing has happened to me. Gossip started that was embellished upon without any foundation. Do you know how that makes me feel? I will tell you.FREE!!!
    I had never been persecuted before while attending the Oalc. Yeah people thought it was weird how we believed but didn't confront me or really make fun of me. They also did not make up lies about me ( that I know of anyway). The persecution was from the church members themselves.
    I would like you to listen while you are in the company of fellow members to the talk that surrounds you and ask yourself if this is what Jesus would do.
    "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake."
    God bless all

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  135. PS
    Has anyone ever noticed that "hearsay" is so close to "heresy".
    If we listen to what everyone else says without finding out for ourselves is that not heresy?

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  136. backtothefuturecc3/03/2007 08:24:00 AM

    I can not believe that this site exists. Thirty years ago i felt so alone and had to rely on people that had no understanding of what leaving the church really meant. I still feel the strings of my past. I am so glad my kids now at the same age I was when I left do not have to go thru what I went through. They are free. I am so glad this site exists.

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  137. Yes, this site is a wonderful thing for those searching. There was nothing to help 25 years ago when I left either. And I am grateful my children do not have the OALC as their 'reality'. Nevertheless I thank God for my experiences there that have shaped me into the person that I am today. It is miraculous what he has raised me up from and what my children are, outside of it. It is also amazing what untruths my children see when they are exposed to it. The peace of God be with each of you.

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  138. To anonymous above: I agree about the vicious gossip. I have experienced it intimately myself, and so has my husband and kids.
    The most unbelievable is the one about the horns. His own immediate family believes it is true.
    You can't make this stuff up!

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  139. Mr. Smith,

    I will warn you now that this post will be lenghty. But hey, everyone should have no problem reading through it if you sat through the marathon church sesssions we have been subjected to over the years. Plus, I see you seem to enjoy the keyboard as well.

    I am tediously reviewing your past posts; funny and insightful stuff. I love em. I always suspected other people had these ideas and thoughts in church.

    I am on the same page with:

    Greetings; here is my take: "God's Greetings" on the way in and "God's Peace" on the way out. Even in the company of non-believers; oddly where the Finnish comes in to play perfectly. Also, the Finnish version seems to make a believer a true believer. If you really want to show off of how great a believer you were/are, say the greetings in english anyway in front of strangers. This will always impress them. Even though we weren't supposed to be proud of our belief; just another aw' shuck weak believer am I.

    Also, no knowledge or awarness of history or divisions. Even when I asked my Mom (still in the church; as is the whole family) about Lars Levi, she tells me she knows of him but proceeds to another topic. Maybe because I am out of faith or it brings up bad thoughts for her. Another note on the IALC name: the name isn't important to them. The only reason their is a name according to the IALC is for legal reasons. Also the past isn't important, only the bible.

    Speakers always sent their greeting from wherever they were. Kind of like a "shout out". I always had the feeling that the traveling speaker would send greetings from people that maybe didn't even send them. Maybe it was just me.

    Now, apparently you went to church in Minnesota. My mom always told me she wished that she moved our family to Minneapolis to be closer to all the believers. Man how I hated traveling their all the time; 16 hour drive for me. As a kid I was always jealous that they had an actual church. I was in the SE Michigan group (or Detroit as some people would say). My dad is still the treasurer of the group today. When I go home I still see the box of song books they have.

    I will mention that I really don't have any bad feelings toward the group. I think everyone in the IALC does have good intentions and are nice people. I just didn't really buy into the whole thing. I believe it was said many times that you shouldn't be taking communion if you do not believe. That you were basically going straight to hell for that king of thing. So I figured time to move; only took 28 years!

    Well enough rambling; I could go all day and night. I am sure everyone else could too. Love the site and love the comments.

    Rebel in the IALC's eyes.

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  140. backtothefuturecc3/03/2007 07:20:00 PM

    To anon I also never experienced any problems with my worldly friends, but I was never really excepted by the church group, even though I went their until I was 20. My parents also always seemed to be on the fringe but they never quit trying. I think part of the problem was my last name didn't sound finnish, and my parents only had 2 kids. We also weren't related to anyone like everyone else was. Even so it was so hard to make the break.

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  141. Rebel,

    I had no idea that there even was a group in the Detroit area! I knew Hemet, CA and New Hampshire, but not detroit. What a miserable drive for you, all the way to Negaunee, MI or Kenosha. WI. Constantly. For week coffee, watered down kool-aid, and rejoicing.

    I know what you mean about communion, I half expected to have the wafer burst into flames near the end of my stay.

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  142. backtothefuturecc3/04/2007 07:20:00 AM

    I grew up in the apostolic lutheran church in Detroit with Rev. Tulkkii and also going up to Calumet for St. Johns services.What I remember a lot of is constant arguing among church members and losing friends as they would start new stricter churches. I thought our church was pretty focused on rules and not being of the world so I couldn't understand the need to get even more ,I think they termed it legalistic. It was all sort of distracting from why you go to church.

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  143. In the end times here many will say this is the Savior or this is the Savior. Men will tell us this.
    There will be many that show miracles or marvels. But Jesus says "believe them not".
    I really believe that we all here want to gain eternal salvation. I don't know of any human being that really wants to go to hell. So for someone to come saying this is the church where you find Jesus makes me question. This is the church that has the true and saving faith. This is the place were Jesus resides. This is exactly what the Scribes and Pharisees thought in their Law. They looked down on anyone that did not think or believe like them. They also thought that they were right. They did not believe that Jesus was the Savior. In the church you had to perform. You had to look like them talk like them and have the same mindset. I ask all to examine their church or belief does it parallel what Jesus teaches? Or do you have to perform to fit in. If you do this is a condition of faith. READ,READ,READ the Bible!!!! Know for yourself because this is your journey. Fill your lamps with the truth. Be concerned with your faith first. Read for you not every one else.

    There is no room for contention in Christs' church. There is Love. If we are saying that this person or that person does not believe, is that Love? NOT!! If we sit in our hauty, self-rightious,scoffing,and condemning throne (like I used to) are we Christ like? NOT!!
    IF you make fun of or scoff at some ones church or religion (and it does not matter what church because alot of people really are serious about their church or religion) I ask you is this Christ like?
    I used to sit on my throne and could not (no, would not) believe that I could learn anything outside of my church. I was one of the elect. I was putting myself above others. I had a hauty spirit.
    The sad part is, I did not even realize this. This is where self-rightiousness was sifting my soul as wheat.
    When this was revealed to me it came from a person outside of church. Very unconventional, unthinkable means. How could God even think about teaching me something through "the world"?It was very confusing at first.It was so out of context to what I was believing. How could this be?
    I don't know but, I am thankful that God put this humbling experience on me. I look at all people more compassionately and lovingly because of this experience.
    I am a sinner just like you but I have to believe over that. I have to believe that Jesus paid the price in full. This is my free gift. GRACE.

    Sorry, got a little off the blog but I had to share my experience.

    Pray for me and God bless you all.

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  144. In church the pastor pointed out that we, even as Christians, DO NOT OWN Christianity. It belongs to no one but Christ.
    We as Christians DO NOT own Christ.
    When we own something, as a possesion, we start to get a mindset to fight over it. He said it so much better and it made such sense. I was wanting to take notes so I could post it here. It did bring to my mind all of the various branches and sub-branches of the Apostolic church that all think they "own" the only pure truth. Make sense?

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  145. To All:

    "If you happened to be wrong about your faith in the oalc, LLL, the edlers, etc.. would you want to know that?"

    To answer this question above; I am NOT wrong about my faith! Like I wrote before it was my desire to try to awaken and bring back anyone that might be on the fence. We are the Firstborn Christians which is mentioned in several places in the Bible.

    “So again I ask if you do attend a church other than the (OALC, LLC, FALC, etc) let me know which one you do.” Talk about not answering questions, nobody answered mine????

    4eyes:
    It sounds like to me that you have some built up animosity towards us OALCers. If the term “grace thief” bothers you maybe because the Truth hurts your conscience. Please refer to Romans 3:8

    8 And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, "The more we sin, the better it is!" Those who say such things deserve to be condemned.

    We do have the right to judge as LLL explains so well below. This is from an earlier post I used….

    Christians have the right to judge, they do not condemn anyone to hell, but instead they warn and urge impenitent souls not to go to hell. Nevertheless, an impenitent wretch thinks the Christians are ordering him to go to hell. Pagans do condemn thus, for they wish indeed that all Christians would go to hell, but the Christians have not yet wished that anyone go to hell, but they have always cried out to pagans the severe justice and judgment of God that awaits them if they do not become penitent and repent in the time of grace. They have cried out in the manner of John the Baptist: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come” [Matthew 3:7]? And they have cried out even more sternly, as did Paul, who said to an enemy of Christianity, “O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord” [Acts 13:10]

    HP3 Please do tell then. Fill us in….
    How about you ASK me why I left? Ask about my spiritual journey, what I have discovered along the way, what I am hoping to accomplish on my path. Ever thought of doing that? And then really listening to my answers?

    Norah:

    LLL and the Christians do speak alongside the Bible. I have posted a few of them here but most people do not want to read them anymore… I do not know the Bible very well but I try to read some new places everyday.

    MTH:

    Our faith is not based on tradition; but if you do want to say that are church follows certain customs then yes. BUT all churches have their own customs; In the Catholic church all the people taking part in the service wear robes(pastors, altar boys). The Altar boys ring the bells and carry in the “batons” at the beginning and the end of the service. They light candles and carry beads which they pray to Mary etc. We are supposed to be devout and disciplined; MTH your talk does remind me of this place in Titus 1:8-11

    8 Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life.9 He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.
    10 For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others.

    So Anon 8:24: So you are saying that every church that proclaims to know Jesus is saved?

    Until next time….

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  146. Actually Anon
    I didn't answer directly because I have reported several times on this blog that I have joined the LCMS which is of the Lutheran Church Misouri Synod. But by no means do I, or my fellow congregates, feel that this is the only true church. It is right for us. They (excuse me, we) do teach that there are Christians in many denominations (and non-denominations). And I did visit many different churches before I found one that brought me comfort and peace, while instilling in me a desire to grow in faith. I come from FALC and have many loved ones in that faith. And I do know that in most of their minds they believe that one must be FALC to be in the true Chrisianity and true faith. Yet if you sat side by side with them on a park bench, discussed matters of faith, you would both believe the EXACT same thing except that you would claim OALC and they would claim FALC as the one true faith. The only difference you would find would be in matters of the laws of men; ties, hair, sports etc. That is why I asked you to start visiting elsewhere. So you can learn and understand your ethnocentrism. From ethnocentric "meaning characterized by or based on the attitude that one's own group is superior" I'm not saying believe where you visit. Just visit so when you condemn and judge the deadness you will have the experience and authority to speak of the deadness. I once thought exactly like you. Then the Holy Spirit called me out. I once argued with visiting evangelists that came to save youth in my home town. Trying to show them how the FALC was the only way. What I learned on my journey since then is I was spouting the speak of the church elders! When I started to read the Holy Scriptures to verify what I was spouting I spent tearful nights and years discovering who my saviour Jesus Christ is. I found that He was not a hatemonger. I found that he was not a racist. I found that he came to save everyone that believes in Him through his act of grace.
    Did you know that if you take the Bible out of context, you might as well through it out. I believe that the Apostolics have taken a part of the Bible and made a whole religion out of it.
    Enough for today. I just started this to tell you where I attend.

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  147. LLLreader sez: I am a Methodist oalc anon. I doubt that you know much about my church.

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  148. OALC Anon, I have stated many times that I am a Roman Catholic. You know, those papists that you so love to //gasp! dare I say it?// persecute. There, now I answered your question -- but I wasn't diverted. Now it's your turn. How about let's go back to that question that you refuse to answer:

    "As was pointed out, we who have left have never said that any member of the OALC is going to hell because of their unbelief. We have not shunned any member of the OALC, but many here have certainly been shunned -- even by family. I know you want to wallow in your self perceived position of persecution because I guess it makes you feel justified, but answer me, OALC anon, who is being persecuted? This time, don't hide it in some copied words from LLL. Just answer the question honestly."

    You keep repeating LLL and I'll keep repeating the question.

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  149. Oalc anon
    No i don't believe that every church that proclaims to know Jesus is saved. But I do know that we don't have the right to judge every members heart.

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  150. oalc-anon

    Remember my post when I asked you to answer the question of weather you wanted to know if your faith is really the truth or not? I asked you to answer with a simple yes or a no then predicted what you would say, and true to form, you pulled thru. What is so tough about a yes or a no answer? When you just say "It isnt wrong" you are ducking. You must wonder to yourself why you cant answer that because I used to give the same answer and then I would wonder why.
    The reason I could not give a yes ar a no at the time was because I was afraid of what the truth could be. Could it be the same for you?

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  151. oh- by thw way I go to a non-denominational community church. I answered your question, now please answer mine. Thanks.

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  152. backtothefuturecc3/04/2007 03:02:00 PM

    I did raise my children in a local lutheran church, way, way different than the apostolic lutheran church I was raised in, but I never could get really involved. Partly because of a deep guilt for leaving and part for fear they may start expecting something of me. I can never take that chance. My kids look at it way different than myself because they don't have my past. Please tell me which initials are the ones for the church I went to in Farmington and in Calumet.

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  153. correction to my earlier post:

    I meant to say "throw" it out, not through it out.

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  154. backtothefuturecc

    If you went to the Nelson/Tulkki/Daavettila/Pennala Farmington church on Halsted Rd, then you went to the FALC. That branch is affilated with the group that followed Walter Torola in 1973. They are known as both Finnish or First Apostolic.

    Now do you know your initials? I'm assuming that was your question.

    If so, we may know each other.

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  155. backtothefuturecc3/04/2007 03:23:00 PM

    Thanks I was getting a little confused. I am amazed at this site, are others as amazed as I am? When I live my life, busy working, far away from my past it feels just a memory, but when I go up north to see my family , my anxiety raises, just going to Walmart I fear I will have to see someone. I still feel very judged, but I try to hide it.The statement that you may know me made me feel nervous. Isnt that really wierd. I'm so far away from it but still very close. Is this like it is for others?

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  156. I had two thoughts when I was reading your latest post, o. You may think this is nitpicking, but they are foundational concepts...

    You asked, "So Anon 8:24: So you are saying that every church that proclaims to know Jesus is saved?"

    My first point is that it isn't up to us to say who is saved. My second point is that we are not saved through the churches we attend. You are not saved through the church you attend.

    Churches are not saved. Individuals are saved, through their faith in Jesus Christ, and in the sacrifice that He made.

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  157. Well backtothefuturecc

    You notice I didn't spell out my real name here for you!
    I don't share the nervousness and fear of running into someone that you have.
    I guess I was in the fringes so long that I'm used to being a little different. I must say, since I have made my proclamation that I am no longer Apostolic I have only had one unusual run in at a gas station up north. I saw someone who I used to be quite close to and they acted like it about killed them to say hello and couldn't get away quick enough. I felt so sad for them! For one second I felt miffed but then I realized that they are so lost and afraid! Did they feel that (their perception) my unbelief would rub off on them?
    Speaking of being from the same place, wouldn't it be a hoot if we were related! Relax, I don't plan on outing myself. I need this site to keep me balanced right now.

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  158. Rebel:

    I hope you're not offended, but I am pretty sure I know who you are. I think I went out on a date with either you or with your brother. once. It depends on if you are the older or the younger one, I went out with the older one.

    P.S. What happens on this site stays on this site. In other words, I would never betray your identity. I would also hope you don't betray mine either!

    I am not sure if its like this with every congregation, but the Finnish greeting is in general disuse now.

    I'm not sure, Mr. Smith, what is so scary about rejoicing? I think it may be the rejoicing that keeps me there and fed, though it is seldom the spirit moves me like that. I believe our Saami heritage plays a role in rejoicing. Years ago, I took a university class in cultural anthropology that examined tribal cultures. In tribal cultures throughout the world, there have been rituals, sometimes medicinally induced, that take people to other states of consciousness. Think of chanting, Hindi meditatation, and Native American spirituality. My professor believed that all cultures have some form of getting to a state of altered consciousness, even if through the old-fashioned use of alcohol or drugs. Its one reason that alcohol became "fire-water" for Native Americans and the Saami, because their culture prized getting into altered states of consciousness, and alcohol was merely a shortcut. Now, its the Saami who were "credited" with beginning to "rejoice" in the early days of the movement. They had experienced other methods of spiritual joy through their animistic religion, and upon converting to Christianity through the Laestadian movement, they were accustomed to adding a physicality and vocality to their worship, and they were accustomed to reaching altered states of consciousness. Just ask someone who meditates, and they will tell you, that it takes practice in order to reach that state of "nirvana."

    Now, I don't necessarily see rejoicing as "proof" of faith, just a manifestation thereof. And yes, Mr. Smith, you might be right to say that 70% of it is legitimate. If you read Hepokoski's writings, it does address "cold-jumping" in it. Cold-jumping is apparently a false-start of rejoicing in the HOPE that in the action of artificially inducing rejoicing the spirit will eventually warm up to it. I would imagine that sometimes happens, too.

    As it is, the IALC is not the only church in which some sort of rejoicing is present.

    Is it "kooky?" I suppose it depends on how you look at it. I have very seldomly experienced that feeling, but I have experienced. It is a state of ultimate grace and joy. Did it make me a better believer because of it? Absolutely positively not. Is it necessary to rejoice to believe? Of course not.

    Did I feel embarrassed later? Absolutely. Though I cannot say why.

    Do I feel we are positively absolutely the only ones saved? I cannot rightly say so, and I've never been able to wrap my head or heart around that one. The Bible says there is only one church, and if that was absolutely so, which one would it be? Negaunee, the Twin Cities, or Marengo? All the IALC churches? All the LLL churches? All the Lutheran churchces? All the Christian ones?

    Whew. I am so glad I don't have to be the judge of the hearts of my fellow man.

    All I have to do is believe.

    God's Peace,

    Stranger in a Strange Land

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  159. Hello, this is U.L. anon-

    Way, way up above this post, OALC anon was lamenting not being able to 'get through' to anyone on here, though he/she tried and tried. He/she then said something deeply sad and scary to me: "if I have reached even one person on this site, (not exact quote)then I have saved one soul."
    Think about that, please, please, OALC anon, what you said. "then I have saved one soul."
    "I have"... not Jesus has? Not our Heavenly Father has??? But "I have"???

    That's all.

    A

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  160. Stranger,

    I can/will not dispute the validity of your experiences, since personal experiences are intensely that, personal.

    What is so scary about rejoicing? Well first off as a child, watching a woman (sometimes a man, rarely) burst out of the pew wailing and violently jumping and waiving there hands, throwing song books, swinging chairs, with tears streaming down their face. Spooky stuff. Top that off with the chain reaction that would start off and you would have multiple people doing this "kooky" behavior. I distinctly remember sometimes somebody would kind of start and there would be no other reaction from the congregation and they would die down pretty quickly. I would think to myself when a rejoicer would go off(and they always seemed to be the same rotation of people, I guess some feel the spirit more then others)"is there going to be a chain reaction this time?". If there was a chain reaction they seemed to feed off each other and push each other to fevered heights.

    I never got comfortable with that. I personally watched little 13 year old girls practicing there "style" (1/2 jokingly) when they were away from church. But wouldn't you know it, I saw them rejoicing in church for real later on, using exactly the same "style" they had practiced!

    Then I get older start to study philosophy, sociology, and group communication dynamics, and you see the mass psychology behind much of this. It made me even more suspicious.

    I disagree with you comparing the rejoicing we had in the church with Native American Vision Quests and Hindu Meditation. Both of those practices(and other similar practices)are entered into to have an out of body/mind experience, too look from the outside in and get a different perspective on things, to work through issues or problems that being rigidly sober and confined to our waking conscious does not allow. If you have ever had a hallucinogenic experience, or read authors who have written extensively on the subject, they will tell you about the unique perspective that can be found in these altered (either chemically or meditatively)states . I do not believe that there is any deep problem solving intended during IALC rejoicing. It appears to be a release, similar in nature the ecstatic release little girls have at a boy band concert.

    Now I am not denying that there are some people (yourself for one) who really do have joy overtake them and they may let out a cry of joy. But there is some individual effort to get one self to that point, or there is an unspoken communication in the crowd that works collectively to get the atmosphere to that point (i.e. late night labor day singing after services)

    Is it grace and joy, or is it creating an overflow of chemicals in our brain to give us that sensation? I guess that is a matter of faith.

    Sincerely,

    Mr. Smith

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  161. OALC anon--

    I just read through these 166 comments, and at first just couldn't believe that you refuse to answer the simple YES or NO question you have been repeatedly asked to answer.

    To me, that speaks volumes about your faith in the OALC, but certainly nothing about your faith in Jesus Christ.

    Just because something is all you've ever known or believed does NOT make it truth. Until you can accept that, you just don't get it. Start picking up your Bible every Sunday when you get home from church, and re-read the place they took, maybe even venture out to the whole couple chapters around the place they took. Let His Words sink in. I'm praying for you.

    "If you happened to be wrong about your faith in the oalc, LLL, the elders, etc.. would you want to know that?"

    WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW? At this point, my guess is you're thinking "no". Can't say I really blame you. Realizing I was wrong to take those preachers words and that OALC doctrine as the Words of God all those years was a tough time in my life, to say the very least. But I am so thankful that I finally said "yes, Lord, I do want to know." I pray someday you'll have the faith in CHRIST (not ANY church or man) to say "yes" too...

    God's peace, love , blessings and TRUTH to you.

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  162. Mr. Smith,

    I would not exactly say its like some pre-pubescent teenage girls at an American Idol concert, nor is it exactly like a vision quest or hindu meditation. Pardon my description, because I find it really hard to describe, even having felt it, the joy is so fleeting it is hard to actually remember what its like later. It is probably akin to the pain of childbirth; you know the agony is so extreme that you think it will kill you, but afterward, you forget all about it. Otherwise, there would never be a second baby.

    I was trying to compare it as an altered state of consciousness, like meditation or such, but I didn't mean EXACTLY like that. I've done some meditation, but alas, never achieved nirvana (but to tell you the truth, relaxation was actually the only goal.)

    I cannot speak for others, since I don't have their experience, but the state of mind that accompanies rejoicing can be a feeling that builds up slowly to the point of "outburst". Or, one can feel as cold as ice and it pretty much sneaks up on you and hammers you in the noggin. It can leave just as soon, or stick around a while. I remember feeling from time to time a very peaceful sort of aftermath, that there was nothing to worry about and that everything was perfectly clear and an overwhelming feeling of love from God. It didn't stick around as long as I would have liked it to, or I'd be a much calmer person than I am.

    And yes, sure some of those little girls were faking it. And some of them weren't, but I don't think there is any way for you or I to know or to judge what they have felt or not felt in their hearts and who was faking and who was genuine. But God knows.

    I shared my experiences not to validate anyone else's, but to say its actually possible for others to validly feel this kind of joy.

    Even a "fringer" like me, who according to some, has some pretty "goofy" ideas.

    He's not exactly a philosopher, but I kind of like this quote from another "king" (Elvis Presley!)

    "Don't make fun of what you can't understand, Son."

    I try to live by this motto, even if I never did like any of his silly movies.

    Stranger

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  163. Stranger,

    No intent to make fun of rejoicing. I am not saying that some people are validly reaching a state where they let go and rejoice.

    But you have to admit, there is a culture in that (IALC) church that fosters this, otherwise every church would have this phenomenon. You have to admit, that there are certain speakers who love to pump up the emotional volume to get these responses. You have to admit that certain songs are chosen , and often repeatedly sang in a row because some people like the emotional response the song is getting (I can think specifically of that little two verse number that is sang in both English and Finnish, "My wish is to praise God night and day...".) You have to admit this a contentious enough of an issue to have ripped LLL and other churches apart in the past?

    Also those women and girls who lose it at rock show will often times tell you that it felt like a religious experience, that they don't even remember there actions. Also a valid experience, yet we tear that experience apart with analysis, but have a similar experience in a church setting and it becomes off limits, blind faith, just accept it, you could not possibly understand, etc...

    God gave me an analytical mind, so I end up analyzing everything. It can be quite tedious, and I apologize for boring anybody out there readings my verbal diarrhea.

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  164. Its interesting to read others analogies regarding rejoicing. I also like to analize everything (Im the sibling with a backup plan for the backup plan, as my brother calls me) It can be a blessing or a curse :p

    I have mostly avoided it (outward displays from myself, being around it, as well as discussions) because I was uncomfortable with it, but after leaving the oalc, I have tried to leave that up to individuals. God knows whats in thier hearts. And mine.

    I am present to feel God in my heart and I focus on that connection and try to tune out things around me. (although someone throwing a chair would definately distract and concern me. I dont think of the Holy Spirit as violent or as causing actions in people that could jeapordize themselves, others and/or property.)

    I have not ever been able to "forget" myself enough to display outward actions of rejoicing when in public. However if I am alone anywhere (home, in nature) I will gladly fall to my knees, raise my arms, dance in circles or sway, and sing softly or loudly, rejoice and/or cry; whatever comes out.

    Maybe thats a difference in personal preference, personality, comfort level, religious upbringing etc. Im sure there are plenty of studies on the subject :)

    I remember reading one time, that if we took away consious and mental facility altering drugs, people would just spin in thier yards until they threw up.

    With some people its a need to feel that feeling, induced by whatever means (songs, drugs, sermans, fill in the blanks.) Maybe some feel its expected of them (I think its some of the Assemblies of God that require speaking in tongues) I guess only God knows for sure and I can only keep myself in check, with prayer.

    UL you picked up on a very important detail from oalc anon's post, that I overlooked. The "I have saved" Thank you for sharing your observations and thoughts with us here.

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  165. Oalc anon,

    LLL says that christians have the right to judge but the Bible says we don't have that right. So who is right? I pick the Bible.
    I believe that we have the right to judge for ourselves what we think is right for me and me alone.Romans chapter 14 is a good one to read. We are responsible for ourselves not everyone else.
    The Oalc claims that they teach All the teachings of Jesus but they only take "safe places"or "familiar places". This always made me uncomfortable.Is not the whole Bible safe? Things are just not congruent enough for me there. I will not say it is wrong for you to believe in that church and it's doctrine but I will say it is wrong for me. There is only one right church. Christ's Church. I believe you know this but you want to attach it to a building and a certain body of people. I don't feel from you that you can accept things any other way. I want to attach church to a body also but I want to attach it to Jesus and I want to follow him and him only. The true church is in your heart no matter where you are.
    Another thing I question is where does it say something in the Bible about the 3 testimonies needed to get to heaven? I asked this of another member but all they said was "I'm sure you would like to know". They said it with sarcasm and walked away. I did not want to read the place and sit and fault find. I wanted to really know. As a christian don't we want to help in any way possible to answer any questions and assist in faith? Or am I questioning things I should not? I question because it is for my faith and mine alone. It would be nice to know. Or will it be the same with you? (not said in sarcasm)

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  166. stranger in a strange land3/06/2007 06:30:00 AM

    Mr. Smith:

    It's nice we can have these conversations without any finger pointing, nastiness, name-calling, or disrespect.

    (P.S. I just want you to know, I have never thrown a chair ;)

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  167. Sunday in church I asked a dear brother about how it is preached that the "world hates" us. He told me to look in the book of John. So here it is.... John 15:18-19

    18"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

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  168. OALC Anon,

    note the word "If", it is "IF the world hates you...", then the verse goes on to give an explanation of why they do "If" they do.

    So how do you know the world hates you? That is a big "if".

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  169. stranger in a strange land3/06/2007 12:32:00 PM

    That reminds me of a conversation I recently had with my mom, about a recent family funeral.

    She noted a guy from "town" was there. It's kind of funny, but in that particular congregation, they don't really call someone an unbeliever, they say that they are someone from "town."

    Which really makes me wonder, does he really live in town, or out in the country somewhere?

    But I digress.

    She said during the funeral, he picked up a songbook, and seemed to be happily singing away with the rest of the congregation and all the family.

    And that he really seemed to be listening to the sermon as well.

    I replied, "Yeah, mom, that's great...maybe he was being fed by the service."

    Her reply was, "Well, maybe he was soaking up all he could so he could make fun of us later."

    I was a bit puzzled, and said, "Why do you have to jump to that conclusion? Why not think the best of people? Do you have to feel personally persecuted to feel like a believer?"

    If you want to see Christian persecution, you might want to talk to one of my African work colleagues, Tim, who had to leave his country with his family and live for several years in a refugee camp, because the Christians there were actually being martyred.

    No, its not fun to be thought odd. I know how that feels. I'm odd in the world and feel odd with the believers, too.

    But actual downright persecution is something else, indeed, and us kooky Finns probably have not had to face it yet.

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  170. OALC Anon, I do not hate you. I do not even dislike you. I love you as a fellow Christian. While we disagree about details, I am quite sure we both believe in Jesus Christ, and believe in his salvation. As sisters and brothers in faith, we are all members of the body of Christ. That is the one holy church, the church that is not a building, The church that does not speak in one tongue, but is the church that heals and nurtures and loves each of us, and is the church that lives in our hearts.

    I read that passage of John, and it speaks to me as well. Jesus has chosen many of us around the world to be his. I think we are all walking a path that is guided by the Holy Spirit, and in doing that we are satisfying a plan that has been laid for each of us. It isn't exactly the same for everyone, and I'm confident there is a reason for that. Someday I'll understand it.

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  171. oalc anon

    Why do you continue to duck the simple questions? Cvow, anon 5:02, and myself all have Q`s that you continue to ignore. Is that the way you want to represent yourself? Does it bother you that you find it so difficult to come up with a response? I hope I dont sound angry or demanding, because I am not. Im just a little frustrated thats all.

    By the way aolc anon It seems others have done their best to respond to your Q`s or do you disagree with that? I hope you dont stop visiting here out of fear that continuing to participate on this blog will create "doubts" because I (and I believe everyone else) really appreciate your presense here.
    God bless

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  172. In case you forgot the question (pasted form above), oalc anon--

    "If you happened to be wrong about your faith in the oalc, LLL, the elders, etc.. would you want to know that?"

    WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW? At this point, my guess is you're thinking "no". Can't say I really blame you. Realizing I was wrong to take those preachers words and that OALC doctrine as the Words of God all those years was a tough time in my life, to say the very least. But I am so thankful that I finally said "yes, Lord, I do want to know." I pray someday you'll have the faith in CHRIST (not ANY church or man) to say "yes" too...

    God's peace, love , blessings and TRUTH to you.

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  173. former oalc I already answered your question from above.

    "If you happened to be wrong about your faith in the oalc, LLL, the edlers, etc.. would you want to know that?"

    To answer this question above; I am NOT wrong about my faith! Like I wrote before it was my desire to try to awaken and bring back anyone that might be on the fence. We are the Firstborn Christians which is mentioned in several places in the Bible.

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  174. Oalc Anon, I don't question your faith, but I wonder if you've ever done any independant study on this issue of being the firstborn, and Laestadius being prophesied in Revelation... or have you assumed it to be true because you've been born into the OALC and that's what you've heard there.

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  175. oalc anon

    The question I had for you concerning if you wanted to know if your faith is wrong or not is a yes or a no question. That is why (scroll up to march 1 6:19)I specifically asked you to answer YES or NO! I then proceeded to predict that you would answer by saying "It isnt wrong!" If you cant answer this even to yourself, (with a yes or no) then the response would be no! I wonder if anyone else could figure out a way to ask this in a way that he/she could understand the question. :)

    ARRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!

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  176. Many Trails Home3/08/2007 09:52:00 PM

    Former member, I think you have really hit the nail on the head with your question. They are totally unable to answer the question, even to ask the question of themselves, maybe even to understand the question. Isn't it wild, that they can be so paralyzed with fear that they dare not even ask themselves such a question?
    Remember O said that one of the greatest sins is unbelief. If a person asks himself these questions, he risks "unbelief" so he therefore dare not think.
    I have this to say to O (after reading one of his earlier posts, I got rather temporarily pissed off that he pronounced me in "dead faith" . . . how dare he be so judgmental, self-righteous, etc.): You are right in this, that I do not have "living faith." In fact, I do not have any faith at all. I have "living certainty." When a person KNOWS that GOD IS, faith is no longer necessary. I feel sorry for you, living in such uncertainty that you have to rely on preachers, a canned petrified religion, and a preposterous belief that the "world hates you." You all need therapy, I swear.
    Don't worry about trying to "save my soul." Best that you should look after your own. And your soul, believe it or not, is fine, whatever your fears to the contrary. God loves you too, just as he loves me, unconditionally.
    Many blessings. MTH

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  177. JustAsIAm,
    you are on the right track. Keep doing what you are doing. Question and learn - and I guarantee it will not drive you away from Christ, it will draw you closer to Him. Thanks for your courage.. what you've written I could also have written many years ago. Welcome to the journey of hope and peace, and a life for Christ, who loves you. A love that is unending, a God who hears and answers prayer. No more doubts or fears, but totally trusting in His wonderful mercy and grace. You are worthy! God bless ya!

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  178. justasiam,

    I agree with norah. do not be afraid to ask, to want to learn more, and to want to know the truth.

    Read the Bible. In fact, one of the most helpful things I did was to use a site like www.biblegateway.com to investigate scripture. If a passage is not clear in the KJV, you can easily try another version, which will say the same thing in different words--the NLT is particularly readable, as is the NIV. But read the Bible, read it in context, and take small bites at a time.

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  179. Many Trails Home3/09/2007 04:59:00 PM

    JustAsIAm (I love your moniker): God bless you for your courage. You will not be either punished or disappointed. "Ask and it shall be given, knock and the door will be opened . . . " is absolutely true. First comes knowledge and release from fear. Then we start learning how to live what we know. Loving each other is the greatest gift we can give each other. Many blessings to you. MTH

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  180. oalc anon said:

    If I under these words with the teachings of LLL have awakened one unbeliever to testify those sins and believe and be free;
    then I have saved one soul.

    Since when did we gain the power to "save" a soul? I thought that was God's vocation.

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  181. post here please

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  182. oalc anon-

    would love to hear from you

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  183. JustasIam asked me to remove his/her message, which I did, although I thought it was honest, loving and well-written. Peace.

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  184. Thank you for this thread. I fell in love with someone from the IALC, who happened to be divorced. It was pretty short-lived, as he didn't "believe" in divorce, and was consumed with anxiety about our relationship and eventually cut off all contact with me. He couldn't get married again, and didn't believe in dating because it would lead to sex, which is wrong outside of marriage.

    It's heartbreaking, and since I never was allowed to see the "church" part of his life, I didn't understand it. I found this blog by accident, and WOW. Really enlightening. Thank you. I feel oddly better. Somehow it makes the hurt less - a bit - to understand how forcefully growing up in that church affected him and his behavior. So truly, deeply sad though.

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  185. Free sez: Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this blog. You dodged a bullet, my friend. Not dating because it might lead to sex is like not walking because it might lead to a triathlon. That would be an exhausting level of anxiety to live with.

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  186. I knew if I kept looking I would find more posts and discussions about the OALC. I am an ex-toot :) but by only a few months. I cannot begin to explain the burden that has been lifted off of me! YEAH!!! I AM FREE!!!! wooohoooo!! I am not a SINNER - I am a CHILD OF GOD!

    That just feels so good! - but watch this - I am going to get slammed by OALC members for doubting the "one true faith" I am seeking out a "feel good church" and need to repent of my sins and most defintiely go and talk to a preacher. As if praying and talking to God is not good enough.
    You have to back it up - with MAN!

    The preachers there are consulted for everthing - and I do mean everything! From how many kids to have to buying a house. Can someone at the OALC please tell me how the preachers have it in so good with God that they are able to answer you instantaneously? And why you would doubt that God would answer your prayers?

    My heart goes out to those left behind - they have no concept of how it feels to know God and feel safe and secure in a relationship with Him (my brother-in-law literally scoffed at this - how do you know God? he said) they are all "downcast and trodden" they are "beggars of Grace". And they have no clue what it means to KNOW GOD, but sure know how to be righteously humble.

    Laestadius has enabled the preacheres to turn holy scripture into legalistic man-made hypocrisy that forces memebers to rely on medication to obtain happiness.

    Their spirit's are broken.

    Ever noticed the women? My sister pointed this out to me - they all have long sorrowful looks. Scared eyes and a fearful demeanor. Their spirit is broken and I am just as "sad" for them as they are for me (for leaving). But that is why I left - the church drained me of who I was. I, too was so lonely there - so unloved by our great redeemer and Father that I hit the lowest point in my life ever. Then God picked me up and He said "I love you - come away with me and I will show you the light".

    I am amazed by so many others who have left and would love to hear from you...

    Please email me at:
    loddalafs@aol.com

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  187. I grew up in the IALC and I wanted to make a comment to the woman who dated a divorced man from the IALC who lived with a lot of guilt for being divorced and had much trepidation about dating again, feeling that it was a sin because it "might lead to sex." I, too, am divorced and grew up IALC, and still go to church there. My spouse was the one who left the marriage as he met someone else he decided he'd rather be with. My own family was very down on me for divorcing him as they thought I ought to wait for him to come back home. As it turned out, he did try to do just that eventually, but I no longer had any faith in that relationship. My sisters and my mother told me in no uncertain terms that I should never date because it might lead to sex, and I should not marry again because it would be adultery. (Even though we had a minister who was married to a divorced woman and they seemed to hold no grudges toward him and ALL these ladies have close friends who are divorced and remarried). I had other family members who told me they hoped I found someone and would marry again.


    Eventually I did meet someone that I wanted to date and our goal from the beginning was to try to build a life together even though we would not be able to marry and live together for several years. One sister shunned us completely. That hurt. When I told others from church about the shunning, they were incredulous that shunning still goes on in the IALC.

    I don't want to write too much that would reveal who I am, but I determined one thing. It really had nothing to do with our faith that made people react that way. There are emotionally healthy and emotionally unhealthy people everywhere. Sometimes emotionally unhealthy people use disapproval and the Bible to bully others. In my case, that one sibling has a lot of mental and emotional problems, as do many of my immediate family due to growing up with one parent who had addiction issues. Our family has the classic family structure of an alcoholic family, even though alcohol was not a factor, it was something else, something much more inciduous. My father, who only sporadically attended church, was a philanderer. My mother could have divorced him with the support of her family and most of the church, but she chose to hide his behavior and become co-dependent. There had to be a scapegoat for all this family ugliness, and unfortunately it was me as I was a very sensitive child and the second born, who often takes on the scapegoat role. I have had a lot of therapy to get over this. My sister who chooses to judge and wield her Bible as a weapon does so because it helps perpetuate this cycle. She has friends who are divorced and remarried who she treats like gold; but for me, it is something she can hold above my head to make me feel unworthy. This isn't just something that people in the IALC or OALC or LLC do; it's something people who are mentally unbalanced do, and its spiritual bullying.

    I recently met someone with a story like mine, so exactly like mine, that we couldn't believe it. The only difference is that I am IALC and she is Catholic, the largest church body in the world and who also tend to be conservative toward divorce and remarriage. Of course there are individual Catholics who believe in forgiveness of sins as there are IALC.

    I think perhaps it is likely that your friend was from an unhealthy family background. Someone he cared about was holding his divorce over his head to make him feel unworthy

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  188. Congratulations on breaking free, outtathere. You will find many people here to support you. Thank you for visiting and come back soon.

    To anonymous above, kiitos for sharing your perspective on spiritual bullying . . . it comes in all forms but certain environments really seem to nourish it. I do think we can grow "radar" to detect controlling behavior -- in order to avoid it in others and in ourselves.

    When I encounter people who enjoy thinking badly of others, I pity =them . . . and if possible, avoid them at all costs. Oprah would call such people "toxic." Sounds apt.

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  189. I also want to agree with Free who commented that you made a "lucky escape." This man was not capable of overcoming his family and sticking up for himself, and he would not have been able to stick up and cherish you had you tried to stick it out with him!

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  190. I had heard this site was on the web. Oh how the devil works in many ways to make people leave the true living christianity. The preachers are right to warn us not to bring the internet into a christian home.

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  191. I heard that the OALC is a church that teaches people to go against many of gods teachings and is run by man, not by god. Oh how the devil works in many ways to make people leave the true living christianity. God was right to warn us not to attend that church.

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  192. LLLreader sez: Just finished a book, ESCAPE, by Carolyn Jessop--her story about leaving the polygamous cult headed by Warren Jeffs. The women are conditioned to think the outside world is corrupt and evil. They believe they are doomed to hell if they leave. Their only salvation is through following the will of their husband and the church leaders. They marry very young, and their role is to have as many children as possible. Their dress and hair styles are strictly controlled. It is considered a sin to complain--they are admonished to "stay sweet". After Caroline left, she found it difficult to understand that she could just have fun with her kids without seeking the approval of the other cult members.

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