Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Women in the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church

The comments below were made at the wiki site: How to Leave the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church, a site which is regularly deleted by anonymous hackers, then restored by Wiki editors. It is now the first site one gets by googling the topic, no doubt because of this negative attention.

I went to the OALC for most of my childhood and after my confirmation (which I did for my grandparents) I was out of there. Now that I am 17 I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions of my life. If I ever run into members I get dirty looks. I'm from the west coast and I have honestly watched my sister (who is still a member) throw her life away. My parents did not want her to get married at age 18 but the preachers did. So now my sister has two kids and has no plans to stop having babies. Most of the kids there have little ambition on life. There main goals are graduate high school and go to work. No college. No nothing. I really view that church as a cult. Growing up in that religion never fit. Even at a young age I was questioning it. Why should ALL of my friends have to be from the church? Why can't I watch TV? Why can't I listen to music? I could never get real solid answers to any of these questions. I believe in God and love God but I WILL NOT believe that every one of my "worldly" friends and my relatives who have died that were not a member of the OALC church are in hell. That doesn't fly with me. Another thing that is ever present in that church is the RACISM. I have heard from so many different members that " BLACK IS THE CURSED RACE ". I strongly believe in equality among races.

Reply to 1991128x
On 09:29, 10 March 2009
1991128x said:
I thank God I got out of there. I really do. I can actually have a normal life instead of perform manual labor all day and come home to a wife and 13 children. I look at my friends who are still there and wish them nothing but the best. I have always believed that you should do what makes you happy and if they are happy with that lifestyle that is almost EXPECTED of them then good for them. When I left and I would run into OALC members out in the big bad "world" I'd get a great big condensing talk about how I'm "LOST" and "CONFUSED". Oh I can also remember my grandmother saying one time that a woman had spoken out about leaving the church and died in a car accident a few months later. She said "Isn't it funny how God takes care of everything?" I don't think it's that "funny". I can say FROM EXPERIENCE that the OALC I attended was overflowing with the most hypocritical, judgmental, and close minded people I have ever met. If you want to leave this CULT. GO. My best advice would be to just ride out. Get far far far far far far away and live your own life according to you. 
Reply to 1991128x
On 20:16, 10 March 2009
Ledastray said:
Thank you so much for the above comments - having other people feeling the wrongs of the OALC keep me encouraged that I am doing the right thing. Some friends have been to talk with me and expressed their "worry" for me - I simply said if I want to feel closer to God and that I feel that is missing in the OALC how is THAT WRONG? No answer. The biggest problem I am having at this point is that I do have 6 wonderful kids who are caught in the middle. I have spent a lot of time talking with them (the younger 3 will be ok due to age) and one of my kids said "but mom if you want to go somewhere else - that is Dead Faith" - woa. I asekd her if she knew what that meant. And she said.......no. See? It is all about the church having ALL the answers you need. Just don't ASK any questions. And if you do - that is the devil causing doubts and you are being disobedient and going to hell. Unless you ask forgiveness - to other men - not God. Members will tell you "how can you confess to God - he already knows what you did." It's not confessing simpletons - it's REPENTING. My heart is breaking over the lies I feel that I have been told there. I want to know God's love - and get to heaven any way I can. That is what we are all trying to do. Just get to heaven. How is that wrong? Because I am not at the OALC church? If I sit there with a bitter heart because I know that I am missing something - how is that RIGHT?

Reply to Ledastray
On 00:31, 16 March 2009
71.10.71.33 said:
I pray for those of you trying to leave the church. I work in a community of predominately OALC members, and it breaks my heart that these children mainly the girls are taught that being a mom is the only thing for them to do. Yes being a mom is one of the best things about being a woman, but there are so many other things you can do as a woman too. Also there is more for men to do than trades work, in todays economy everyone needs to be educated because trades work in not going to always put food on the table especially tables with 6 or more kids and a mom who is not allowed to work. I pray for all the famalies but especially the children and the women that they will somehow come to know what they CAN do!!
So those looking at leaving, find a "worldly" you can trust and they will help you!! God will help you.

Reply to 71.10.71.33
On 22:43, 16 March 2009
Ledastray said:
Thank you for your input - it is very enouraging to everyone who reads this but is too scared to comment. I have been fretting over what you stated above - the teachings that my little girls are learning - that you are ONLY a woman. I don't want them to grow up and experience the emptiness I have. There are so many unspoken "rules" that degrade, belittle and supress women. As well as those that are preached. We are never asked to join in a discussion if and when a Bible is brought out. We are not allowed to attend the business meetings at the church (which by the way are held on SUNDAY)and if a vote of hands is asked for in church? Your husband will raise his for you. A womans work is in the kitchen with 10 kids under her feet. I have heard men boast that they have never changed a diaper. Women are made to feel SO unworthy. But then they will tell you that is how you SHOULD feel - "we are nothing" they say and say again. If you feel this way, then that is a good thing because then you are not full of sin. (Just medicated because of depression).

153 comments:

  1. I understand what you are saying and feeling. It has been over 20 years for me and I still feel such anger at the injustices of the OALC! Most likely because I still have family there and hear the same old stuff all of the time. The brainwashing starts at such an early age and it hurts to have little children tell you you are going to hell for not going to OALC; they start out with that hatred. I am so happy I have found exactly for myself what the OALC was claiming they were. I pray for the same for you!

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    1. You really need to pray for yourselve! You know OALC is what is right. They are the friendliest people i have ever met.

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    2. You really need to pray for yourselve! You know OALC is what is right. They are the friendliest people i have ever met.

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    3. You are hypocrites! I work with a business who will only hire people within their church to be staff employees. This is against Federal laws......get with the times OALC.......and thank GOD their are people leaving the church who are not being fooled by the dogma........

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  2. I pray that you will let go of the anger and replace it with a constructive emotion, compassion would be an example, otherwise you are allowing them to have control over you. That is not to say it is easy to do. Twenty years is a long time...

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  3. From Læstadianism and Its Role in the Loss of

    the Traditional Sámi Worldview



    One final effect that Laestadianism had on the Sámi that is worth mentioning is the increased subjugation of women. In the traditional worldview, Sámi women had enjoyed a status on relatively equal footing with the men, sometimes even holding superior positions in the hierarchy. For example, in a traditional reindeer-herding siida, it was the female elder who was responsible for keeping the traditions, making reindeer breeding decisions, and serving as the final authority regarding marriage choices. [67] Under Laestadian Christian views, however, women took a more subservient role, with the common attitude that women should be men’s servants being transmitted from fathers to daughters. [68]

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    1. Hi you forgot the most important thing in your text here. The sami people where adicted to alcohol when LLL came into their lives. Whithout Chritianity they would have lost their tradition in an other way, and also their eternal lives. The Christianity saved our lives. We still can have our own language, our own culture. There are only a few reindeer laps, and a few of them come to church. Most of the sami people are workers, like fishermans, accounting, doctors, lawyer, and other things. The Christianity gave the sami people proudness and respect back.
      I wonder why you have to do all this writing if you dont beleve the Christianity? It might be your conscience. Hopfully you wake up one day.

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    2. Thank you for writing, Anonymous (please give yourself a nickname, ok?).

      I agree that LLL was instrumental in combating alcoholism, preserving the language, and elevating pride among the Sami. There are many positive things about LLL's work, but that does not cancel the negative. His ethnic pride was helpful, but his tribalism can no longer benefit humanity or our planet. What was necessary to survive colonialism is now hurting our own people, me included. Perhaps we younger Sami descendants can help Laestadianism develop to accept differences among our own without casting them out, without making enemies of its own children, and stunting their humanity in this life for an imaginary reward in the next one.

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    3. Reply to Anon 11:39: PM
      Is your conscience causing you to write to pay penance for something wrong that you have done? How can you know what the fate of the Sami people would have been? Do you have the gift of seeing the past, present and future? I thought that God was the only one who had the ability to see such things with certainty. When you compare yourself with him, directly or indirectly, you are committing blasphemy, so hopefully you wake up one day and your conscience directs you to repent of the worst, and most unforgivable sin of all, according to YOUR word of God.
      -Pebbles

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  4. Thank you for the opportunity to learn about the OALC. I grew up in Battle Ground, WA, graduating from BGHS in the 70's. From grade school (Glenwood Heights Elem), I had OALC classmates. When some of the OALC girls would come over to visit, they were glued to the TV, which my sibs and I found boring. I loved going to their homes because as a baby lover, there was always a baby for me to hold. We lived in the country and preferred to be outdoors on a nice day. In high school, the OALC boys were the stars of the football, b-ball, and baseball teams. I was shocked when my sister who lives in BG told me that they no longer play sports. Shocking! I had a mad crush on one blond OALC boy, as did one of my sisters. We are Norwegian and Irish, but there was not a hint of OALC in our family. I went to dances with this OALC boy but don't know if his parents were aware. I considered marriage with an OALC-er but just knew that it was too extreme. I LOVE and ADORE children and at one time wanted twelve, but wanted to go to college and pursue other interests as well. After reading this blog, I thank God that I never felt at ease with this boy. There was always something about him that made me feel uncomfortable. Thankfully!! As it turns out, I went to WSU, moved to LA, met my African-American husband (29 years ago), and had four gorgeous, gifted, wonderful children. We relocated to Seattle 23 years ago and are living a full life traveling, investing, etc. What a different, narrow life I would have had as the wife of an OALC-er! Scary!
    Yet, as much as I love my husband, children, and extended family, my Lord and my God is first place in my life. As a Christian, I find it hard to believe that a group like the OALC could think that all other Christians are lost. Doesn't the Bible say that they will know us by our love and that selfish-ambition and pride are ungodly? To be sure, there are loving, outgoing OALC-er's, but the official doctrine seems to be one of keep to yourself, don't reach out to others, etc. My mother has told me for a couple of years now about this amazing OALC woman with 16 kids who left the church rather than bow down to anyone but God. I was so pleased to find her name, Marian Halberg. She sounds like she was a strong, amazing, devoted, LOVING, Godly woman. Thank you for sharing this blog. God Bless you all!

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    1. She was the one who died in the car accident after speaking out about the church. God took her early because he had a better place for her, its hard to deal with life after leaving the church.

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    2. I knew Marian well. She struggled with the pain of rejection by her friends and family in the OALC. I believe God took her as a reward for her obedience to him. She got to go home! She loved the lord, and helped me cope with leaving the ALC myself.

      God bless all of you who have had to face the same difficulties of leaving a relgion that controls your thoughts and actions. There is life, faith, and peace in God outside of the ALC or OALC...I know that! But it's very hard to deal with the loss of a strong support system and family approval.

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    3. Coincidentally, She died in terrible car crash shortly after..

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    4. Marian was my aunt, and I am pretty sure we can't speculate why she was taken suddenly. So stop it.

      And for those of you who think it was some kind of punishment, shame on your arrogance.

      HH

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    5. Her kids did NOT leave the church. SHE did and died in a terrible car crash shortly after.

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    6. To say that someone died because they left a cult/church
      makes me think that maybe someone KILLED her! I say cult because one of the definition is as follows: "A misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing" and more! I believe in GOD, but she lives in everything around us....the food we eat to the animals in the forest. Religion became about to help control people that didn't know consequences of their excessive lives...drinking, sex and even murder.
      "Do onto other as you'd want done to you" ladies...and the world might be a little more peaceful!

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  5. I have to say, there are a few Laestadian men that treat their wives with respect and help them out around the house. I haven't seen many, but I have seen a few. I'm thankful that I'm no longer a laestadian. I don't dare cry around my family much (even at funerals), because I feel like they'll say "your just upset because your don't have the keys to the kingdom of heaven". There are alot of things I don't dare do around my family because of what they'll say. In fact, I could go without seeing them for years, and not miss them. (not my parents and siblings, but cousins/aunts/uncles). It's sad, but they truly believe that I'm goign to hell..it wouldn't matter what I said, I will never convince them otherwise...it's so sad.

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  6. Yes, 20 years is a long time. However, I do feel I have a right to be angry. Everytime I hear a story about the little girls and boys who are subject to the sexual advances of adult "Christians" and it is covered up by the preachers under the guise of "forgiveness"; a wife beaten by her husband only to be told by the preachers to try harder to please him; the hundreds upon hundreds of families with too many children living on our welfare system and in deplorable conditions who are influenced by OALC repress higher aspirations and a better life which they could have achieved had their further education or enlightenment not been discouraged by OALC elders; girls and women being told to cover up to their wrists to be decent even in extremely hot temps; etc. The injustices in the OALC towards women and children are many and all under the guise of getting into the Kingdom of Heaven. People are afraid to leave, they have been programmed to be afraid to leave. You are right! I am angry! How can you not be? I am no longer an OALC member and have learned that I am entitled to my feelings and emotions. I believe you can only move so far away from OALC when you still have family involved. ~~ I am very fortunate. I have a loving husband and a life filled with loving family and friends. I am a joyful, happy person, a good part of which I attribute to the welcoming and supportive Church family to which I now belong.

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    1. Hi! We have the same problems with this in Finland :"I hear a story about the little girls and boys who are subject to the sexual advances of adult "Christians" and it is covered up by the preachers under the guise of "forgiveness"
      http://yle.fi/uutiset/conservative_laestadians_confirm_pedophile_suspicions/5339236

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    2. I'm so sad reading these true feelings of the church. When I was 16 I was raped by a man from.the OAP church. With child I was told by preachers that I was asking for it. The man who was born into the church (I was not) denied the whole thing. Blamed it on others and told me I was a slot anyway. Even after taking him to court to pay suport he still tried not to pay because it was my fault. He married and even his wife who knew the truth tried to get him not to pay. Pay! That man should of been in jail. I have tried to keep my child ( his ) away from the teachings of that church but now sadly she is married into it.The man ? Well I hear he is studying to be a preacher. God help us and God help them

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    3. you don't STUDY to be a preacher, that's ridiculous.

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    4. THAT'S your takeaway from this?

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  7. There isn't anything wrong with being angry. Jesus got angry. It just depends on what you do with that anger. Do you let it fester and grow into bitterness, or do you learn to forgive and let it go.

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  8. LLLreader to 20 years: When I express my anger about an issue and someone tells me to "get over it"--it just doesn't sit right with me. Anger over the kind of injustice you are talking about is a healthy reaction. You don't have to defend it--I'm with you--some situations you can let go of--and others demand that you stay enraged.

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  9. Its ok to be angry. BUT it would be easier to live without anger, wouldn´t it?

    I´m laestadian and i have tv, sometimes i go to see a movie, i have 2 kids(after 10 years of marriage)...

    i respect my wife and love my life. I think it´s not very wise to think that "laestadian belief" is the cause of all mistakes we make in our lives.( sorry my bad english i´m a finnish guy..:)

    Ioannis

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  10. What branch of Laestadian are you? I have never heard of any that are allowed to watch tv/movies. Around here if someone had been married for 10 years with "only" 2 kids, people would talk like "I wonder if they'll have more? Is there something wrong with her?"....

    The laestadian church you are in must be different than the one they are talking about...

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    1. In Finland there is going on a change of some kind inside the SRK/Conservative Laestadian movement. There are lot of discussions in the net and many true Laestadian couples say that they accept birth control. Personally they do not speak to each others in the local congragation, but they use contraception secretly:

      "Laestadian Women Resist Big Family Pressure and Criticize the Ban on Contraception"

      http://freepathways.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/laestadian-women/

      Nearly all members of the Conservative Laestadian congragation watch tv through Internet, even preachers. They often like to talk in informal situations about the programmes they have seen.

      "Left after 25 years"

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  11. LLLreader again: The OALC in Brush Prairie must be light years away from the Laestadian Church loannis attends in Finland. If he is reading past posts on this blog, he will be aware of the differences. I always think it's a slippery slope when one tells another how to feel. The person who wrote about her rage at some issues within the OALC has a family, a church, a good life! If she were consumed by her anger and was unable to move forward, that would be a different matter. I had a OALC member tell me about having no anger about a horrible injustice that had happened to his child. While he was talking, his fists were clenched, a vain was throbbing in his temple and he was chewing his lip. He apparently felt that being ticked off was not acceptable. So, some guilt on top of suppressed anger--a coronary waiting to happen!

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  12. This is Free. Thanks for the interesting posts.

    Think about this: anger is seen as very unfeminine, more unfeminine than depression . . . or "longsuffering." Why? Because it is highly-motivating. Anger makes you want to change the circumstances that make you angry, to upset the apple cart, to change the status quo. Maybe to leave or start anew.

    If you are unable -- for whatever reason -- to change your circumstances, you can become withdrawn, passive and depressed.

    Depression is anger turned inward.

    I highly recommend"The Optimistic Child" which explore these issues, and has greatly helped in my parenting. I can more easily allow myself and my family to experience anger without fear, and to let it motivate change.

    If dogs and mice can be trained to become depressed, simply by withholding rewards for effort, imagine what a lifetime of being told "don't question, just believe" can do to a person. I knew a woman who had a lifetime of so-called Christian submission and undiagnosed depression. When she finally started treatment, all that repressed rage was too much to bear. She took her own life.

    On her behalf and all the people suffering silently so as not to upset anybody, please, go ahead. Be angry.

    Then do something constructive with it. Let it change you. If you are angry at the church, help someone who is suffering within it. Be what they can't be, in their captive passivity: be open to change. You have nothing to lose!

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  13. Ioannis didn't say what branch he belongs, but he could be very well be from the OALC. There are a lot of people like him in the OALC in Finland. I think the biggest difference to the American OALC is the variety in beliefs and ways of life. It has caused a number of conflicts in the Finnish OALC over the last few decades, but without causing an open split. By the way, if any of you watched the documentary about a group of Finnish OALC Laestadians mentioned in another thread, you might have got an idea. The people in that documentary were quite different from typical American oalcers, including the preachers. However, if you watched the documentary, don't make too far reaching conclusions on the Finnish OALC. As I said, there is a big variety within that group, and you will find a lot of people whose beliefs and ways of life are perfectly consistent with the typical beliefs and way of life of an American oalcers. The people the documentary was about are just one extremity of the Finnish OALC, but the point is that such people do co-exist with other kinds of people within the Finnish OALC. The co-existence is not always so peaceful, but many people seem to be quite ok with it.

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  14. Hibernatus, I find your comments very fascinating. I had always assumed the OALC everywhere is the same, with a few regional idiosyncrasies thrown in just to make it more colorful. Why, then, do the missionaries from Swedish Lapland come every 3-4 years to make sure "We are all of one mind"? And, why don't the US congregations know about all those differences? Or doesn't it matter?
    SISU

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  15. That is very interesting! I always thought they were the exact same between countries too. I wonder if the LLC in Finland is alot different from the LLC in the us/canada? It would be interesting to find out! I find it a little strange that the OALC would be able to stay together with all the different beliefs because rules are so stressed in the laestadian religion. If that happened here, I think there would be a break because the stricter ones would not stand for others "sinning". ..just a thought

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    1. LLC of Finland are alot different from the ones in Canada and the US. First of all they have progressed I have found where the OALC of CAN/US are stuck in legalisium big time. I got divorced not my choice I was left and was told that I would go to Hell if I ever remarried, yet when the preacher's daughter had an affair with a married man and had his child, but married a OALC man all was good, how is that right? A preacher from Finland came and told me that I have every right to remarry since my ex committed adultery and left, I was told I was not bound. When I relayed that conversation with the preacher who told me I was doomed to hell if I ever considered it, I was told I made it up what the Finnish minister told me. I find the OALC men are chauvonistic, the women think only having babies is their role in life,they are don't like blacks, and they don't like women to speak up, they are never allowed in minister's meetings. I was told by one friend who's husband had numerous affairs on her and he spoke up at one of the minister's meetings in Michigan that it is not the wife's fault that men cheat, but alot of the other ministers said it was the women fault that men cheat because they dress inappropriately. It is always the woman's fault if the man strays or beats them, they never take responsibilities for their bad behaviour. I was counselled by a christian woman who asked me how the OALC works and I explained it and was told that is how a cult is run, I believe it now after leaving this legalism ridden church. More women from the OALC have hurt me who call themselves christians then anywhere else I have gone. They are hypercrites, they act good in church, but outside of the church walls they do as they please. Men who run big companies and don't pay their workers, but spend it on thier families instead and when confronted say business and church are separate, but how as a christian man or woman can you justify being mean or dishonest outside of church? I am glad my Mother didn't raise me to believe that this is the only way to heaven in this church, she tried for yrs to change them, but they are so stubborn it never worked. I was lead by God to another church that preaches the truth, loves people and women are treated with respect. I have a mind that God gave me and I will not be harassed or bullied into believing their sick and distorted ways are the only way to heaven it is not. They inter marry cousins in Canada and alot of them are related so closely that any mental issues are bound to repeat itself and there is alot of mental issues among them. I am afraid nothing will change them till they see the light and God speaks to them, they are a stubborn bunch.

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    2. I am glad that I found a wonderful man now and have my 2 babies, that is enough, and found peace and love in another church and I can work if I want to outside the home to help my husband with the finances, life after the OLAC is so much better. Just wanted to add a bright note to my former blog.

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  16. The differences between the American OALC church and the European church have always existed. For some reason, the Americans seem to be completely focused on what you can or cannot do rather than on the important things. Close to 50 years ago, during a mission trip to the US, William Erickson was asked by some of the American OALCers whether it wasn't a sin to have pictures. William had replied that he certainly hoped not, since he carried several with him at all times. I've heard that Gunnar Jonsson had an organ in his home and could play. That of course would have put any American OALCer straightaway on the slippery slope to hell. I also remember some of the young people from Finland, Sweden, and Norway coming to the US during the mission trips, with some of the young ladies having short, curled hair, and all of them having a pretty casual outlook on what the Americans do not hesitate to label as sin.

    In many places in the US, it seems there are almost blatant contests as to who is the most pious. If they had their way, I'm not at all sure that burning at the stake and other inquisitional and puritanical tactics would be out of the question.

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  17. Lllreader agrees with cvow: I visited a Lastadian friend this weekend who frequently, because of work, travels back and forth between Finland and US. He said he no longer attends church in the US because they have lost the "spirit of the church" and have replaced it with "superficial" thinking. That's one man's opinion.

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  18. The women in the OALC have worst then the men because they have to look the part with dress,hair, no makeup , earrings. The men pretty much blend into the people outside of the church. The women seem to have depression more bc they stay home with 10 kids and have no outlet.

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    1. WOMEN ARE EXPECTED TO BE BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT ALL THE TIME.
      Leaving the cult is putting one foot in front of the other and ask for help from a non OALC cult church. nearly all will help you find a way to cope. I know, been there.

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  19. I am so glad to leave this garbage behind. I was raised in the FALC and remember how emotional it was for me to leave. When I was in the process of leaving, the issues I had with leaving this way of life behind consumed me. I thought I would never be able to move on. Over time, its true you do find good people in the world. You just have to open your mind and let the past go. It is fun to read the site every so often to imagine how my life could have been if I had chosen that route. I feel blessed that I am free of the burdens that religion puts on people and am free to live my life as god thinks I should, not as a group of people think I should. Today, I am a working mom of 2. It is because of how I was raised that I chose a career, and I would work even if I didn't need to. It's fulfilling to have something more to your life than being a wife and mother. While growing up, for some reason, it repulsed me to see many of the women surrounded by so many children. I always felt like they were trapped and I felt like they were all the same, and I wanted to be different. I wanted to be an individual. It seemed to me that deep inside many of them had children to fill a void in their lives. As a woman, I know that women do feel a motherly instinct and have a deep desire to have kids, but that mothering instinct is fulfilled with 1 child. Also, women have a desire to feel beautiful. It's hard to feel beautiful when you can't wear makeup or jewelry and you have kids pulling at you from every direction and you're pregnant much of the time. Just my thoughts...

    EX-FALC FOREVER

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  20. EX-FALC - I agree with you completely! I feel a little trapped at times having only 1 child, I cannot imagine how trapped I would feel if I had 10! And to support and love all those kids? I understand now why my Mother didn't have much patience with us. I wouldn't have any patience if I was here either! But I didn't understand it when I was younger, and that's not fair! It's not fair to have so many kids that you don't have enough love and patience to give them all what they need. I know some people that can do it, but there are some that can't. I know I couldn't, and that is why I won't have lots of children...It sure is nice to be able to make that choice! I agree about the feeling beautiful part. I felt beautiful for part of while I was pregnant, until I started getting swollen face and hands...what a life, to be preggo all the time!

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  21. Ladies, I'm in your corner! I think I would have gone bonkers if I'd stayed in the OALC and had a ton of kids. I had three, and that was a strain, even though I loved them dearly and enjoyed being a mommy. One part of me felt trapped and terrified. I returned to work for over ten years and got that out of my system!

    I visited a relative last year who has 7 kids under the age of 10. One beautiful little girl looked so sad and lost. I wanted to take her with me. Her mom said she just doesn't have the time, with a new baby taking so much energy and all. I'm not coming down on the mom. She was doing more than required, WAY above and beyond when it comes to guests plus her family. It's the culture and it's just not right.

    A preacher in the OALC said recently that young men should get an education and not marry so young. They need to be able to support their families properly. Talk about a sit-up-and-take-notice moment!

    So, times they are a-changing.

    SISU

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  22. All forms of religion are a brainwash. Just because some of you got out of OALC doesn't mean you are free, it's just an illusion. Do not mistake your pseudo freedom to be absolute freedom.
    Don't get me wrong, you have made the right choices and are half way through to finding the truth which is a great achievement. But the truth lies beyond religion, beyond heaven and hell, you have to just go that extra mile to find out.
    You have to kill every little flake of hipocrisy and guilt in your system to be actually "FREE".

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  23. Times COULD be changing as the education comment was made by a much younger preacher BUT the Older preachers are still having their say....

    NEW OALC RULES

    1. You should not go to warm climate places for vacation as it excites the flesh.

    2. You should not tell your friends about any vacations that you do take as that is boasing and causes jealousy.

    3. You should not exercise at places where they play music.

    4. You should avoid restaurants that play music - Red Robin was mentioned in particular.

    5. Kids should not use the words "hang out" anymore - they need to say "gather".

    That last one got me so riled up! I was aleady on my way out of the church and that validated my decision 100% - All I could think is "NOW they are telling us how to TALK!?" No thanks!

    Here are some other silently enforced rules made up by the congregation:

    1. Men eat first. Every meal, every time. Then the women get thier plate and help the kids with thiers.

    2. Women are not usually invited in to discuss the Bible when it's brought out (i.e. other people's homes when visiting)

    3. If a boy and girl sit together at church that means they're engaged or married.

    4. When you clean the church building (people volunteer) the women should wear thier skirts.

    There's more where this came from - please ask!

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  24. Thanks Otta--I had forgotten some of that stuff--please continue.

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  25. older-understanding one5/18/2009 10:37:00 AM

    I wish every OALC member could read a list of well-known and unwritten rules and then see for themselves how absurd the whole thing is. Being a former member, I challenge any OALC member to deny these rules. Better yet, maybe you could help us out and tell us what else is preached against? You women out there... there is actually a life out there that gives you freedom! Freedom not to commit "sin," but to not be pregnant every year and live as second-rate people. Examine these rules and ask yourself if you like it.
    There is a reason the preachers warn the congregation of these internet sites. They are afraid of the truth.
    One other thing to OALC people- dont think it is the norm for people to leave the OALC and become politically liberal. Despite what you read on this blog, the Christian faith holds life sacred, so abortion IS wrong. God's word is perfectly written for us to understand that homosexuality is also wrong. Just needed to throw that out there, no offense to others.

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  26. I haven't seen any studies that follow ex-Laestadians to see what their religious and political affiliation turns out to be 5 years after leaving, 10 years after leaving, etc.

    Based only on people I know in real life, I would tend to agree with older-understanding. Most ex-Laestadians I know are conservative evangelicals of one stripe or another.

    I disagree with older-understanding's claims of easy clarity, however. I've found that the more you learn about the Bible, and the more closely and attentively you read it, you find that it is more difficult to so glibly force it to justify one side or the other on the current controversy of the day.

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  27. Older-understanding..I'm glad you said that about not being the norm to leave the OALC and becoming politically liberal. If nothing else comes from this discussion it's this - you will still be the same person, you just won't have someone micromanaging every detail of your life. You can trust yourself to make the right decisions for yourself. (as many may know I'm in the ALC, a very small rural congregation).. I would NOT like someone telling me what careers are correct, where I should go on vacation, avoid restaurants that play music -?? (anyone go grocery shopping lately?).. women not allowed to participate in Bible studies? These things aren't right at all. I'd like to see someone tell me these things are wrong, and my husband would be more vehement than I would be.. it would not be pretty. And otherwise, I'm about as conservative as you can get. :)

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    1. women are allowed to participate in bible studies, both in sweden and america. don't know where people get everything from..!

      Delete
  28. Thinking now about only the ex-Laestadians that I know among friends and extended family, the biggest predictor of liberalism seems to be educational attainment in the social sciences or humanities.

    Interestingly I know a number of ex-Laestadians with advanced degrees in engineering and science, and they are quite conservative.

    I would have thought that science would pose a bigger challenge to traditional views than the humanities, but at least in my non-scientific sample, it just ain't so!

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  29. I was born an raised as a oal... I left the church 3 years ago and I couldnt be happier with my 5 babies.... I am now engaged to a very awesome man that treats us awesome and actually likes to be with us an he helps me around the house n with the kids unlike some of the other male members of the oalc.... Yes its hard cause 8 of my 9 siblings still attend and my little family is looked down on... It isnt that hard till the holidays come cause like at Christmas they all got together and my 6 year old daughter got shit from her cousins cause she has her ears periced... I told her to tell them that if they didnt like it then to not look cause she likes them and I like them and thats all that matters!

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  30. nag1985 https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Ex-OAL-support-group/336138439743746 I just made an Ex OAL support group online so feel free to comment and help out also! thanks a bunch

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. If you were being taught that a woman can only stay home and have babies and be mom, that is sad, but I don't believe that the church was teaching you that. I was taught and heard preach that women and men both should go to college if that is what they want. Also I know many families where it is the woman that is working and not the man and I know several where both the wife and her husband are working.
    Outtathere, I read your "RULES" list and I can say where I live, the only ones on your list that are normal is the male and female sitting together in church, but that is not a rule, it is just what people assume. Women should wear a skirt when in God's house, but not everyone does that I know some who wear pants to clean on Wednesday night when there isn't church. my friends always say "hang out". we always talk about our vacations. warm climate places? ummm...I've never heard that. avoid restaurants that play music? never heard that either, if everyone would do that, the only place to eat is McD's,I've been taught not to go to restaurants that you don't feel comfortable going to. I've never been to a gathering where the women weren't allowed to discuss the bible, in fact, in many of them more women discussed than the men. as far as the rule that men eat first, that is just how most people do it, it is no rule, in fact many places I go, the men say, "No, you women eat first" and many women have their kids or husbands help the younger kids get there food because the women cooked,so it is only fair to have the husbands help the kids.

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    1. Sally, I think I might know you, and if you are who I think you are you're a great person.
      Although I'm with you, I never heard anyone directly say women should stay home, unless they were joking, but you have to know that it's strongly implied. Just like many of the other "rules" that aren't really rules, but actually are. Think about it, be honest. Even though nobody openly preaches that men are above women, they are still the "head of the household." There are definite gender roles. The men are NEVER in the kitchen at functions, unless there is a BBQ, because that's a manly task. At gatherings, even the little girls are bussing tables, helping with dishes, while the boys are running around messing. Hmmm.
      -Pebbles

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    2. Sally is right. You're wrong about the rules, my dad for example is always in the kitchen. my sister's husband cleans the toilets, the house, babysits and she's working. you're allowed to do what suits your family, your wishes and your situation best. of course when the babies are newborn it's easier if the mom's home cus she can breastfeed, and the man can't.
      and men are NOT above women. my brothers helps as much as us girls at home, we do what we're best at. i build somethings cus i'm good at it and so on. and it's like that at EVERY family i know - which is a LOT.
      men are head of the household, that doesn't mean he is more worth or better. it says in the bible that the man should love his wife, and that means a lot of things. so he can't just rule her and make her do whatever. his role is to make her happy, as her role is to make him happy! every human is equal to god!

      Delete
  33. im not a member of the OALC but i know alot about it and it is nothing that u guys have said.

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    1. Anon, one of the themes of this blog (at least as I have seen it), is the value of information to overcome groupthink and uninformed indoctrination. Almost without exception, the people who post and comment here are interested in the truth, wherever it leads. So, I ask with complete sincerity, please fill us in about what you know. If women are living better lives in the OALC than has previously been the case, or than has been thought by commenters here, that would be great!

      Delete
  34. I admire the simpler manner of living, the traditional family values, the supportive structures in place especially the devout, Godly women, I think it's sad to hear of doctrinal issues and bad politics, and members that don't properly represent the faith...all denominations suffer from the same thing.

    I can tell you as a devout Christian from an outside denomination, the gals that are part of that church are a cut far above these worldly gals I run into by light years. I could only dream of having a Godly, supportive, devout Christian woman as my wife, one that also desires a big family as well.

    These guys do have some things right, but it's a matter of perspective, weather you think it's positive or not.

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  35. Im a guy that attends the OALC and I believe woman should attend college and constantly advise them to do so. I am not racist yet I will admit it is prevalent. Also, many of those "rules" are rediculous. I cant even comprehend who you have associated with to get those strange perceptions. The only thing I can understand is dressed properly in the house of God but that is simply advising and I have never seen anybody corrected on poor dress.

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  36. Thanks for posting, OALC guy. Please give yourself a nickname, ok?

    I appreciate that not everybody in the OALC considers the "advising" as "rules," especially where dress is concerned. Also, it is possible that things vary depending on locality. Do women in your congregation wear pants to church? Do they wear them outside of church? Just curious.
    —Free

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  37. I met a woman around 2001 in Mt. She was a member of the oalc. We started to date casually i went to her church a couple of times and received nothing but dirty looks and cold shoulders. After about 6 months of just spending time with this woman i really feel in love like i never have before or again. But her elders spoke with her and she was going to hell if she continued the path that her and i were on so she chose her faith and family and soul over me, not a bad choice i couldn't blame her for it so i let her go.. I still 10 years later think of her very often and still have a love for her. But the church controled her life to the point that i belive 2 people will never be happy..

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  38. Anonymous said, "But the church controled her life to the point that i belive 2 people will never be happy." You might want to be thankful it ended when, "she chose her faith and family and soul over me", because the, "dirty looks and cold shoulders" you felt were only an introduction to what life would have been like had you married her. You would NEVER have been really accepted. Having grown up in this stuff I would guess that there probably are another 1000 subtle and hidden rules/norms/statutes/beliefs/precepts that exist which you did not know about as they are 'understood' versus written. One basically grows up learning them in a Laestadian home versus an outsider who would just have to figure them out. Apostolic Lutherans/Laestadians exist in the secular world with regards to work and general living but beyond that their total existence is essentially within the realms and social circles of the church and all of its rules. Most of us ex-members can empathize with your plight but unlike your ex-girlfriend we chose not to follow the 'elders', nor the faith or perhaps better said, the doctrine and dogma of the church, and in many cases we went against the will of our families, all so that we could have religious and personal freedom. Lost loves can be painful but the personal pain would have been a lot worse if you had kept pursuing her. Old AP

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    1. Well said as always, Old AP.

      Delete
    2. Im sure you are correct old AP it would have never worked in her world. she and i both knew that i wouldn't be excepted. But i guess a part of me kinda thought she would leave and come to my world ( selfish im sure) i was from and lived in a different state where there are not many if any OALC's around. I never really pushed the issue to hard about her leaving the church to be with me but it was brought up many times from her , it seemed she really wanted to leave but never had the courage to do so. So it ended the way it shouldn't have and we haven't even spoke for some time... Mike

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    3. mike: OALC's are happy when guests are coming to church and many looks might have been curiosity about who you are etc. My cousin is married to a girl that's not OALC and she's SO happy. She says that everyone is SO nice and she's never alone. She has many OALC friends and no one's judging her. We want everyone to get to experience what we have though, we are the happiest of the happiest.

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  39. Mike, I have seen cases where an Apostolic Lutheran man/woman has married an outsider and the outsider began to attend the church but the outsider never really integrates themselves into the culture as it is quite alien for most who have not grown up in a Laestadian home. Later on the Laestadian spouse begins to have 'buyer's remorse' about the marriage either because of normal married couple differences or because the proselyte spouse just does not fit into the Laestadian social circles. Then what happens is that the one who grew up in the church 'repents' of having married an 'unbeliever' and they will state how they 'hope' and 'pray' that their spouse will make a 'true repentance'. What is often unstated is they can not face up to a divorce and still remain a member in good standing. Being a female in Laestadianism is sort of like a mass sisterhood and it is very difficult for a female to physically and emotionally leave it all behind as you saw. Mike, count your blessings, find a good Bible believing church and move on. Old AP

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  40. Just a reminder that anonymous comments are deleted. To Anonymous who posted the recent comment claiming to have attended OALC "conventions," I'm afraid you have revealed yourself as a troll. The OALC do not have conventions.

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    1. They didn't have conventions? Hmm I've been to a few.

      Delete
    2. I don't know about the OALC. The LLC certainly does, in the form of summer services.
      -Pebbles

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    3. Well, I've been gone a long time, but I've never heard them called conventions in the OALC. Is that it a new thing?

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  41. I will continue to be a troll because that is what you have named me. In fact, I will register under the name trowll, just for you. I'm glad we have met.

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  42. I go to oalc in kalispell MT. i think that all you guys need to look at what you're saying and stop writing a bunch of bullshit. you know its the right way to believe and what we're taught is the only way. stop messing around and get your head on your shoulders.

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    1. Kalispell OALCer, your angry little rant will undoubtedly help some doubting member of The Christianity to see your church’s claim of being “the only way” for what it is: empty words shouted from the voice of ignorance and fear.

      Delete
    2. EOP, you're right! Immediately I'm going to put my house up for sale and move to a city that is near an OALC church so I can attend. But gosh, the LLC'ers and FALC'ers are telling me the same thing as this Kalispell OALC'er. So which one do I chose? Looks Like I'll have to put them all in a hat and draw!

      -EXFALC

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    3. Don’t forget the IALC. They think they’re the only true church, too, as far as I know. And they will let you do a few more things, so it ought to be an easier sell.

      Alas, you must also contend with the Churches of Christ, the Christian Convention Church, Iglesia Ni Cristo, and so on. I can’t imagine that there is a single Laestadian who is really troubled by the beliefs of those groups that everyone outside their walls is damned, as you can see just from visiting these links. And they are much bigger groups–hundreds of thousands and even millions of members pointing fingers at everyone else instead of thousands or tens of thousands.

      Delete
  43. People these days. we dont stereotype. were not racist. got questions email me instead of assuming. alullabysweet@gmail.com

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  44. Some of this I don't understand I guess I'm coming from I different stand point. When I'm a person thinking about going into the OALC or being open minded to it and givin it a chance. My boyfriend is not a part of all this negitive stereotypeing. And him and his family have all grew with this religion. His family is alittle lyry about me but I've yet to meet them. I am not going to write these people off and catagorize them such a way, when I don't think they are such a negitive group of people. knblaha@hotmail.com

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    1. My husband has never been accepted by my OALC family and friends. I pray that your boyfriend's family accepts you without you changing who you are. I hope you are not joining the OALC so your boyfriend's family will accept your relationship.

      Delete
  45. This whole blog is so stupid, who cares who, how and what people believe. We all have a life of our own and are entitled to live it how we want whether you go to The Old Apostolic Lutheran church or not. And that list of things that is supposedly a sin or wrong is false..everybody is given different advice for example..one woman is advised not to wear make up where as another was told its ok..everybody is different and it just depends on the person. There are no "rules" there is guidelines and if you sin which everyone does it can always be forgiven over and over again as many times as you ask! You all are being just as disrespectful, judgmental and hypocritical as the people from the church you speak of. You don't know every single member of the church there is many many churches packed full you can't base all of us off of a few people you know. Church is for yourself and your own soul and your actions and sins don't determine whether you go to heaven or hell God is the judge of that. There is no reason to hate, despise, look down on anyone in this world, we are all simply living to get to where it is we want to be. Stop judging and saying heresay things that aren't true if you weren't there to hear it chances are its not the truth just like any old rumor it changes drastically. Hope you all have a wonderful life and can find peace and happiness!

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    1. I'm sure you're a very nice person, although it's hard to tell with all the insults you're throwing around. Most of us HAVE been there and are speaking of our own experiences. Hello. Why do you think the blog got started?

      Too bad people have to take everything personally instead of being able to listen to someone else's point of view objectively, but unfortunately, that has been my experience with most people still in the church.

      And no matter how many times people say "there are no 'rules'," or how loudly they shout it, still doesn't make it true. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

      Mia

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    2. I care. This blog wouldn't exist if there weren't people dealing with the aftermath of a legalistic, dead-faith, judgmental religion...and the list could go on. And yes, I am judging your religion, but I'm making a right judgment (John 7:24). Your religion has set itelf on a pedestal (like the Pharisees in Jesus' time) judging the rest of world. You've changed the God of our creation into a being who fits your mold, and that is idol worship. If you were seeking the faith of truth, you would know in your heart that the spiritual teaching of your upbringing is incorrect. I challenge you to sit down with your Bible, and with faith and sincerity ask God to teach it to you. You probably wouldn't go a day without eating food; why would you go a day without spending time in the Word? God has given us the owner's manual for life...open the book! The key to understanding scripture is to lean on God's understanding and not your own. Religion binds, faith frees. Let God out of the box and let Jesus lead you to a true faith where you will find freedom. I care because for the last 25 years your religion has told me that I am nothing in your eyes, that my faith isn't real because I'm not one of you. But that doesn't matter because I know who I am to God. I care because God cares. Peace by Piece

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    3. Hi Mary,
      I'm sorry that you think my blog is stupid, but keep in mind that it was not intended for people like you who are happy with the church.

      It is for people like me, who were not, and for those who simply want to learn more about Laestadianism.

      By the time I went through confirmation (my uncles Ole Hendrickson and Nestor Lindberg were the teachers), I had a lot of doubts. I wanted to know why God, the Creator of the Universe, would reveal Himself to such a tiny little portion of humanity. I wanted to know why there were no black people in our church. I wanted to know what would happen to the billions of people who had never heard of "the Christianity." Including my friends in high school, for example.

      Eternal damnation?

      Ole and Nestor told me, "do not question, only believe."

      Well, I loved my uncles but my soul was not satisfied. I left to pursue truth, to find peace, and to live with integrity. I found all that and happiness, too.

      But it wasn't easy to leave. It was often painful and lonely.

      The love and acceptance I have for my OALC relatives is not always returned. I'm sure you know many of them. Ask them if I have ever tried to talk any of them out of the church, even once. Then ask them if they ever visit me, or if in fact it is always me who comes to them.

      What does "judgmental" look like?

      I wish you well. (If you ever want to talk, email me at extoots@gmail.com. I'm a good listener.)

      Delete
  46. This is not how it is. Yes, there are many rude people that give people the stare downs. Yes, there are many things OALCs don't do. There are no rules, only advice. Its the advice to help you not fall into sin. I myself was advised to go to college and wait to get married. Yes I want as many kids as God gives me, but it is also important to me to be able to support them. The women who get married young and have 15 kids decide that for themselves. Its not because that's how the church is. Everyone including women and children discuss the Bible at gatherings, and women are not looked down upon. It is still the men who are head of the household but women and men are equal.it says so in the wedding ceremonies. They shall respect and love each other. A few bad cases and some nasty kids do not make this church bad. You just have to look past them and realize that their rudeness and unwelcoming behavior is their sin.Not everyone is like that. I myself love seeing new people come and I welcome them. I am not there to judge, only God is. Thanks for listening and please feel free to come to our services. Remember we are all equal no matter what some people get into their heads. We just have to ignore it.

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    1. Well said. I agree completely!

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  47. blue91

    My friend is a member of this church. I love her dearly and I try so hard to respect her religion. I have been to this church a few times with her and I must say that it is the most judgmental, hypocritical church I have ever been to. I do feel like this church has some cult like qualities. She recently has been hanging out with other members of the church and not me, she said she is no longer going to listen to music, etc. I feel like the less she hangs out with me the more brainswashed she gets. I feel like someday she will no longer hang out with me. I feel like this is wrong, this church should not tell people who to not hang out with. Just because I have a different view on things does not mean that I am doomed to hell and should not be with my best friend. I am slowing losing her to a cult. I really need advice as to what to say to her. Thanks.

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    1. Bluegirl,
      I'm not sure this is good advice, but I recommend a candid talk, face to face (so your body language comes through).

      Let her know you love her and hope you will always be friends, but you feel she is pulling away. Ask her if this is valid interpretation or not.

      She may be touched, or she may be defensive. it is possible this has nothing to do with religion (all friendships wax and wane and that's natural).

      Don't get roped into a religious argument, but don't be afraid of sharing your beliefs. Tell her you have studied her religion (you probably know more than she does!) but it isn't for you.

      Your respect and compassion sends a powerful message, whether you lose her friendship or not.

      Wishing you the best. You sound like an awesome friend.


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    2. Bluegirl--

      Offer her love and support. Try to have a candid conversation, tell her how you feel. Don't try to change her mind, as we all need to find our paths for ourselves and she will possibly shut you out entirely. I hope that she is able to follow her true path and you won't lose your friendship. Know that they can and will shut anything out of their lives in order to hold onto their faith (seeing normal life brings "doubts"). Whatever does happen, you have no control over--please don't blame yourself. In the end, offer love and support and if her mind does change, be there for her--she will need you.

      Thinking of you and hoping for the best...

      24

      Delete
  48. Also, are there any exceptions to using birth control?

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    1. Birth control is sin. Women are supposed to bear as many children as God wills. Lately, especially in the past few years it seems, they are 'allowing' it more frequently. I know of quite a few who are, or have been, on it--usually for short periods of time. With more mental/anxiety issues coming to light (12 kids brings that on!) doctors are advising women to take breaks and the preachers are sometimes okaying it if the situation is dire enough. And I know that there are some who are on it as birth control, rather than for 'medical reasons' and they are using it in 'sin'.

      24

      Delete
    2. Birth control is NOT sin. What is a sin is for you to decide what is sin and what isn't. When you do that, you're basically equating yourself with God. The whole birth control debate in Christianity is based on "Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth."
      a) This could apply to many things, for example farming. I think it applies to humanity in general, as in spread the good, and the good news, and the light.
      b) It was a looooong time ago, before the world was overpopulated.
      c) This was probably not a blanket command by God, indeed IF it was meant in the context of creation, it was probably to create His nation of Israel.
      d) the Bible was not written in verses. It was written in a long, continuous format, and in certain areas there were chapters that were defined, if they were, for example, letters. Those numbers notating where one began and stopped were added much later, and not by their original authors. If you read the Scripture surrounding that verse, it takes on a much different meaning...as if the purpose of procreating was to gain dominance over the animals, perhaps even unknown parts of the world. I would argue that has been accomplished. You could pluck a snippet of a verse to support most any opinion you may want to enforce. But that does not make it correct. I don't think any of us give everything to the poor, do we?
      e)Birth control is not killling. It's a form of prevention. So then, would taking a vitamin c drop to prevent yourself from catching a cold also be a sin? Ridiculous.
      I could go on and on. By the way, I'm a mom. I don't believe in abortion, clearly, but birth control is not even on the same hemisphere as killing a baby. Also, it's not my decision to decide if someone is or isn't ready to have kids, or more kids. I should think this would be even more important in our respective churches where is is so rarely the mother's choice whether she even wants to have sex or risk getting pregnant. She is to be subservient to her husband in this department, (and others, but we won't get into that,) and I would say if you disagreed with this last statement I have made then you haven't been married in the church, and don't know what happens.
      My main point here was to show 24 that she can believe however she wants, as can I, but that she is very much still affected by the "law" of the church. I will pray that 24 reads the Bible for herself with an open mind, and that she accepts more of that freedom that is offered there. Stigmas need not apply! :)
      -Pebbles

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    3. I would add that, if you so choose, 24 I encourage you to further your reading beyond the Bible to include Philosophy, Theology and even broad-topic Religion. While I think Pebbles has a much healthier view of the Bible than most Laestadian Believers, for many of us our paths have taken us beyond Christianity ... and there's nothing wrong with that, either, again if you so choose.

      Best wishes on your new journey. As you've noted, there are days where it will be difficult, but you sound like you've got a good head on your shoulders and I think you'll find your new life invigorating.

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    4. Yay, FreeThinker, you're the best!
      -Pebbles

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    5. SORRY! I missed a part of my phrase-- birth control is CONSIDERED SIN BY THE OALC!! I definitely do NOT believe it to be sin (I pity the children being raised in such large families, including my sisters) I was explaining how they believe it to be. Whoops, I guess I should have made myself more clear :)

      24

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  49. My niece had 4 boys and was overwhelmed (4,3,2,1). She was told she had to get a "note" from the preachers to go on birth control. (I don't know who she was to give the note to, as I'm sure her MD didn't require one.) By the time she was ok'd for birth control, she was pregnant. She cried to her mother (not OALC) that she hoped to have a miscarriage. She now has 6 children. I feel badly for the children in these situations. They are not getting a fully-functioning mother. The husband is also abusive and won't take the kids off my niece's hands until they are potty-trained. I cannot imagine wishing for a miscarriage. I wonder if using ovulation calculators and not having intercourse while ovulating is also wrong? Not that that would be 100% effective, but just wondering.

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    1. I have an aunt who was told that abstaining is fine.

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  50. One of the old preachers, Axel Uskoski, preached that there should be 2 years between children in order to preserve the health of the mother. I don't know why his word as a preacher should be any less important then current preachers. In fact, the old preachers had a much closer understanding of the development of the faith.

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  51. Can some one please make another list of "rules" that the congregation believes in? I am interested in learning about the oalc faith and culture. Thank you!

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  52. These are some of the beliefs of the OALC (NOT my personal beliefs, lol)

    I know that they say there are no 'rules' and one can do what they want--this list though, is of things that are definitely looked upon as being 'sin' by the congregation.
    First and foremost, it is their belief that only members of the OALC are of “living faith” and will go to heaven.
    All others will go to hell (except those who are brought into living faith before death).
    Swearing is sin.
    Sex is sin. Until marriage.
    Homosexuality is sin.
    Thoughts of sex are sin.
    Music and dancing are sin.
    Movies and television are sin.
    It’s dangerous to have friends outside of the church as they can try to sway our beliefs.
    You marry within the church.
    Women need to wear skirts and keep hair long and pulled back.
    Women must cover their heads in church.
    Women wear wedding rings, men do not.
    No jewelry, tattoos, or piercings.
    Boys and girls shouldn’t be alone together.
    Vanity is sin.
    Makeup is sin.
    Birth control and abortion are sin.
    Women need to submit to their husbands.
    Drugs and drinking (at all) are sin. Smoking and other tobacco is permitted.
    Facebook is sin.
    Pornography is sin.
    Internet is not to be played with, should not be in ones house unless it is a necessity.

    The list goes on and on. Others can add what they think of :)

    Also, one asks forgiveness from other members of the church and anything can be forgiven.

    24

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    1. I'm not OAL, but I do know that they believe the gospel and the gospel doesn't state: only those that part of their church/the elect go to heave. Also, they believe sins are forgiven by God alone-encouragement by elders too. The rest is right on and essential Christian doctrine. Need more like these folks-brightest, most hard working and respectable folks I've met.

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  53. Thank you!! Also i was wondering why the oalc does not have a cross on the top of the church? And also why there are no cameras aloud at the church?

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    1. The Minneapolis church building has a cross built into the brick on the exterior. I'm not sure if they built the church or if they bought it like that but that's the only one I've seen. As far as flags, I haven't ever seen one inside or outside of the churches here in America.

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    2. The old OALC church in Lake Norden has no cross anywhere on it. The new one they just built has one in the brickwork. I asked many years ago why they didn't have crosses on the churches and was told (by a member not a preacher) that there was nothing wrong with them, but some of the older "Christians" were offended by them (don't know why) and so that's why they didn't display them. Maybe some old tradition?? I know many older OALC didn't believe in pictures being taken at all and my grandmother displays photos of family in bedrooms not main living areas. As far as cameras it may be because of the above, or for respect of the sanctuary maybe?? I know you can take pics in the dining room of the church or outside, but not in the sanctuary. But don't know why.

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  54. OALC buildings in Europe often have crosses on top of them (sometimes on the wall, both outside and inside). It's only in America they don't like crosses. Another difference of this kind is that most European OALC people would not approve of a flag inside their church building, and only in Finland it's acceptable with a flag outside of the building, not in Norway or Sweden, while Americans are usually ok with a flag both inside and outside.

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  55. That last bit may be more cultural than religious. When I lived in Europe, I was asked on more than one occasion why Americans are so enthralled with flags and displaying them. In Finland, for example, I believe flags are normally only flown by private citizens on liputuspäivät or "flag days".

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    1. Yes, that's true for sure. Flags are not flown so much in the European OALC countries. In Finland they are flown only on the general "flag days" or when someone has birthday or some other special occasion. On Norway, it's a bit less restricted, sometimes as little as nice weather can be enough to flow the flag. But it's not an everyday thing in Norway either.

      But it's not only about the society. There really is a negative attitude to flags in the European OALC. I don't know if anyone would say it's a sin, but the attitude that "Christians" shouldn't have a flag pole outside of their home is still well alive in Finland, and even more so in Norway. In Finland it's only the most conservative ones who still think in that way. The OALC prayer houses often have flag poles outside of them, and flags are flown on festive occasions, which indicates that the majority in most places think flag is ok, while the most conservative ones still don't have any flag poles outside of their homes. But in Norway it's still widely considered a no no for the "Christians". I'm not sure about Sweden.

      (I've seen US flags inside OALC church buildings, just don't remember where...)

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  56. Why can't members of the oalc play sports but I still see them play sports at parks? And at their weddings why do you not have to be invited to go? What are the weddings so boring?

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    1. the wedding thing is cultural. in sweden our weddings are not open for eceryone (except for the ceremony). the congregations in US are so much bigger so they just invite everyone. many have bigger familys there too.

      sports is about worldly honor and stuff. my brother has been in a football team since he has ADHD and needed that. the things that can be hard too with sports is that many games are at sundays, and that's the day when it's church and a 'vilodag' as we say in sweden ;)

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  57. I've heard many reasons for the sports thing. Competition is wrong (yet competing for valedictorian, scholarships, jobs are ok). You shouldn't hang out with the world (yet where I live if OALC played sports the team, like the classrooms, would be mostly OALC). You shouldn't be "honored" (trophies, medals, etc), but again, what is valedictorian, if not an honor. I asked a relative once why competing is ok as far as intellectual pursuits, but not sports and was told intelligence is a God-given talent. And I guess athletic ability is not. That's my understanding of why they can play sports "as fun" but not as an organized activity.

    I know they do send some invitations, but to send to everyone who attends the church would be EXPENSIVE. So that's why "everyone is invited." As far as the weddings being boring, I know they just stick to the ceremony only and many things outsider weddings do are considered sin (musical instruments, large wedding parties, standing when the bride walks down the aisle). I think it's another way that they don't want to "follow the world." I guess I wouldn't call them "boring" just "plain."

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    1. Plain! One of my husbands relatives married into their church a couple years ago. The mother of the bride purchased the dress for her daughter but had to remove any beads or decorations on the day of the wedding! The church elders wouldn't allow a dress "of that sort" in their church. The brides mother was bawling her eyes out, snipping every little detail of her dress. The marriage didn't last more than 3 years because the husband turned out to be sterile! And the reception should have been recorded!! The brides family on one side of the room and the church members on the other side...even the food table was separated to two sides!!!

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  58. The sports thing was certainly never recognized as sin in all OALC locations in years past. I still have the school annuals with pictures of sports teams for the high school consisting of almost all OALC boys, including a couple of today's best known preachers. I've written about this before so won't repeat myself any further.

    The invitations to weddings might be misunderstood a bit. Generally speaking, anyone can go to any wedding at almost any church without invitation as that is a church sacrament. It is the reception (the non-church bit) that you receive an invitation to attend -- or not.

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    1. cvow - I've seen you post this information before and it is very interesting. I, too, see changes in the "guidelines" quite frequently. (An aunt of mine is annoyed with having to change the hem of her skirts every few years!) You'd think this would be hard to explain to members, as "sin" shouldn't change from year to year. Anyway, does anyone else see changes, of what kind, and do they seem to be getting stricter of more lax?

      Another interesting conversation I've had with a relative lately: They stated it's now being preached that women (and men) should go to college, men should be waiting to get married/have families until they can support them, and OALC families should be supporting themselves (not be on welfare). This kind of stuff was never preached when I attended but it has been a while since I've been a member. Anyone else heard anything like this?

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  59. everybody keep slamming the church till u convince urself that what u did was rite.

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    1. I don't think anybody is "slamming" the church, we are just discussing aspects of this extreme religion that we at some point in our lives were a part of.

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  60. I heard that women wear their hair up because it is their "crowns" can come please explain that?

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    1. I recall being told of a place in the Bible that refers to a womans hair as being a "crown of glory." I don't know where that was pulled from but I personally relish the feeling of my shoulder-length bob blowing freely in the wind.

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  61. What is conformation? After church services why does everyone lean on each other and cry?
    Is this church a cult?

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    1. Confirmation is a rite of passage, and is common with many Christian denominations, especially with Lutherans and similar protestant denominations. After church services they often are emotional because of their emphasis on forgiveness of sins. The church is not really a cult, but a religious sect; cults and sects have some similarities, but also differences. This church does not heavily recruit outsiders as they tend to be born into the church, but some marry into it and a small number might begin attending as a young person. They do not tithe or financially exploit members. However, persons born and raised in this environment tend to have a difficult time leaving the church because the church and family are generally the same unit, and there tends to be shunning ranging from mild to moderate depending upon the particular family or from group to group.

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    2. How can you possibly say this is not a cult? Just because they don't recruit or force tithing? They recruit though forcing people to have children. I can't explain it, but they have no free thought and absolutely are unable to ask questions or challenge the church. That is nuts to say its a sect. They are not able to distinguish the true from the false. They are bound. They are in no way like mainstream Christianity. They condemn people because they don't go to their building. Most Christians believe that God does not require anything but trusting Him. They have perverted this message. How is that a sect?

      I am new to this forum but I think this is an awesome topic to bring up even though it probably has been talked about. Is it a cult? Why or why not? What do the people who have left think? They may not tithe but if you don't volunteer I bet you would be hellhound or if you miss church 3 weeks in a row your fate in hell would be sealed. What Christian denomination believes that works are your ticket in?

      Dude

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  62. Why is smoking and tobacco permitted and alcohol not? It can be just as deadly/dangerous as alcohol.

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  63. Both the emotional expressions ("leaning on each other and crying") and the prohibition on alcohol are rooted in the origins of Laestadianism, which arose as a pietistic response to the Swedish Lutheran Church and the pernicious effects of the alcoholic trade in Lapland, which was allowed and in some places supported by the Church.

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  64. Isee y! Alcohol n drugs affect ur mind while using them, tobacco doenst! Although I heard some1 say its wrong 2 start and u shld try and pray 2 stop cuz its so bad on ur health. . They dnt encourage it!

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  65. I don't know how you can say tobacco does not affect the brain. Addiction occurs in a mind altered state. In other words, the brain is in a altered state, which means the brain is affected by the tobacco use. Same as alcohol, caffeine, and any other addictive drug. I agree it is wrong to start, and even worse when women are smoking when they are pregnant.

    EXFALC

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  66. I have a question. I have heard about some sort of "Woman's Guide" or a book that is written for women in this religion so they can learn how to sew, can goods, raise children, and so on. Is there such a thing and what is it called?

    -researcher

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  67. my husband wonders why I am not happy and the same fun person he married. I have6 kids in one income that's hard. I wish I would have chosen a different path. I am teaching and helping my children find a different way an easier time. I often tell my daughter's to go to college and form a life before you get married. I chose the hard way.

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  68. Researcher, I have not heard of such a book.

    Anon, please give yourself a nickname, okay? I am so sorry you aren't happy. It is never too late to choose a different path, beginning with this very moment. It doesn't mean you need to go anywhere, just deep inside -- you can learn how to be happy in a way that is unrelated to income or security or religion. Instead of regrets, you will be grateful for everything that has brought you to where you are, because you are still alive and able to make choices based on all you've learned. So many die without leaving those mental cages! Your children will not be home forever, and everything you do now can help them prepare for a future without you, and YOU for a future beyond motherhood. I wish you all the courage it will take to love yourself and by doing so, teach your daughters they can love themselves, too, and make happiness a priority. You are worthy!

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  69. My friend is no longer hanging out with me. When I saw her in town she said "Oh we should hang out I will call you.." Never did. Why lie? I am very angry that she would avoid me like this like im some kind of demon. But I also pity her, that she has such low self esteem that she would not hang out with me anymore because she was told to. We had such good times, and a strong relationship but as we got older I felt she was getting vulnerable to her church. I really want to send her a long email about how I feel about this, but I don't know how to approach this. What is appropriate to say? I am just boiling inside to tell her that her church should not control her and tell her who to vote for, who to hang out with, how to act, what to look like, everything else really. It's like she is a puppet and the preachers are puppeteers, just making up mans rules, not God's rules. I wish she could get out of this place, through all these years she always felt guilty for being in this church and now shes brainwashed to the point where her words are no longer her words. ADVICE??

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  70. What version of the Bible do they use?

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  71. As an outsider in the copper country, having lived near and having to go to school with many members of FALC......................I honestly cannot stand most apostolic Lutherans. I know many others who feel this way. They are the most incredibly ignorant, racist, hideous people I have ever came into contact with. How can they be "good Christians" when all they do is condemn every one that does not go to their church to go to hell? They are horrible parents, never watch their children, god watches them instead. I have met a few, and I mean FEW, who are actually normal people. This place is nothing but a cult! And now I am reading about a lot of sexual abuse. Reminds me of crazy molesting Mormons.

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  72. Anonymous, as you try to interpret your environment around Apostolic Lutherans, be mindful that this sect has grown in several different directions. You will see a wide variety of practices in your area, from the ALC, which is probably more like a mainstream Lutheran Church, like Missouri Synod or WELS. There are the Old Apostolics, which some people call "bunners" in which the women often wear buns in their hair and skirts and cover their heads in church. Then there is the Laestadian Lutheran, the First Apostolic Lutheran, which typically dress in modest but modern fashion but eschew make-up, earrings, and the like. A branch which does not really exist except in a fragmented form in Copper Country is the Independent Apostolics, who dress completely modern, have smaller families, and who, like the ALC, interact in more natural ways with "outsiders" but tend to be clannish. Even within these groups there is variation from individual to individual and family to family and congregation to congregation. I no longer attend the group that I am from, but have met sincere, good-hearted people among all these groups. Being from a more liberal group, once I was introduced to a friend of a friend from another, more conservative group. He proceeded to tell me that my group was heretical bunch of sinners and that I should join his group instead where the true word was. The ironic part was this man, single and in his late 30s, hung out at bars and smoked marijuana and lived in sin with a worldly girlfriend. As a non-drinker who never has even tried an illicit drug in my life, I found his preaching to me a bit hysterical. Yet I could see someone from my liberal group telling him his group was bound for hell as well. The best thing to remember is that some of these Apostolics don't know any better and they have been taught from birth that there only hope of salvation is in their particular group. They feel they are caring about you to warn you. I left my group several years ago and it is a painful journey out but was something I had to do to keep my own sanity as there were several hypocritical layers I had experienced in the church that I could no longer live in cognitive dissonance. I miss my church every day but also feel, at the same time, relief that I left and did not need to live in fear that small actions I would take in every day life wouldn't live up to the scrutiny some members of my family subjected me to, while ignoring larger, more troublesome behaviors by others in my social circle/family (the elephants in the room). I will, for the rest of my life, feel like a refugee of a sort and I will always miss the "country" I left behind though I feel grateful for my new life. And guess what? I pretty much still conform to the old rules out of choice because I never really minded any of them and I am a homey, traditional female at heart. I completely understand why many don't feel they can leave. If you can, try to feel compassion for them. Remember Jesus' words, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." They truly, truly don't. --Punahilkka

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  73. Punahilkka, thank you for saying what I know many must feel, but lack the words to express.

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  74. Please someone give me advice

    -Bluegirl

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    1. Bluegirl, If you are looking for advice about what to say to make her understand and change how she acts with you, there may not be anything you can do. She is choosing to do what she wants to do, and regardless of what her motivation seems to be, she has chosen to treat you this way. You have a choice as well. You can choose to tell her how her actions made you feel. You can choose to attack her for her choices. You can choose to let go and walk away, saying nothing. You need to realize that none of your actions may change her mind--you have no control over that. If I was going to give you any "advice", I would say to choose the actions you can live with and won't regret later. That is all you have control over.

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  75. Jesus is the way the truth and the light. John 3:16. I admire everyone's courage to seek truth and ask questions. Keep your chin up and God Bless!

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  76. the oalc and the falc are nothing alike. they may appear so but the oalc has their elders which okay things and free them from marriages etc. while the falc goes by what they believe and what the bible says not what the elders say.

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  77. That's a very ignorant comment because most of the people in the falc don't even read the bible, so how would they know if what they believe is really biblical and not a passed down tradition? I sure didn't know the difference growing up in the falc. Can you give us some examples of what the bible says that the falc follows? I could share numerous experiences of growing up in the falc that would directly dispute your comment. I observed many falc members exhibiting behaviors towards fellow church members and members who have left that was far from "christ-like". Would you like me to go into detail on some of those behaviors so everyone can read about what your church really believes? -exfalc

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  78. Reading the Bible and understanding it are two different things. The English version loses a lot of meaning, but the jest is there, The true language is Greek and Arabic and when translated it loses a lot what is being TRUELY said.
    People often quote John 3:16. Maybe the previous verse should be viewed as well.
    Mind control and brainwash is their forte.

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  79. I dont know why you people say half the thing you are saying because you really know just about nothing.

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  80. I'm not OAL, but I sure have had good experience with these folks! Salt of the earth folks-need more like ya. Turn on the news, it's anarchy out there. They've got more right than most Christian churches today.

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  81. Martin Luther (1483-1546).
    While studying law, Luther, fearing death in a thunderstorm, promised God he would become a monk if God spared him. As a monk and professor of Bible at the University of Wittenberg, Luther attempted to secure his salvation by adhering to a very strict code of ethics, obedience to the monastic order, and ceaseless confession. This proved unsatisfactory and Luther continued to have intense emotional struggles with his own salvation until an epiphany struck him in the tower of his Augustinian monastery. It was during this "tower experience" that Luther realized that salvation was a free gift
    imputed to man through Christ's righteousness. We are justified by the grace of God through the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. Our good works, then, do not cause our salvation, but rather they are a result of our salvation. God does not love us because we are good—we are good because God loves us. With this new understanding of salvation, Luther went on to criticize the Catholic Church for, among other things, selling indulgences to people with the promise that these purchases would help assure their salvation. Luther protested this and other things in his famous Ninety-five Theses. This eventually led to a major
    conflict between Luther and his German supporters and the Catholic Church in Rome. The end result was the Protestant Reformation, although Luther saw himself not as the creator of a new church, but as a reformer of the Catholic Church, leading her back to the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith alone.

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  82. Thanks free for being supportive. I feel like the church is adding new rules. The latest is no open toed shoes! That kind of pushed me over the edge. I asked the preacher why and he said something about dressing like the world and looking different from the world. Why aren't they more concerned with not being judgemental. I don't think Jesus was concerned about footwear.

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  83. I spent my high school years in Battle Ground Wa and was always fascinated by the OALC and wanted to know more, but was always just too afraid to ask as I didn't want to offend as they always kind of struck me as a private group. I'm just curious about some of the guidelines and practices I have heard about.
    Does the woman bow to her husband when they get married?
    Do they have a handshaking tradition and why? (I think they say God's peace?)
    Is their church service so emotionally compelling that they cry afterwords?
    I know they aren't supposed to listen to music, but is singing allowed?
    How do they support such large families on one income?
    Are they typically discouraged from going to college?
    Why no organized sports?
    I'm really just super curious. Its so strange living so close to a group of people and never feeling as though you understand anything about them.

    -SimplyCurious

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    1. Sorry for the late response, SimplyCurious. I will answer the best I can.
      * No, the women do not bow.
      * Yes, they have a handshaking tradition and say God's Peace to each other. It is similar to sports fans who use special clothing and gestures and words to show what team they support. It helps set them apart.
      * The crying in church is from sorrow over sin.
      * Singing is allowed, and done in church.
      * They support large families on one income by being frugal and helping each other, paying few taxes, and sometimes, getting government support.
      * As for going to college, it varies by family. Girls traditionally were discouraged.
      * Organized sports might lead to egotism and competition for glory.

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  84. Apostic church and one god is the only way to Jesus not threw sinners amen love my new changed life in Christ and that I actuily know him way more now.. For who he is now amen

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  85. I had falling in to trinity lies and god open my eyes how log I was vexed and trying so hard to know him as two gods and the holy ghost as some angel.. God is one to my family now what blessing..

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  86. I believe rational thought is catching up to ol Laestadius. Emotional tears contain stress toxins according to scientists and people report feeling relieved after crying. How much of a leap is it to believe this is the euphoric feeling people replicate in church after confessing sins, crying and then attribute it to.....God! Seems logical to 1880's thinking (a tumultuous time), even today for the sheltered souls. Why no dancing, singing, sports, music outside of church? Too much outside euphoria not centered on God and the church...save it for Sunday and let it all out for God! If I was going to start a religion, those are the rules I would make too! Brilliant! and remember ol Laestadius was a scientist before he was a pastor. Why are ol appy women bubbly and the men bottled up, in my uninformed, mere observant opinion? Maybe crying that's why. Men are competitive, egotistical and glory-seeking - unless their forced not to be, then their behavior morphs. Sexism, latent racism and whatever else spawned from that original "confessing rule" are just man's mind wandering around, looking for sources of power.
    ~ Pierce the veil and or buns

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  87. If the people in the Laestadian movement would think rationally the movement would not exist..

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  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  90. I hate the sin I love you sinners

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  91. Instead of looking for, the friendliest people, try reading the Bible, and get God's viewpoint of what is required and what is right. Mutti..

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  92. One day the front doors will be locked to their cult and no back door to enter.

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  93. When I broke free from this church, I realized how many pronatalists went there. It is so sad that a woman's only purpose is to have children and she can't learn anything else, and only the church can help. I have watched women, and I see the pain, fear and sadness in their eyes. They don't love how they live, but they won't admit it out of free.

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