Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Current OALC attitudes about Birth Control

A recent anonymous commenter had the following question:

I was wondering if members of the OALC believe in birth control? I know that there is no sex before marriage but i am wondering any birth control during marriage?
I would love to know anything! Thanks


I know that in the ALC it used to be frowned upon, but I think now practices vary widely. Can anyone answer for the OALC? And I'm also curious about whether the answer differs for Laestadians in Finland and Sweden versus the United States.

See also: Healthcare and the OALC

34 comments:

  1. I am not OALC, but I do know that using birth control is very looked down. I've heard that OALC'ers that only have a few kids (and a few kids is usually less than 7) some people actually think they're practicing birth control in secret. Most Apostolic Lutheran/Laestadian groups in the USA have very large families. There are two groups that are more liberal about birth control, and tend to have more moderately-sized families (usually 3-4 kids) but the OALC remains very conservative on this issue. I think, however, the preachers make an exception if the life of the mother is in danger.

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  2. Birth control is NOT okay in the OALC.

    No sex before marriage??? There were lots of nine pound 6 or 7 month babies born when I was growing up there. Many gals 'stuck' getting married because they 'had' to.

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  3. In Finland, the OALC families tend to be slightly smaller than in the US, average size would be 5-8 kids, but there are also some very big families. You can sometimes hear the preachers preach against birth control, and the general atmosphere among the mainstream OALC in Finland doesn't allow any positive comments about birth control. Of course, there is a huge variation in opinions in the Finnish OALC in any question, and among members of the "liberal opposition" you can hear also positive comments about birth control.

    I think Sweden would be pretty much the same as Finland in this regard (except that there isn't much of a "liberal opposition" there as there is in Finland)

    In Norway, the families tend to be even smaller than in Finland, I think 3-5 kids would be average. I don't think there are any families in the Norwegian OALC that have 10 kids or more. Birth control is usually not talked about, but I've heard Norwegian oalcers talk about birth control as something that is used among the "Christians", and I remember one occasion when talking about the big OALC families in America and Finland, someone said "that's because they don't use birth control there".

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  4. What do you think? It's not a system of do's and don'ts but rather a simple straightforward system. Is it wrong to take birth control if the dr. prescribes it for acne? No
    Is it wrong to take it so you can have sex without the consequences? Probably. There's a well known saying "moderation in all things"

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  5. Considering that the period of fertility in a woman's cycle is pretty short (just a few days), you don't need birth control, you need self-control if you want to limit your family size. There are well established ways of tracking a woman's cycle to know when the fertile time is.

    By using self-control, you can guiltlessly avoid the whole birth-control issue.

    Of course, there are exceptions where a woman could become pregnant outside of the predicted fertile period, but that is rare.

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  6. Il Coro must be a man.

    Women can get pregnant at any point in their monthly cycle--even when they are menustrating. It's not at all rare. I have a relative who faithfully used the rhythym method and still ended up with 7 kids--none of them planned. She does say, at least she didn't end up with 14 like her mother.

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  7. Oh come on... babies can come any time (when a woman's cycle has a cycle that is irregular (perhaps) My grandfather used to say "The first baby comes anytime, the rest of the babies take 9 months. He would be 110 years old!!) In American the OALC women do NOT use birth control as a public policy-what they do in private may be very different.

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  8. My sister is now active in the OALC in Maryland and was told even "natural birth control" (timing cycles and ovulation) is considered birth control and not looked upon positively. She had her first child exactly a year after her marriage to this hideous man and I'm sure will be expecting her second any day now. She is 23 and they are on WIC and in a tiny one bedroom apartment. Fun.

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  9. OALC women may take birth control only after getting permission from the preachers. They must have a good reason to be granted permission. I do NOT understand this if they believe everything is meant to be and that God gives you a certain amount of children but I guess since they believe that the preachers words are from God they somehow make sense of it.
    Can you imagine not being able to decide this privately with your husband but having to go ask for permission that may not be granted for something so personal?
    A husband and wife obviously know what's best for them and they have a right to make their own decisions about things of this nature!! People in that church ask the preachers advice on everything. They are controlled.

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    1. Wait, they have to ask permission from preachers? why are the preachers any better to decide on matters of life? god is the giver and taker of life alone. and any nonsense about preachers hearing god's voice on these matters is baloney. If one is hearing voices they need a psychiatrist STAT.
      Happy days!!

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  10. Freedom of religion!! There's no greater feeling then being free to believe whwt you want. Respect all... follow none.

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  11. The OALC does not condone birth control of any kind. You have to get the Preachers permission to use it and then have a doctors excuse to justify it!
    If you have a small family (2 or 3)you will be talked about for being wordly and using birth control in private!
    The official doctrine on sex outside marriage is a definite "no", however sex among teens is widespread. Many teens become pregnant and are urged to marry. I remember a 17 year old boy who was in this situation. You must be 18 to marry in Delaware, so he and his pregnant girlfriend were married in nearby Maryland instead of in church.
    In the OALC, the Preachers have the final say in everything you do!

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  12. Dearest true and living christians, I am so downhearted and depressed. Can you forgive me for having passion in life?

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  13. LLLreader replies to anonymous--please say more. You can open your heart here and be understood, whatever your feelings. You are a child of God and he will not forsake you in the midst of trouble. He gave you a mind and a spirt to be used. You do not need to give your strength and love away to other peole to judge. Your value is between yourself and God--not to the understanding of others who have their own journey. The laws of the church have been counstructed by mere men. They want to place themselves between you and God, and that is sinful thinking. I will pray for you. Lighten your heart Dear Friend-and realize God understands you, even if others don't.

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  14. Ron Paul for president 2012!!! Latest results are awesome!!!

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  15. I wanna have birth control so I not getting pregnant every flicking year!!!! God help me! Do I really have to ask a preachers permission? That's pure BS!!!!!!!! BS it is!!!!!!

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  16. Having been raised in a family from the OALC I know for a fact that a woman can NOT take birth control. They think of it as "killing god's unborn children." I know MANY women from OALC that have almost died having their 13th or 14th child!!! I'm wondering if they have any guts left?? They have to have a life or death reason to get permission from a preacher to get birth control. And no sex before marriage? wow that's a good one!! Almost ALL the young adults and teens are having sex. Then they get pregnant and they have to get married. And wonders never cease they have a 7lb "premature" baby. If you have to marry because your pregnant after meeting the person 3 weeks before, how can that be "true love" and "your soul mate???"

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  17. Preachers just advise what they think is best, don't demand. God will give how much he knows u can handle

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  18. How about you tell that comment to a family I know of that suffered a terrible loss a few weeks ago. I hope and pray your eyes will open to reality. Someone I know had a friend die a few weeks ago from complications from childbirth. The mom had a 6 day old baby. She died after developing an infection from childbirth. It was her first child, and she tried several years to conceive. So, god gave that family as much as he thought they could handle? Is that what you think? That is a sick and twisted mindset with no compassion. Lets say the story was slightly different and she almost died. Still, would it be worth risking another birth? Would you be willing to take that chance? Their is something called common sense. Use it.

    Here is a link to the obituary. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/startribune/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=166664403

    -EXFALC

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  19. If there is health complications they're advised to stop having children. I don't understand your point, sorry. But I do believe that everything happens for a reason and god wouldn't allow it to happen if he knew you couldn't handle it.

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  20. Out of every single lady I know with tons of kids, I do not know one that regrets it. . I absolutely love all the kids and life would be soo bleak without them!

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  21. That isn't entirely true, Anonymous (please give yourself a nickname). Many women in the OALC have health complications (for example, multiple c-sections, mental health issues, history of premature babies, history of preclampsia) and they are NOT advised to stop by the preachers.

    Why do you apply the idea that "God won't let it happen if you can't handle it" only to childbirth and not to building a house in a flood zone or jumping off cliffs or walking in the middle of the freeway? Why is common sense necessary in some places but not others?

    I don't know any mother who regrets her children, either. None. We are hard-wired (most of us) to adore our children and make sacrifices for them. But I know many parents who wish they could have a redo on HOW they raised their kids. More patience, more calm, more structure, more adventures. It is no accident that those are easier to achieve with fewer children. And many children regret not having more attention growing up.

    As for life being bleak without "all the kids," let me assure you, it isn't for me, and I'm so glad I gave myself the CHOICE to have only as many as I wanted. My kids seem pretty happy about it, too.

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  22. I don't "regret" my children; I love them too dearly for that! But. I do regret having so many so fast. Can I say both of those things and mean them both? I do. And for all you churchies who say that doesn't make sense, you are refusing to listen to my reality and are only looking at the contradiction. You can feel two opposite emotions about the same thing at the same time.

    The reason I regret having children so fast and furious is that I never had a chance to recover between babies. I regret having them so soon before either one of us had a chance to get established in a career or even mature enough to know what the heck we were getting ourselves into. I regret having to feel like I was some breeding cow, having to have children with no real choice in the matter, surviving the unrelenting nausea for several months, bracing myself for delivery, working too soon after the baby because we needed the money, never catching up on feeling good, praying every month that I wasn't pregnant again...it never seemed to end. And for all you churchies tut-tutting your tongue, speaking out of the side of your mouth saying, "Oh, you had a choice. You could have stopped anytime you wanted to. No one held a gun to your head."

    No, but the damnable Damocles' sword of eternal hellfire and wailing and gnashing of teeth was ever resting on the headboard of the bed, waiting to spear you through should you ever think to use some kind of birth control to slow down the rushing tide of children. What kind of a "choice" is that for an earnest parent who buys into that whole boatload of messy misguided bullsh*t doctrine? Choice, my eye.

    And I regret not being able to give my children the things they needed. They needed better medical and dental care than we were able to provide. They needed their own space in the ever-shrinking real estate that we had. More than the 30 square feet of the bed they slept on. Some didn't even have that. They slept on the floor on a sleeping bag because there was no money to buy another bed, and no place to put it if we had.

    I don't know if they ever got the things they wanted, or got to do the things they wanted to do. Even simple things that smaller families take for granted. Boy scouts. School sports. Concerts. Dancing. Harmless things. Even going on vacation, taking a family road trip, or buying new shoes and not just shoes that were new to them from the Goodwill store. We were taught to not ask for things and to be happy with the things we had. That's great practice for someone training to be a minimalist, but for a mother with a heart that wanted to buy cute shoes and dresses for her girls and in-style clothes for the boys that didn't make them look like refugees from the Lost and Found box at school, it was not fun. Let me say that again. I did not have fun. Does that make me a weak whiner to say that? A complainer? If I don't put on my tough face and say, "Oh, it was fine. Lots of people have it worse. We all turned out fine."...if I don't hold that perspective, does it make me not worthy of being a mother?

    Yes, they survived, and so did I. We have great love for each other, and the bigger picture, the long-term outcome is good. But why is it perceived as such a negative thing to want nice things for your kids, even if you can't afford them? Maybe because it helps reinforce the religious norms in the Laestadian church(es) that teach you not to use birth control? Well, I call BS. It is only one way to raise kids, but it's definitely not the best way to raise kids, and I regret not realizing it sooner.

    mouse in a corner

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  23. miac,
    Those are powerful words, and you're a terrific writer. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

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  24. Thank you for sharing those thoughts. You are a brave mouse indeed, and an absolutely worthy mother. Peace be with you always.

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  25. Well sounds like you had quite the experience, thanks for sharing! I do want to state, however, that I know many ladies on birth control because of emotional or physical stress and other issues. Therefore, we do not believe you will go to hell if you use it as it is actually advised for some. .

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    1. and abstinence isn't an option because....? are we all just so wrapped up in ourselves that we now see sex as a RIGHT instead of gift to a husband and wife?

      Whoooo

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    2. Of course abstinence is an option. But if you love each other and still have sexual attraction, why on earth would you choose it?

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    3. Because you can't have one without the other (sex without kids). Well now you can, but god IS the giver and taker of life

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    4. Well then, God is apparently easily thwarted by a thin sheen of rubber or a tiny pill.

      The bottom line is, there is no Biblical justification for not using birth control, unless you cherry-pick Genesis 1:28 or 9:7 (which, as we all know, is the Old Testament, which is no longer binding, right?). Jesus certainly said nothing about it, nor Paul nor anyone else in the New Testament.

      It is, and always has been, an edict created by Men to retain control both of women and the congregation.

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  26. That sounds like progress. I assume your speaking as an OALC member?

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  27. Thank you for sharing your experiences, sound like you had quite the struggle! I would like to say, however, that because of emotional or physical stress or other issues there are many ladies who are advised to be on birth control. Also, we do not believe you will go to hell for using birth control. Why would they advise it for some if they believed it would send you to hell? My experience growing up with several siblings was very enjoyable. You always had someone to play with and be there for you. Whenever there was family get togethers everyone had an awesome time playing games and visiting together. People have different views on different matters that's for sure, but my view is unless you feel like you can't handle it why would you want to stop having children? God wants us to have children and teach them about him and love him. Those are just my thoughts!

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    1. I would like to add that I believe its good for some reasons and can be used in the wrong way, depending on the situation.

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