Monday, November 22, 2010

Why Laestadianism Never Apologizes

If you're waiting for any official branch of Laestadianism (either in Finland or in the United States) to apologize for the sex abuse and the subsequent cover ups, their exclusionary theology, or the way in which dissent is quelled and dissenters expelled, you may have to wait a very very long time.

At least such is the preliminary finding of new research by Dr. Mikko Ketola of the University of Helsinki in his new paper entitled "Apologising for Past Errors: Two Finnish Religious Revival Movements and Their Different Strategies." (Click here for a link to the paper as a PDF file)

Dr. Ketola compares and contrasts two different conservative Finnish revival movements, the Finnish Lutheran Mission and SRK Laestadianism. Both have engaged in past behaviour that reasonably could prompt an official apology. The Finnish Lutheran Mission made such an apology, but to date SRK Laestadianism has not apologized. According to Ketola, Laestadianism's exclusionary "congregational doctrine" is primarily to blame. When you believe that your congregation is the true kingdom of God and all other Christians are on the road to hell, it doesn't lend itself to humility, accurate self-assessment, or apology.

Dr. Ketola's research paper is in English, only 13 pages and well worth the read. In addition to the topic of official apologies, Ketola also touches on the role of the internet in giving current adherents and ex-members a chance to express their dissent anonymously. A quote:

In cases like the SRK-Laestadianism where the community itself does
not encourage or tolerate criticism, an outside forum where criticism can be practised anonymously is almost the only viable channel through which to pursue change.


In addition to Dr. Ketola's research paper, there is also an in-depth blog post at Freepathways that provides an excellent summary of the research along with a photograph of Mikko Ketola.

Links: Apologising for Past Errors: Two Finnish Religious Revival Movements and Their Different Strategies, (PDF) by Dr. Mikko Ketola of the University of Helsinki, Department of Church History and current (2010-2015) president of the CIHEC (Commission Internationale d’Histoire et d’Etudes du Christianisme)

No Apologising for Past Violence of SRK-Laestadians Healing Meetings, by Freepathways

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