Saturday, July 28, 2012

Peace

Longtime readers of this blog may remember previous discussions of Sámi heritage, including this old post from 2006, in which I quote Ruthann Cecil as saying that a family history of Laestadianism is the surest indicator of Sámi roots. After all, Laestadius was half-Sámi, and the movement began in Swedish Lapland, where the OALC still gets direction from "the elders."

I am told some Laestadian Sámi use only reindeer bone clasps.
I was dimly aware that I was related to some of those elders, who would visit the United States every few years and even come over for dinner (when I was a girl, I asked them for autographs as if they were rock stars! Which I suppose they are in that sphere). 

Monday, July 02, 2012

Joy of (Not) Believing

The postings and comments on this blog over the course of its several-year history often speak about the challenges and difficulties of leaving Laestadianism. It is a move that many have had to make, from fundamentalist religions of all types, when the facts could no longer bear to be disregarded. Preachers are prone to caricature those who no longer show up to listen to their sermons as having been unable to resist the lure of “the world,” taking the easy way out, leaving the fold to pursue a life of sin. The reality I’ve seen from dozens of discussions with refugees from fundamentalist religions–and from reading testimonials by hundreds more–is quite different. What became important was simply a desire for the truth of the matter, and the result of their accepting that reality was often more difficult than remaining comfortably and conveniently sheltered within the bosom of the church.

That is not to say there are no positive results from making the transition. Of course there are! After a lifetime of repression, many ex-Laestadians find profound joy in expanding their musical and cultural horizons, discovering the amazing and powerful medium of cinema, and allowing themselves the freedom to engage in romantic relationships with (gasp!) the people who surround them in their day-to-day society. Life becomes worth living for itself–right here, right now–instead of being a grim march through a world that one must disdain as sinful. The attitude is expressed well in the opening lines of one old LLC song: “My home is not here where I journey, ah no it is far, far away.”