Monday, July 03, 2017

What Age is Too Young for Marriage?

The Elders of the Firstborn (OALC) have arrived from Gällivare and are crossing the United States from east to west, holding meetings -- morning and evening -- throughout July and August.

According to a member of an online support group, new rules regarding "Christian" weddings were recently shared, including:
  1. No engagement rings. 
  2. The engaged couple must wait until married to sit together in church.
  3. Wedding rings must be simple bands.
  4. No wedding dresses (preferably a skirt that can be worn again).
  5. The skirt should not be so long that it touches the floor.
  6. The bridal party will not walk up or down aisle. 
  7. The bride and groom will walk down the aisle only after they are married.
  8. No food at wedding receptions.
This illustrates a practical function of the Elders' meetings: to reinforce visual markers of faithfulness (faithfulness to the preachers, not the gospel) so members appear separate from "the world." (An equally important function is to retain members through intermarriage. Out-marrying is taboo, so these large gatherings are opportunities to meet non-relatives. Youth are encouraged to travel out of state to attend).

Suggested addition to the rules:
  • No marrying of children.
This recent NYT article about child marriage in the United States was shocking for many of my Facebook friends, who had no idea this "third world" custom was so prevalent in our own country, and not must among minority religions but those who call themselves Christians. I recommend the Elders consider whose company they are keeping, e.g., men who elude statutory rape charges by marrying their victim.

It is not uncommon for girls in the OALC to marry and have children before they are 18.

That must change.

I foresee the day when it is illegal -- a violation of individual human rights -- to compel a person to forgo birth control. When and who to marry, when and how frequently to give birth -- these are human rights. It will also be illegal to compel a child to marry.

The OALC is on the wrong side of history.

Children deserve our love and protection. Jesus had something to say about that, and it had nothing to do with who sits where, or wears what.

FOCUS, gentlemen. FOCUS.






15 comments:

  1. It is an Elder cult, no more a true christian church.
    Its trinity is formed by "Father, We and the Holy Spirit", as Jesus Christ has been replaced by "this blessed christianity"
    The decisions of the elders are not based on the scriptures, but on a continuous revelation.

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    1. For many I suspect it has little to do with doctrine. It's a fraternity or social club, like the Sons of Norway, Elks, or Lions, existing to provide mutual aid, fellowship, and potlucks.

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    2. I do not know, why we say this. Its purpose was not to be Lions, or ELks or anything like that. But reason for all that heresy seems to be the lack of knowledge in doctrinal matters, church history, and the way to see oneself as a part of Christianity. That was not the purpose, I repeat, but it went wrong already at the time of Takkinen and Raattamaa.

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  2. It's hard to believe that anyone could buy into this kind of man-driven rules -- rules that have no basis in scripture. Of course, they can fall on the old "that what God gives to us" line of pretending they are receiving some sort of revelation and justification to promote their own narrow-minded and selfish thinking.

    Free, I see you are pointing the finger at men again, but I can assure you that many of those pious men have an iron fisted matriarch standing right next to them, telling them what they are allowed to say! I know more than a few. :-)

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  3. CVOW, thanks for commenting. While I have no doubt there are many strong women behind those men, they are, indeed, behind.
    Imagine a church where young girls saw women behind the pulpit! For example, Laestadius' daughter, who filled in for him. Curious that he didn't take that "remain silent in church" so literally.
    As long as it is men at the wheel, it is they who must bear scrutiny. "To whom much has been given, much will be expected."

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    1. If this is a feminist or chauvinist issue, is it the right way to help those individuals? I am convinced (maybe I am wrong) that the most of the people there in OALC are seriously wandering in the foot steps of Jesus Christ. As their knowledge in the Holy Scriptures and the history of the church is so low, they do not understand that they are followers of a group of humans.
      If woman behind the pulpit is a kind of solution to the problem, it cannot be seen inn Sweden, Norway and Finland. In those countries the role of the church is weakening strongly, even the churches try to keep a strong hold of the public discourse. Ladies behind the pulpit, marriages of the same sex are now present, thanks for our active ladies. Euthanasia and the acceptance of islam as a parallel way to God and salvation is waiting on the threshold. In my opinion, the only way to make things better is the reliable tuition and teaching, which is based in the Scriptures. These wedding rules belong to adiafora, i.e they are free customs or habits, they are outside the moral code. I do not see any reform is possible in that church. If there comes any, it must wake up among young people, not yet corrupted by power. By the way, if you go to the U.S. Bible belt, and discuss with the people living there, which kind of rules you find there? A sheep in a wolf´s skin

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  4. CVOW, I would agree with your statement about the "iron fisted matriarch" behind the scenes. It was the same thing in my relationship. My great grandfather was a speaker but his 'spine', so to speak, was my great grandmother. Underage marriage laws existed historically due to our history as an agrarian economy and they provided for a way of dealing with unwanted pregnancies and emancipated minors. In Laestadian circles I saw the same situation but with a 'Laestadian slant'. I recall that 'marriage' was used as some type of mystical solution to problem children or those who did not quite fit in. When teenagers were going through what would normally be called 'adolescence', I recall people saying that 'so and so needs to get married' as a solution. Looking back on it I realized that this was total nonsense. Marriage should be between two mature consenting adults and it should not be used as a bandage to a previous wound. Adolescence usually runs from age 12 to age 19 but it is a well established fact that people do not really mature as an adult until they hit age 25. But this country has a history of child exploitation, for besides allowing for underage marriages the US also permits 'child soldiers'. The UN has an international agreement that forbids soldiers who are under the age of 19 as they are considered exploited child soldiers. The US however REFUSES to sign the agreement as we still actively recruit those who are 17 and 18 years old to do the dirty work of fighting our wars. With regards to the Elders latest rendition of wedding rules...I wonder what they would say about Jesus turning water into the best tasting wine at the wedding feast at Cana? Old AP

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    1. They do exactly the same as Jesus. For them the wine was that of the Holy Spirit, so following the rules of the living Christianity and having the wedding held in the meeting house, there is Jesus and there is that very wine. It is that simple. No one can argue with the elders, as they are above the Scriptures.

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    2. Anonymous, trying to say that the wine at Cana's wedding was actually symbolic language for Holy Spirit is an example of 'cherry picking' Scriptures and saying that they mean something other than that which was written. The same goes for Annanias putting his hands on Paul and blessing him with the Spirit. Laestadians love to change the meaning of that and say that Annanias blessed Paul with the 'forgiveness of sins' (in the Laestdian sense) and then he was converted. With regard to the Elders...one only assumes the role unless one is a long standing dogmatic follower of the doctrine. While not necessarily a bad thing, they are in no way the final arbitrators of the Bible. Old AP

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    3. No!
      I am not trying to say anything, Old AP! I just clearly say the truth!
      I do NOT say, that the wine in Cana was a symbolic one. I just try to understand their thinking.

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    4. Anonymous; "No engagement rings. The engaged couple must wait until married to sit together in church. Wedding rings must be simple bands. No wedding dresses etc..." Yes Anonymous, I too tried "to understand their thinking". But I do not agree with them at all on their marriage rules. As I have said before I noticed a couple of rules within Laestadianism-Rule 1: Anything people liked was okay but whatever they did not like was a sin. Rule 2: If some one could afford something it was okay but if they could not afford something it was a sin. Old AP

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    5. Maybe I cannot describe you what I really mean. I cannot say to a muslim, for example, what Jesus did and said about loving. It is impossible, because we do not have any common moral code or authority. It is same with OALC, because the elders write all the time new gods word, because they are the chosen apostles and Bethlehem of our time lies there. In my opinion it is useless to point out anything which happened in Canaa. It would be better, if people could write freely on religious subjects and have interest for doctrinal matters, but I dont believe that happens.

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  5. I don't understand the rationale of "no food at weddings" in the OALC?

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    1. Punahilkka, "No food at weddings" is all part of the phony façade of those claiming to live a "simplistic" lifestyle. The same people who spew out those ideas are often the same ones who build million dollar McMansions for themselves and others or they will gladly build 'dead faith' churches for other denominations. And do not let me forget to mention that they are the same ones who will not hesitate to eat out at a restaurant on Sunday yet silently condemn those who are serving them. Old AP

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