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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Speak Up for the Children

A Laestadian woman in Phoenix was arrested Thursday for the suffocation death of her ninth child, a six-day old baby.

Let your heart break for all the victims in this tragedy. Let yourself feel righteous anger at the authorities in her life that allowed this to happen, despite all the warning signs.

But please, stay angry. Let your anger motivate action. Talk to your relatives. Write to the preachers. Leave a comment on the news article. Write to the court. Do something.

This tragedy was entirely preventable. Those of us with Laestadian backgrounds know why a mother with mental illness continues to have children, and why a father aware of his wife's mental illness would not use birth control. If you don't remember, listen to this sermon from Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran. It not only condemns birth control but advocates maternal self-sacrifice, even unto death. It is the very definition of immoral.

From the 18-minute mark:
But it could be, as is often the case, that many children come, and then the dear mothers feel, that kind of trial, that kind of difficulty, that time in life where they become very tired. The business of life, of raising those little ones, feeding and clothing, these are part of the life of a believing family. There are questions that come, and doubts come as well, how can I raise these children when there is so little time in the day. These are also questions. And even the ENEMY may raise doubts in our minds. He may even during those busy times of live, come with this kind of sermon, that you know, there are ways, that you can not have children, that there are ways you can control the number of children you have. There have been these kinds of occasions were the ENEMY has tempted some with practicing birth control. It is not according to GOD's word, it is not according to the teachings of GOD's kingdom.
Think of the eight children without their mom, whom the husband says was a good and loving mother. Think of the countless thousands of children neglected by overwhelmed parents. If you can't speak up for the mothers out there, speak up for the children.

Laestadians control nature in all kinds of ways. They control nature every time they get a flu shot or use an umbrella or get a stent installed. Forbidding women the control of their own fertility is irrational, inconsistent, and immoral.

It has to stop.

UPDATES:

169 comments:

  1. Perhaps this child is here to teach us something. To teach women, "There but the Grace of God, go I." To wake us up to giving up control of so many things, in order to stay within the guidelines of the church.

    While in the church and religion mindset, most are not able to see beyond or around how much of themselves they have given up.

    Signs of distress are there; the overwhelming task of raising the high numbers of children are visible, but often worn like a badge of honor or a symbol of a 'good christian'...while overlooking the neglect children face in order for the mother to get to heaven.

    I hope this baby girl is a reminder to own your body and to stop the insanity of believing that birth control is wrong....while not seeing how it creates child abuse via neglect.

    Women will have to be the ones to stand up and say enough is enough. Men will have to start seeing what the cost of no birth control is doing to the women they claim to love....and the children in their care.

    I hope this death isn't for naught, but rather a wake up call for young women to be the mother who says no. NO, I can't take care of more children....to know your limits. To own your body.

    Being the second oldest of 14 children, I know the dynamics and cost of this insane rule....

    Women take back your body...

    Beth Jukuri

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    1. Anonymous 2:45, you are probably one of the lucky ones, like me, who did not experience what Beth experienced. As a christian who has love and compassion for people, I have so much respect for her for having the courage to share her story. Sexual abuse and other types of abuse can destroy a person to the point that they turn to drugs and suicide. I was married to someone who was abused as a child and the wounds from the abuse were so deep that he turned to drinking and abused me and my kids. He went to jail because of it and at that point, our marriage ended. It was so sad that the person I was married to didn't have the courage to get help and come to terms with it. Everyone who is abused has to go through a healing process. The healing is different for everyone. Some decide to write their thoughts on a blog and others get counseling and talk to others about it. Some turn to drugs and never recover. For some it takes months and for others it takes years. I appreciate the time Beth has taken to share her experiences on this blog. If one abused person who is still in the church reads what Beth wrote, and it opens that persons mind or heart to speak up so more people are not hurt by that abuser, every word Beth has though and written about on this blog is worth publishing.

      -EXFALC

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    2. Thank you, Beth and EXFALC. I deleted Anon's comment as it was vile and doesn't belong in a civil discussion.

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    3. Thanks EXFALC, I am sorry for your marriage and the affects abuse had on your husband...It is helpful to have you share as well. It seems to me the more who do will allow others to feel less shame and less guilt and even rise to the platform of doing something to help others who, like us, are not so far down the path.

      To get the to seek help, to recognize it was something that happened to them.

      I know, the more who do come forth, and share, the more we will reduce the cloud of secrecy and silence. Airing it out, will make it more acceptable to admit it.

      Sadly the silence is more harmful than the actual act of sexual abuse by a family member or friend.

      Again, I too am willing to dialogue, you can email me at bjukuri@hotmail.com

      Banded together we can heal each other. No more being silently alone.

      Thanks for your kind comments....and I am again sorry for your pain.
      Beth

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  2. so very sad

    Mom of 7

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  3. In the previous link about '24' I posted how IMO Laestadian speakers (nor their wives) are in NO WAY qualified to provide psychological nor emotional counselling and I equated their efforts to 'Bronze Age' counselling. The understanding of the mind & emotions as well as human issues have dramatically improved over the past 100 years whereas the Laestadian level of knowledge about these matters basically remains where it was at in the 1890's in northern Finland. Laestadians seem to think that things like depression are somehow linked to a person's sinfulness-secret or otherwise, which is pure rubbish. However, because of the repressive sociological environment within Laestadianism real problems are allowed to fester and now we have a case of infanticide. I am not sure how much 'writing to the preachers' or 'doing something' will help as it would be analogous to explaining what a beautiful rainbow looks like to a blind person. The only real hope is that enough people within congregations begin to verbalize their collective doubts in unison (which I know they possess)about the toxic poison they have been spoon fed so many years & then collectively say that, 'none of this garbage you preach about is in the Bible' and then in mass they vote out the charlatans who have created such a toxic and cultish religious environment. I too was gullible until I realized my gnawing doubts could no longer be ignored. This story may end up being a real eye opener to many who have ignored the suicides, child molesting & so many other things amongst those who call themselves the only Christians on the face of the earth. Old AP

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    1. Thank you Free for your important post, thanks also for the comments.

      Let's wish this tragedy would open eyes...

      "This story may end up being a real eye opener to many who have ignored the suicides, child molesting & so many other things amongst those who call themselves the only Christians on the face of the earth. Old AP"

      A wellknown and very popular former laestadian female blogger in Finland was forced to take off her post about this tragedy. Her text was not aggressive nor incorrect at all. She only pointed out that this case has demonstrated where the contraception ban can lead in the extremely bad circumstances, together with mentally problems.

      Conservative Laestadian Movement in Finland is very powerful part of the Lutheran Church of Finland.

      The Laestadians in Finland argue nowadays in public media that there doesn't exsist at all any ban of birth control in the Laestadian doctrine. It is free of choice for the individuals in the church, according to the personal situation, say they.

      This confuses issues and makes discussion and critique more difficult, which obviously also is the purpose of this way of arguing.

      I would like to encourage all of you peopel who will save life, protect children and women, to express your opinion stratight to the preachers and leading representative persons in your congragation. It is time to save life.
      I do express my sorry for this sad, sad destiny of Maya baby and her mother. Grace and peace.

      "Pauline"

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    2. I would like to reply to these comments by reminding people that there have been many cases of children's lives being ended by many people of no religion who only had a few or less children. Have these been caused by religion? And suicides, how many suidides have been done by people that do not belong to this church? How many children's lives have been taken by members of the LLC over the past years? As an LLC mamber with a large family, our lives have been abundantly blessed through our children who have seen us through many trials, even though at times during raising these children it seemed to be very tough at times. There are many couples that have not been blessed with any children and have desperately wanted a family, and in no way have been ostracized or criticized by the church. Our children have never felt unhappy at the number of siblings they have, and for each new birth of a new baby have had much joy in receiving another bundle of joy in our family to love!

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  4. Old AP, the church does not exist in a vacuum. I beg you not to discourage readers from acting on the moral impulse to speak up and challenge Laestadian beliefs, wherever and with whomever their influence might be felt.

    We are not powerless. And this is not describing rainbows to blind people, but appealing to our shared humanity.

    From an earlier thread:

    May Laestadian men of conscience, who love their wives, realize that there is no Biblical basis for burdening their health and existing children with another pregnancy.

    May Laestadian women take responsibility for their own bodies and fertility and stop deferring to men, either historical, fictional, or marital.

    May the mother about to undergo her 7th c-section, against her physician's advice, realize that God never demanded this sacrifice, and her suffering is not a ticket to eternal rewards.

    May girls considering their futures know that happy women make for happy children, and that every child deserves to be wanted.

    Education could help more couples choose birth control that is not only effective but leads to happy, healthy mothers and marriages, "just right" size families, and children who feel loved and wanted.

    That's why we should keep talking about this.

    -Free

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    1. Free, I am not 'discouraging readers from acting on the moral impulse to speak up and challenge Laestadian beliefs'...but based on my decades old memories I seem to remember that those who did usually ended out on a limb and when they looked back there were about 20 people sawing on the branch they were standing on as everyone seemed very intent on burying the rot that came to the surface as no one seemed interested in looking at the root causes. From my observations the only real and lasting positive changes that came about was when the present crop of speakers were voted out. I heard that the Mickelson group (the Federation) actually has a seminary in Hancock for prospective speakers/ministers. I have wondered if that should be the route for any aspiring speaker. But by all means keep up the dialogue. Old AP

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    2. Is it timing right for a non-punitive 'root cause analysis' of Laestadianism? Wikipedia has an excellent write up o root cause analysis or an RCA. Interestingly enough under item number eight they have the following remarks: 8. RCA is a threat to many cultures and environments. Threats to cultures often meet with resistance. There may be other forms of management support required to achieve RCA effectiveness and success. For example, a "non-punitive" policy toward problem identifiers may be required. Old AP

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    3. Thanks for the clarification, Old AP.

      While there is truth to what you say, and many good people have challenged the church before without affecting anything but their relationships with those inside, we have a game-changer in the internet.

      Where does the concept of RCA come from? Is it a business term?

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  5. I'm with you, Free. Old AP, I don't share your pessimism. I can only speak from my experience in the FALC, but as I have witnessed, by and large the Ministers are good people at heart (not all, but most).

    I can't help but hope it is the same in other Laestadian churches. If it is, then as Free said, the church does not exist in a vacuum, and hopefully these issues will cause them to re-think their orthodoxy.

    Also, a beautifully written piece, Free. Thanks for re-posting.

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  6. I am so confused why you all think it is your buisness and lifes goal to stop Lastadianism? If a member wants to leave they will..We are very happy peaceful people we are safe and secure and there is good and bad in every "group" Praying for your eternal salvation. Confused

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  7. In my experience at the OALC... members are counseled to be in a birth control for certain medical reasons with mental illness being one of them BUT the culture attitude is that it is wrong. For a family to even seek council on this matter it seems to have to be a life or death situation; NOT that they have "small" doubts of caring for another baby or that it could put their body at risk. I have so many examples but I'll share one.

    A family member was telling me that she had been counseled to have a 6 month break because of depression, but She said now it had been 6 months and she wasn't depressed anymore that she was going to go off of the birth control. I told her that she needed to go back to that preacher who originally counseled her and see what he thought (because I know that he meant to not just take a 6 month break but to reevaluate the situation in 6 months). She came to me later and told me the preacher counseled her to stay on birth control for another 6 months and then come back for more councel before she decided to get off of the birth control.

    You see, the OALC preachers DO consider mental issues and even mental fatigue.
    If any OALCer is reading this that has doubts about having another baby PLEASE go and completely open up ALL your thoughts and doubts to your preacher. Its NOT sin to use birth control and many of my friends and family from OALC use it under the preachers counsel. I also have some family who decided to use it on their own because they just knew that one more baby would put them over the edge; counsel or no counsel they had to do the right thing.

    I say all of this out of love and experience; not to change your religion. Also, so you know that there are options even though the options are kept hush
    hush (because the preachers also say not to tell anyone you were counseled to be on birth control)
    PS. I'm not trying to exclude other lastadians but wanted to share the OALC view because that's what I know. If there are other non OALCers here that also have a no birth control policy I highly recommend getting professional counseling if you have doubts about being able to handle another child. A good professional will be able to guide you while keeping your personal religion in perspective.
    -My View

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  8. Confused, nobody here is trying to stop Laestadianism. When it is safe and secure for all our loved ones, there will be no reason for this blog to exist. Please help it get there.

    My View, thanks for sharing your experience. I wish I shared your optimism, but while talking to the preachers may have helped your relative, there is significant risk in sharing your problems and mental health concerns. Your story may well be common knowledge by sunset. It may be used against you in a divorce or child custody disputes, particularly if your ex has more social power in the church. If you haven't heard these sad tales, count yourself lucky.

    For those unfamiliar with the OALC, getting a preacher's blessing (for medical treatment, relocations, divorce, etc.) is risky but often needed for social protection. "The preachers said" is like a Kevlar vest, as long as you remain in good favor.

    Laestadian preachers are typically uneducated men chosen NOT for their intelligence but for their humility and submissiveness. These are not qualities THEY THEMSELVES would seek in someone giving medical or psychological advice. I'm sure many of them are doing the best they can, and even a broken clock is right twice a day, but things must change.

    I appeal to women in the church to be honest about Nina. Tell the truth.

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    1. Free,
      I guess I don't know anything about any situations you mentioned, could you please elaborate so I don't keep giving the wrong advice?
      And who is Nina?
      -my view

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    2. My View,
      I thought I had responded to this already; sorry for the delay. Nina of course is the mother being discussed here, as I'm sure you know by now.
      As for advice about going to the preachers, please join the ex-OALC support blog on Facebook and hear it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. I can't give details without betraying trust.
      It occurred to me yesterday that YELP reviews for Laestadian churches could be a useful public service. If jails are now reviewed, why not churches?

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    3. Free, thanks for clearing that up. I guess I didn't pay close attention to her name. Maybe I will sign up on that FB group but then there goes being anonymous.
      -my view

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  9. Free said, "...nobody here is trying to stop Laestadianism. When it is safe and secure for all our loved ones, there will be no reason for this blog to exist. Please help it get there." I agree wholeheartedly with your comments Free.
    Years ago when I left I would not even speak of my background to anyone as those few whom I told thought the whole thing was bizarre...sort of like the Jehovah's Witnesses or the Amish or something worse. Personally, I thought to myself that I had grown up within a sadistically cruel religion where I had seen people almost rejoice with glee at the misfortunes of others and especially so when they insinuated that a person was going to hell. At that time I thought I was the only person out there who saw through the whole facade.
    I was very glad to find this site and then able to realize that I was not the only ex-Laestadian out there. Old AP

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  10. What do you mean free, when you say for people to tell the truth about Nina. What is it you are seeking? Do you how they were instructed? Do you know their thoughts? Do you know anything about them? You disgust me. You couldn't believe your good fortune when you heard this devastating news....you were overjoyed that you had yet another thing to critisize us about. Seriously. hopefully the family doesn't read this blog. And do please give me some specifics on how our church is unsafe and un-secure.
    Disgusted

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    1. This is cleary a very embarassing news story about a laestadian lutheran church and I expected they would deal with it by trying to cover it up, by supporting the perpetrator, just like they ignore my uncle who has abused girls in that church for over 30 years. The truth of the religion is finally being exposed, the image they try to potray to the world that they are superior with the one true faith has been shattered. To me it is a relief. People like me who left laestadianism have know for a long time it was never the only true living faith.

      -EXFALC

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    2. EXFALC, I too believe that this is the crack in the wall, that the affects of abuse will be harder and harder to cover up. I also have heard of so many cover ups, it would make Penn State seem like a small case in comparison.

      I can only hope, that with media attention, with bloggers and folks who are interested in slowing down the abuse within these religions, we will make a difference.

      Just know EXFALC, you are not alone.
      Beth Jukuri

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  11. Disgusted,

    The only thing disgusting here is your accusation that Free was "overjoyed" at the "good fortune" of this tragedy. Shame on you.

    If you've ever been a Laestadian, you know that women are discouraged from using birth control and encouraged to have as many children as possible, either by direct edict from the pulpit or through social pressures. While the biggest factor of this woman's horrific actions was almost certainly mental illness, it is also just as certain that the mores of her Laestadian life exacerbated that illness. And those mores are what Free, myself and everyone else here will continue to shed light on and fight against.

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  12. And do you know nina? You say that "it is also just as certain that the mores of her laestadian life exacerbated her illness" and please tell me how you know this to be true. I have known of people with mental issues who were not instructed that they needed to have as many kids as possible. Do you know of many cases specifically, where they were all instructed that too bad....you need to keep on having as many as possible? Honestly. Don't base your opinions on here say or rumor

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    1. Did you read the original post? Her own Phoenix LLC church gave those instructions.

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    2. Do you know Nina? Does a person need to know her in order to make the connection that it is a church teaching that made an already terrible situation (her having multiple mental illnesses) worse? I do know [of] her, but I don't need to know her to have the opinion I have or to know what I know about the LLC teaching of birth control and how it plays out in the lives of its members.

      To not realize that the teachings of the LLC contributed to this horrific situation, is to be in complete denial. She even said it herself, that the reason she did it is because she already had too many kids. Yes, she is mentally ill, and has been for many years, but to continue having children in their situation, definitely had to do with their belief system that birth control in pretty much any circumstance is wrong. Who teaches that belief system? The church. And that church praises women who are willing to DIE to continue having children. It doesn't matter if they were or weren't specifically instructed to or not to use contraception. What matters is the teaching that was drilled into their heads from the day they were born that birth control is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I believe they were victims of brainwashing, and even in their extreme circumstances, were unable to overcome it and choose do something they had always been taught was wrong and would go to hell for if they participated.

      Laestadian woman (for the most part) don't have choices in this matter. There really only 1 choice, and that is to continue having kids, unless they practice permanent abstinence. Anyone willing to THINK realizes that permanent abstinence in a marriage is not going to happen, unless someone is physically incapable of it. Hence, they continue to have children, whether they should or not.

      I am getting so sick of LLC members making the claim that there are choices, about birth control and all the other myriad of rules (although they claim that they aren't rules). People in the LLC know full well there is only one choice, and that is whatever the congregation (the Mother) has decided, whether they want to admit it or not. Any other choice, and a persons faith and heaven acceptability is suspect, for they have gone against the teaching of the Mother (congregation).

      -Eyeswideopen

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  13. People of the LLC will make the claim that nobody is forced to not use birth control. Nobody is physically forced, but they believe they are eternally damned if they use birth control for the wrong reasons.

    People in the church say, only the person using it knows if they are using it for the correct reasons. So a woman who has hard childbirths and is recommended by the doctor to use birth control, has to constantly question if she is using it for the "right" reason. She has to ask herself, do I REALLY need to be on this or am I just listening to the Dr. because I don't want more kids?" If she starts using it, and enjoys the fact that she no longer has to worry about bearing more children, then she is riddled with guilt for being happy that she is not going to have more children. Often these thoughts alone are enough for a woman (or husband and wife) to conclude that they are on birth control for the wrong reasons and stop using it. And then the cycle continues.

    Women are encouraged to continue having children, even if continuing to have children may mean the death of the mother. It is taught that it is God's will. In a mother's day sermon from the Phoenix LLC last year (2012) a woman is praised for being a martyr and going against doctors advice to have children, and she died during childbirth. She is praised for trusting God's will, and she was content with her decision because at least she was going to heaven. To woman hearing such a sermon, it is basically saying there is no reason, even if the risk is death, that a person should use birth control.

    Even breastfeeding for extended periods of time is looked at as birth control by some. Choosing not to have sex during the fertile time of the month is considered birth control by some. If an LLC woman does not desire to have sex during that fertile time, because she fears pregnancy, she then deal with guilt feelings that she is practicing birth control. I know this to be true, because I have been told by people who feel this.

    The only partially acceptable form of birth control is abstinence, and even that is considered wrong by some in the LLC. If people would allow themselves to think about whether abstinence in a marriage is a viable solution to prevent pregnancy, know that permanent abstinence in a marriage would never happen.

    -Eyeswideopen



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  14. Aside from justifications like "that's what the Mother/Elders/Ministers have always traditionally taught," what are the biblical reasons for preaching against birth control? Is it the "be fruitful and multiply" verses of the Old Testament? Is there anything in the New Testament that addresses this?

    If their only justification is those Old Testament verses, that's some real selective reading.

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  15. A 'MsRella' posted this blog comment about the situation on a news story link. Perhaps this will give us all some more insight into the situation. Finn Friend
    "Having been a member of the LLC for over twenty years and married to Nina's uncle, I would like to share this with you all. When you are a member and, as they call it a "believer", then you do not use birth control as it is considered a sin. Whether you like sex, don't like sex, want kids, or don't want kids. It's just one of their beliefs. And they know if you are cheating and using birth control if you don't have kids and you would be suspect, absolutely. They also do not believe in television, dancing, makeup, sports, or that anyone outside of their little cult group are going to go to heaven. I was married Nina's uncle years ago and I can tell you she was a beautiful little girl. I converted to the LLC religion for various reasons but could not live the way they insisted with the man made rules and condemning of everyone outside of the church. They are not all monsters, however they are all very brainwashed and delusional about many things in the real world. They only associate with one another for the most part and anyone who "doubts" the faith is considered lenient and if they denounce the teachings or even argue with them are considered "unbelievers" and hell bound. So, this girl was trapped. I feel she was in a prison of her own internally and she basically couldn't take it anymore and she snapped like a twig. She will be in a different kind of prison now, but hopefully she will get the help she desperately needs and someday find some real peace. My heart hurts for Nina. She the same age and played with my children when they were young. It's just a terrible thing to raise children to live with the burden that if they don't agree with the teachings of the church and live by them, then their is no hope of happiness or heaven. It's about control and brainwashing and since they almost live a commune type life, with all of their relatives (the church only grows from within with all the births, rarely does anyone outside of the families convert) if they do leave they would be all alone. I was able to get my kids together and leave years ago, which I consider a miracle.
    The girl was trapped, she snapped, and an innocent child died. My only hope is that someone in the area will perhaps take it up on themselves to help the suffering, struggling young people in the LLC, maybe offer a safe place to fall, and impress on them that NO, they are not wicked or evil for doubting the teachings, or leaving. Reiterate that, in fact, staying and condemning the whole rest of the world is far more sinful. I know that Nina was wrong and needs to be accountable, but folks, please consider the source. She was a conflicted, trapped, overwhelmed young lady with no resources, surrounded by people that loved her conditionally, as long as she stayed a "believer" . Unfortunately, the previous writer is correct saying that their self made preachers will preach, likely today, that only "true" believers are persecuted and it proves they are right, and the devil made this happen so they will doubt the truth and want to leave and go straight to hell. This tragedy did not have to happen. This is a little religious cult that has brainwashed their children from generation to generation. Once in a while a beautiful young flower comes along who just doesn't dare leave for the fear of hell, yet they cant live up to the ridiculous controlling rules. As horrific as this is, please try to have compassion for Nina." (Originally posted by MsRella)

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  16. Thanks for posting that comment, Finnfriend.

    I found the thread it was on, and encourage other to read the comments there.

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  17. Isn't it odd that we are discussing women's rights to their own body? How is it possible that so many women are unable to decide if they want children, let alone how many? And, some say this isn't a brainwashing religion...really, when the women are not free to make their own choices.

    What would happen if the women were free?

    How easy would it be to control free women?

    When you are born in captivity there is no way you can know freedom within the confines of your parents religion that you now have taken on for your own. What do you have to compare it too?

    It is like telling me that chocolate ice cream is the best, having never tasted another kind. How can you know?

    What we are suggesting, by real events happening to women and children, is that this lifestyle has victims who are the residual affect of adhering to the rules...of having to conform.

    I am not standing against religions who are taking away women's rights, I am standing for strong women who can make their own choices, who don't have to discuss with their preachers IF and When, they can use birth control.

    I am appalled that the church leaders are in the middle of what should be a couples right...within their own marriage.

    When you see how the church is injected into so many life choices, there is no way you can't not see it as a cult.

    No free woman would ever be submissive and voiceless where her body was concerned.

    And, little girls are taught to slowly give it up from the time they are small children. Mothers are raising submissive daughters...instead of strong independent ones. The legacy continues....until and unless the pattern is broken. And could it be broken while remaining in the church? Is it possible to be a strong independent women within the church?

    This is more about women's rights than religious rights....and yet most will defend religion, while it is wreaking havoc on the women within its pews.

    Beth Jukuri

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    1. I am told that in Finland, the state found that birth control bans violated the human rights of women to self-determination and control of their own fertility. If anyone has more information on this, please share it. The UN Declaration on Human Rights is not legally binding but could demonstrate when, where and why individual rights take priority over freedom of religion.

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  18. Have you felt unloved, controlled by fear, oppressed, vilified, pointed at, judged and condemned? Your only freedom and healing will come not from adopting the methods of your oppressor, but from learning how to deeply love yourself AND others, relieving yourself of the need to judge or to be right or to condemn or to vilify. Love is forgiving, love is freedom, love is what changes hearts and minds.

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  19. Wow, a very sad story that brings up strong feelings in many people.

    Having left the OALC just 6 weeks ago, my understandings about the church are very fresh. Birth control is considered a big NO. There ARE times when it is allowed, but like somebody mentioned it above, the woman needs to question whether it is TRULY necessary, or if the devil is tempting her to enjoy life with less burden. Most women conclude that if everybody else is able to handle all of those kids, then she should be able to as well. Feeling "less" if she doesn't, she holds it together (barely) and continues reproducing. I don't know this Nina, but her story is so familiar to me--I see it everywhere I look. She snapped, and this tragedy happened. If something is not done, I think we will see more of these tragic events happening.
    Some women think--well, my mother, and her mother, and her mother, etc. had 10, 12, 15 kids and did just fine. In reality, A)she probably didn't do just fine, she was just skilled at hiding it and B)there was much less stimulation back then. I think there is just so much happening around us all of the time, that our brains just go on the fritz after so much. Do pray for these young girls, that they can gather the strength to speak up when it is too much. My heart goes out to any child who is affected by abuse or neglect due to these situations. I see it all the time.

    24

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  20. Those in the LLC who claim there are choices and no rules, are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Plain and simple. I've heard so many people give convoluted and circuitous explanations on how they are free and there are no rules. The denial is mind blowing.

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  21. People in the LLC have been taught from birth to just be obedient and listen to the voice of the mother. They have no ability to think for themselves, or they are afraid to. They are told just to accept things they don't understand, and if you have a doubt about something that is taught, that doubt is a sin and you can have your sins and DOUBTS forgiven.
    The LLC has turned birth control into a matter of works, like you are a better Christian because you are having kids with wild abandon. You must disregard your doctors recommendations about child bearing, as we are to trust in God; He is the giver of life. Why even go to the doctor at all for any reason, if that is the case? Wake up, laesdots, you are not saved by having so many children you can't take care of them properly. Use your God given brain and do what is best for your own family.
    -NWPonderer

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  22. I just wanted to note that this sort of scenario would be unlikely to happen in the ALC or the IALC. I grew up in the IALC, and while I see there are some social problems in the church and gender imbalances, the birth control issue ceased to be much of a topic of discussion after the introduction of "the pill." Families that used to be 10-12 kids, by the 1960s and 70's, became 4-6 kids per family, and now it tends to be between 3-5, with only one or two families today with 7 or more children. No one in the IALC that I know would be against birth control in this scenario. Yet the IALC is still vital and intact as a community. So be careful should anyone paint all Laestadian-origin churches with the same broad brush. I am ex-IALC for several different reasons but its a far kinder environment to women and children than the LLC, FALC, or OALC, in my experience.

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    1. I don't know much about the IALC or ALC, but from everything I've heard and read this strikes me as very true. In the hierarchy of rigid/oppressive ideology, it seems to me the list might read (liberal to conservative):

      Unitarian
      IALC/ALC
      FALC
      LLC
      OALC
      Westboro Baptist

      *Credit to Ed for this list. Most of the discussion on this blog centers on the LLC & OALC, with some FALC, precisely because these types of issues don't affect the IALC and ALC as much.

      Delete
    2. Isn't it interesting that the male reporter made sure to add that this church is not related to the AMERICAN Laestadian Church, and then was corrected by the female reporter to say LUTHERAN.

      Is it possible that Laestadians have flown under the radar with law enforcement and CPS precisely because of that "Lutheran" in the name of their church?

      And that "preachers" have been mistaken for "pastors," e.g., presumed to have training in counseling?

      Delete
  23. I'm THRILLED I left that creepy, tortured religion years ago. I come from a long line of broken sisters who are mothers to 10+ children. Empty shells of what used to be vibrant, pretty young things.

    The LLC sucks the life right out of you...and anything fun is a sin. What a shame - one chance to live on this totally amazing earth and they are constantly looking over their shoulders if they have any fun at all. Music is a sin? Really? Totally legal, totally positive and a delight while driving (or doing anything, really). And they get to be on the internet but can't watch TV. Put that in your pipe and, er, smoke it (wait! they can smoke! So much for treating your body like a temple!)

    All this I say as a side note to the tragedy in PHX. May her children see beyond the confines of that awful, judgy place and write tell-all books. I hope they run as fast as they can from the giant vacuum that is the LLC, trying to suck them back into it's stinky belly.

    In fact, I'm ecstatic that something positive might come out of this terrible situation. Wouldn't that be cool if God all of a sudden said birth control was ok? Can't wait for the head minister to hear those voices and not mistake them for the "devil" hahaha

    -eating popcorn and watching this all unfold

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    1. A little morbid, eating popcorn, and I think saying that you're "ecstatic" will only feed the LLC perception that they're persecuted by the World. But I'm with you in that I hope positive change results from this tragedy instead of the LLC doubling down on its restrictive orthodoxy.

      But judging from Mr. Jurmu's comments on the most recent story on KPHO, I'm not holding my breath. "God created Nina with her mental illness. He gave her all the children she could bear. And if she couldn't handle more kids, God would've closed her womb." ... just, wow. I hope once he steps back and looks at what he said, he realizes how asinine that sounds.

      It'll be interesting to see if there is any actual followup to the story, and if Mr. Jurmu does in fact email the reporter back.

      Delete
    2. Here's the article:
      http://www.kpho.com/story/22102615/ex-member-pll-church-has-blood-on-its-hands

      Delete
  24. Honestly, in some ways I'm surprised that this hasn't happened sooner. In another way, I'm not, I have experienced first hand the stranglehold this organization can have, especially on females. Apart from the initial reactions of sadness, disgust, shock, empathy, etc., I also feel for Nina's husband Brad. Imagine wanting to support your wife but being under so many social pressures to continue to grow your family, the pressure of members whispering that something is wrong, and you as the head of the house aren't handing it, implying that you or your wife must have done something to fall out of God's favor. I am going to be paying VERY close attention to developments. I wonder if the same rhetorical b.s. will be used on the congregation this time, about how the choosen ones have always had to undergo "persecution." I could give the sermon myself, that is, if I were a male.
    In previous postinges here on this blog, I have seen a lot of insight and truth from those coming out of that particular darkness, "the church." I hope we can all use this as an opportunity to continue to educate those who need us to show them that life after leaving can be managed if they've had enough.
    Obviously I don't think it's ok to kill a baby. But can I understand? Yes. I have a couple kids, that is overwhelming, at least if you're trying to show them constant love and care. 9?! My mom had a lot of kids. I asked her how she did it, she honestly replied, I had to, so I did. I seriously cannot IMAGINE having to care for that many wee ones. Coupled with mental illness, well...! Why didn't the congregation step in when CPS was involved? They know everything, they had to have known that.
    The people of the PLLC loved that Mother's Day sermon, I have heard peices of it repeated even though I am no longer a member, but it makes me want to vomit for this very reason. I feel that the perpetuation of lies is the perpetuation of sin, that the pretense of knowledge should be an absorption of some of the blame, at least in the case of the PLLC. This could be a class action lawsuit, but seeing as how Nina's only visitors will be those trying to do damage control, it isn't likely to happen.
    -Pebbles

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  25. It's unfortunate but sometimes it takes a tragedy like this to open minds and change hearts. The child has already passed away so the past cannot be changed, but what about today, and the future? I left the FALC because I was tired of witnessing the hypocrisy and judgement by it's members and their was nothing to back up their religious theology. But, after I left, I would sometimes think about those that I knew who were still in the church who felt like I did. I've hoped and prayed that some of them would leave so they could experience the joy and freedom of thinking for yourself and not living in constant fear of whatever everything thinks of you. The friends I have still in the FALC just didn't have the courage to speak out about it to encourage change, or to just get up and leave. Even though this is a very sad tragedy, it does give me hope that some of the people in the FALC, OALC, and LLC will have their hearts and minds opened and it will lead to positive change. I hope this will help to change the social stigma in the church and Eric Jurmu will apologize for his statements. We can't dwell on what already happened, but lets talk about how it can be prevented from ever happening again. So like the popcorn eater who posted above, I will also sit back with interest as to how this whole situation unfolds.

    -EXFALC

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    Replies
    1. The news cycle is short and another tragedy is waiting in the wings.

      What can we do to prevent it?


      Delete
    2. What I think should happen "IMMEDIATELY" is that Eric Jurmu should resign from being a minister/pastor in that church and never say a word from the pulpit of that church, or any church for the rest of his life. He should also take back those statements he made and admit he was wrong. However, it will be a miracle is that happens because laestadian pharisees/ministers like him have a hard time admitting they were wrong or accepting criticism from others yet have no problem giving it to others and dictating from the pulpit how others should live their lives. Eric Jurmu should also be fully investigated by the State of Arizona and be sued for everything he has. Someone should also put this story on 20/20 so the entire nation and world can be reveiled the truth about this organization. That is what I think would give justice to that 6 day old baby.

      -EXFALC

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    3. "Eric Jurmu should also be fully investigated by the State of Arizona and be sued for everything he has."

      No.

      Like it or not, Eric has the freedom to speak his opinion on matters of faith. As long as he did nothing criminal, and I can't think of many scenarios where he would, this is not a road we should be travelling down.

      Let's keep this to constructive ideas on how we can make the world a better place for Laestadian families. I know that's difficult to do with such an emotionally raw story, but if we rush to condemnations and unfounded accusations we're no better off than the purveyors of hurtful rhetoric we've all heard spewed from Laestadian pulpits and gossipmongers.

      Delete
    4. I agree with FreeThinker, and as I said on another forum, Eric Jurmu is also a victim of this religion. He is not trained in critical thinking let alone pastoral care or counseling of the mentally ill. I'm sure he is devastated, as are all her friends and family, and my heart goes out to them.

      If any good can come of this, it recognition of our shared responsibility to care for the vulnerable among us, and then: feet on the street.

      That doesn't leave us former Laestadians off the hook. What are we doing to help? Are we raising awareness in our old communities, so people know others have left and thrived, and there's a way out for them, too? Are we providing a soft landing space for those brave enough to leave? Opening our homes and hearts? Are we shouting at the dark or lighting candles?

      I am motivated to do more, and I hope others here are, too.

      Delete
    5. Well put, Free.

      Delete
  26. I hope a lot of people end up reading this web site because of their google searches about the Phoenix Laestadian Church & that the light of day (the truth) is finally shown on the dark crevices of what the movement has become versus what it originally was. I think an investigative reporter would be shocked if he or she was to uncover the real beliefs of these churches. I noticed how out of fear the former member spoke with the news reporter with his image and voice blurred. That in itself is a loud statement that something bad is going on within the walls of the church. As I've said many times, there is one set of beliefs that Laestadians subscribe to for the inquisitive public and a second set of hidden beliefs which form their core values. IMO this double value/beliefs system is an ingredient for mental illness. Old AP

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  27. Just a thought...4/29/2013 01:02:00 PM

    http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/04/06/mental-illness-prevalent-in-parents-who-kill-their-children/53491.html

    This link talks about the connect between mental illness and mothers who kill their children. Any chance this could be strictly about the illness and nothing to do with her religion? Maybe at that point in her life she would have found even ONE baby to be too much? There are way too many news stories of mothers (outside of said religion) killing their children, even when they only have a few children.

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    1. Mental illness was almost certainly the biggest factor, Just a thought. And yes, history is replete with mothers killing their infants across all sociological demographics. I also don't think the LLC has "blood on their hands" (people, I know this is an explosive topic, but let's try to remain rational).

      However, I do think her life situation as a Laestadian -- nine kids/no birth control, being taught that Hell awaits you for a laundry list of mostly man-made "sins" -- exacerbated that illness. And I think to pretend otherwise is naive.

      Delete
    2. There is no doubt in my mind that mental illness is the primary cause of this tragedy.

      That does not escuse Nina's husband, family, church, preachers, and the CPS workers who knew about her fragile state of mind.

      In one of the comments (now removed) on the news article, a relative said that Nina's cousin was also diagnosed with schizophrenia but had "zero children" because she is getting appropriate care outside the church.

      Care. That thing Christians are called to give.

      To have known Nina's fragility and to have done nothing -- or worse, to have denied her help, is no less culpable than leaving a loaded shotgun in a room with toddlers.


      Delete
    3. Just a word of caution, Free. We don't know EXACTLY what her husband, family, church, preachers and CPS workers did or didn't do. They truly might have tried to get her help in various ways; how, or how much, or if at all, we just don't know yet.

      You know I'm with you on Laestadian reforms. And you and I both hope for positive change to come of this. I'm only coming from my personal observation that most of the people I know in Church are at heart, good people and not evil. I'd be surprised if NOTHING was done; I'd also wager that any help or advice offered WAS probably inadequate and/or misguided, and that's what we're here to fight against and change.

      Delete
    4. I agree, and that's why I used the limiting clause "who knew." Other than her husband's and CPS' testimony, we don't know who knew what.

      And I agree also about the good-heartedness of many in the Church. As tempting as it is to demonize others, it is their actions that must concern us.

      Delete
  28. good comment....but this blog is not about mental illness, it is mostly composed of said people who have left different branches this religion. For them (with exceptions) they gather here to find each other and help heal whatever they might have been wounded by. For the most part, they are civilised and not a bitter group. I have enjoyed reading their thoughts over the last few years although I will not write here. (once before) I believe all conversation about issues of faith should (when possible)be face to face or at the very least email where you know who you are communicating with.

    Now what happened was a tragedy to say the least. According to the news, the mother has been in and out of institutions with her problems, 3 years ago she had an accident and apparently said she wished to smother her children....CPA was contacted and apparently nothing was done or not enough, the mother was hollering for help but did not receive enough....and this happened...in my opinion, this has nothing to do with the church they belong to, but everything to the support system that failed her...in the end, she alone is responsible for her actions, unfortunately, but I cannot see (knowing what I have read) any court convicting her. She will be put where she belongs, a place that can finally help her...
    Now there are 8 children without a mother. Instead of attacking please help these children...I know none of these people personally but I feel the pain of the children...

    European...

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    1. Just a thought...4/29/2013 01:59:00 PM

      Wow, what a thoughtful comment European, and point taken. I love how you say she was hollering for help, and found none. Yes, this somewhat condones those ministers and various other members of the church, if you assume she was also turning to them for help, which is a pretty safe assumption, but it is not an issue of the church on its own. I understand people will say that it was the "rules" of her religion that contributed to the disease, but she could have just as easily gotten the disease(s) if she had never heard of this church in her entire lifetime. There were and are ways for her to have gotten the help she needed without compromising her beliefs as a member of this church.

      Delete
    2. Just a thought, please identify the ways she could have gotten help without compromising her beliefs.

      There are hundreds reading this today, no doubt some who could benefit from your advice.

      Delete
    3. Just a thought4/29/2013 03:06:00 PM

      It sounds as if she was in and out of institutions, which is one way of getting help. There are counsellors and physchiatrists who can help, there are volunteers and other people who are willing to take your child/children for a few hours/days a week so that you can get a break. Those are just the ones that come off the top of my head, I'd assume if I did extensive research there would, perhaps, be others?

      Delete
    4. I wish it was that simple. The mental healthcare system in America is seriously broken, and CPS is seriously underfunded.

      One of my friends tried to get help for her schizophrenic father when he refused to take his medications and became suicidal. She chronicled the story in the documentary "Unlisted" and has gone on to make another documentary about mental healthcare in other countries. Getting help isn't easy anywhere, least of all in conservative communities.

      Imagine that a psychiatrist told Nina to use birth control as well as psych meds that affected her energy levels and lactation, and might affect her nursing infants.

      How could compliance NOT compromise her beliefs?

      What kind of Sophie's choice is that, to lose one eternal salvation or stay crazy?

      To take the meds or trust that God would not give her more than she could handle?


      Delete
    5. To be clear, I don't know if anything like that happened, it's just theoretical, to make the point about the role of Laestadian religious belief in treatment.

      Delete
    6. Just a thought4/29/2013 08:41:00 PM

      'The mental healthcare system is seriously broken'? 'CPS seriously underfunded'? Exactly the point many have been trying to make here by saying you cannot blame the church. These members are not the ones with the knowledge and education to help, and it sounds as if those who were (the institutions she was in) failed her. Even if it was her religion that caused so many inner problems for Nina, I believe it would have been the job of her mental health professionals to help her realize this, Don't you? If I went to a psychologist for depression and it's actually caused by my husband verbally abusing me and I'm in denial,I'd hope they would do everything in their power to help me see that, and if they could not, they have failed me, yes? Not trying to blame anyone who was trying to help Nina with this, just trying to show another way as to how 'the system' may have failed her.

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    7. Just a thought,

      I agree with you that the system failed Nina. To say this issue is complex and multi-causal, however, does not absolve the church or its teachings. They were part of the system.

      Laestadianism is the focus of this blog, so naturally that's what we are talking about.

      Thanks for weighing in.

      Delete
  29. Nothing to do with the church? Yet everything to do with the support system?

    The church *was* her support system.

    If you have not been in an American Laestadian community, perhaps that is not easily understood.

    Her church family failed her and her husband failed her.

    Expecting someone who is mentally ill (and "deteriorating" per her husband) to care for nine children is not only abusive of HER but neglect and endangerment of her children. Nina was a loaded gun!


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    1. Just a thought4/29/2013 02:11:00 PM

      Hm. The church was her support system? Yes, it is a peice of it, but there are many within the church who would never let these kinds of things be known in the church because they don't want people to gossip, and so they quietly turn elsewhere for help. (Yes, I will wholeheartedly agree this needs to change, but it is not a fault of the church at it's core) Expecting the church to be her entire support system is a little like expecting your family doctor to cure your cancer, in my opinion. You need the family doctor, and the cancer specialist, and the nurse, and the xray tech and so on and so forth. You cannot simply blame the family doctor--the church in this analogy.

      Delete
    2. It's easy for you to say that, looking at it objectively. Unfortunately for many Laestadian families, the church is the ONLY support system. When you're brought up in such tunnel vision, you can't even imagine going for outside support or help. And that's what we're trying to change.

      Delete
    3. I didn't say her entire support system, although for someone born into the church and a stay-at-home mother, the exceptions were probably her doctors.

      The church doesn't even come *close* to being a family doctor in your analogy. For one thing, doctors are mandated reporters. They have not only an ethical obligation but legal one to provide help. Further, family doctors are trained to inquire and analyse.

      Laestadian preachers are trained to pray and obey.

      Delete
    4. Just a thought4/29/2013 02:35:00 PM

      I have to respectfully disagree, growing up I never saw the church as my ONLY support system. The main one? yes. The "most important" one? Yes. But never the 'only' one. I'm sorry to hear that it is different for others. Again, I agree that this would need to change, but I also don't believe the Church, in general, teaches that it should be the only support system, at least not still today.

      Delete
    5. Just a thought4/29/2013 02:52:00 PM

      Free- I am just wondering if you have ever dealt with someone in your life who has or has had a serious mental illness? Yes, perhaps the church, and her husband failed her, but probably not from lack of trying. This is not something you get over in a day. The support system was lacking since this is what came of it, but you cannot blame the husband, you cannot blame the church, without knowing what was and was not done to help her. If they denied her help when she begged for it, then yes, they are at fault, if they helped her with all the assistance that is available in todays day and age, then it is a severe tragedy of life.... "getting over" a mental illness is not a walk in the park.

      And the analogy was not meant to be so precise, call the church the "woman at the desk who checks you in" if you want, I was only trying to state that it is simply a peice of the puzzle, not the whole thing.

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    6. I understand your point, and it's a valid one. We simply don't know to what extent she was helped. However, her husband's admission that she was deteriorating is a good sign that it wasn't working, and nursing a 6-day old all night while recovering from childbirth is a challenge even for the mentally healthy.

      I had two children and PPD (post-partum depression) with both, so I've been there and know that there is simply no way I could have cared for other children at that time. I got all the help I needed, like every woman deserves.

      Without a doubt, my own experiences inform my views on this. Not only my experiences as a mother, but in seeing how mothers in the Church coped, or didn't, depending on so many factors, and my experience with those suffering from mental illness. Like you said, it is no walk in the park.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Delete
  30. Copied from a news story blog comment that I know several people on here have read based off the duplicate commenting.... and commenting that 'this was entirely preventable' please do take this into consideration and have some sense of compassion on this poor family. Have you guys stopped to consider what the poor family and kids is going to have to go through by people rushing to the media and as whoever posted this blog wrote "But please, stay angry. Let your anger motivate action. Talk to your relatives. Write to the preachers. Leave a comment on the news article. Write to the court. Do something. Here is the quote from the media article which is possibly quite relevant in this case: "Do you know anyone with schizophrenia/bipolar/depression? Do you have the slightest clue what it's like inside the mind of someone like that? Ever stop to think that maybe she didn't really do it and it is her illness talking? "Schizophrenia: is a mental disorder that makes it hard to: Tell the difference between what is real and not real; Think clearly; Have normal emotional responses; Act normally in social situations." Every mother that loses a child goes through guilt and someone with schizo/bipolar/depression plus post partum simply cannot mentally handle that stress and may say things they didn't do. The article says "possible signs of suffocation" if she really did pinch and twist her nose smother and suffocate her wouldn't there be obvious signs? Innocent until proven guilty yet everyone is so quick to believe what they read the media telling them. Did she say "I have too many kids" or did CPS ask her because THEY think she had too many kids? Yes either way she is mentally un-fit to be a parent but quit believing everything you read!!! There are far more cases out there where this has happened and it was the mothers FIRST child than a mother with her ninth child. First time I've heard of this with a family this big, anyone else? Google moms that suffocate their baby and the stories are endless. What about those moms? It's not that horrific because it was only their first? I could go on...."

    Please have compassion

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    1. You make a good point, Compassion. We have all been guilty of jumping to conclusions on details of the case, and as I pointed out abovethread, that's not a responsible way to act. For my part, I apologize.

      However, I will point out that Eric Jurmu's comments, if transcribed accurately by the reporter, were pretty asinine. And however it played out with poor Nina, the church's teachings on birth control, motherhood and a whole host of other issues are unhealthy and unChristianlike. And I hope that changes.

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    2. I do, in fact, know several people with bipolar and one with schizophrenia. The commenter's points are well taken. It is possible that the baby was not intentionally suffocated despite the mother's confession.

      In my heart of hearts, I hope that little Maya died of SIDS.

      But to believe her husband lied about his wife's mental illness and deteriorating state, or CPS records are wrong, and that the preacher didn't mean what he said about birth control being a sin, or about God closing up the womb, etc.? That's unlikely.

      Those deserve a response. As much as some would like this to just go away, there are lessons here for all of us, inside AND outside the church, if we are ready to listen.

      Thanks for sharing the comment.

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    3. Compassion, I know people with schizophrenia. Personally, intimately. I KNOW that as a person of influence in their lives, I would NEVER encourage, either via implication or direct expression, that it would be ok to try for more of "God's Gifts." There is no room for "it is meant to be" if it happens. It isn't "happening." A baby is, after 8 of them, created knowingly. I am in 100% agreement with you as far as us all being judgemental and judging when we don't know for sure. However, the facts are still the facts. We know a baby died, her husband stated she suffered from mental illness and visited institutions, Mr. Jurmu indeed gave a sermon that is publicly recorded disputing the validity of using birth control, and the accused admitted her reasonings to police. Those of us who have exposure to the environment may have been a bit anxious for our cause to get the attention that it deserves. I don't think anyone really wants to destruct the LLC- they would just like to see the covers pulled off, and the darkness to be revealed, so that real change could be affected.
      The church WAS her support system. Her husband WAS her support system. Other than that, she probably didn't have much of one. We that fairly close know that often, moms of big families feel relieved to go to the grocery store alone. How was she to go about going to receive professional care that is, when prescribed, still subject to the feeling of the Mother congregation? (A bunch of lay-ministers, who as stated above, have nothing except a reputation of tradition to protect.) Was she to carry along most of her children with her to her numerous appointments and risk something slipping out about where she went? It's a very depthy situation. Do I think the church should be sued? No, not for monetary purposes. Wrongful death? Maybe.
      European- I would argue that helping the babies and the kids would be to ensure they are wanted and going to be cared for when they arrive.
      Peace.
      -Pebbles

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    4. Just a few quick comments--Even mothers of one feel relieved to go to the grocery store alone- I know, I have nannied for and talked to plenty of them, as well as been one myself (yes, even with only one I feel a sense of freedom in going ANYWHERE alone sometimes).

      She could get professional help in the same way everyone else in this world does, by scheduling it when her husband is home or by hiring a babysitter.

      As far as the "a baby is, after 8 of them, created knowingly" comment, you can KNOW you are trying for one, but that doesn't mean you are getting them....yes, the chances are good, but not guaranteed.

      -O

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    5. Perhaps it is time to acknowledge the consequences to women and children, husband and family, for abiding by rules....putting a far away heaven in front of the wellness of many. To see the cost, albeit at the highest end of the spectrum. It has gotten us all talking.

      There are many angles this tragedy can be looked at, and I believe, there will not be one root cause, but many contributing factors...and it was a slow train wreck in the making....she is only one of many tragedies, hers happened to make the papers.

      She may be the one to open up the darkness. Her life, her daughters life are here to teach us...enlighten us and to break the silence.

      We all will not be articulate or politically correct, but our voices together will resound with the desire to awaken and enlighten and to start the conversation for change.

      Change isn't easy, it isn't pretty, nor is it done without lots of anguish and heartache. If it was easy, it would have happened a long time ago.

      I am hopeful, that with the internet and the courage to speak out and share, we can further the cause more rapidly than it could have happened in my parents era.

      It is good we come from many walks of life and from many experiences and we can all bring in different points of light upon these subjects.

      With courage and daring to be outspoken, we will speak and someone will hear.
      Beth Jukuri

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  31. If Nina truly was that ill, and her husband knew it, and she had indeed been in and out of hospitals, and birth control is indeed a sin that can put one straight to hell, then the responsibility is on BRADLEY to keep his pants buttoned up. He should no longer have been having sex with his wife, sorry. They expect singles to remain chaste, even if its a lifelong battle, so everyone should be pointing at him for being unable to control his impulses. The blood is on Bradley's hands as well. Otherwise, he should have been content with non-penetrative forms of sex with his wife.

    Women like Nina are no better off than those behind the burka.

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    1. Just a heads-up, I've heard that it is sin for a man to "spill his seed" outside of a womans body. I kid you not.
      Also, in the wedding vows, and echoed your entire life, a woman "must submit to her husband."

      24

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    2. Masturbation? Of course that's a sin, 24, along with just about anything fun. ;)

      The "spilling the seed" reference comes from the Old Testament account of Onan, a minor character in the Book of Genesis. From Wikipedia:

      "After Onan's brother Er died, his father Judah told him to fulfill his duty as a brother-in-law to Tamar, by giving her offspring. Centuries later, in the days of Moses, this practice was formulated into a law of a levirate marriage, where the brother of the deceased would provide offspring to the childless widow to preserve the family line.

      However, when Onan had sex with Tamar, he disregarded this principle when he withdrew before climax and "spilled his seed [or semen] on the ground", since any child born would not legally be considered his heir. He disregarded the principle of a levirate union, so he died prematurely, exactly as God had warned would happen."

      Just another classic example of a twisted, narcissistic Old Testament God. That guy was one angry dude.

      Delete
  32. In response to the comments regarding her mental illness. Yes, there is a possibility that she confessed to something she didn't do, and we should not rush to judgement of that. It really doesn't change much, however. Speaking as a mental health professional, I would say the following: If she was truly suffering from Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia, then at least statistically speaking, her having that many children would be considered to have likely exacerbated her mental illness. Studies show that a majority of females with schizophrenia who become pregnant experience a worsening of their mental illness. It is also known that many psychotropic medications are not "safe" to take during pregnancy.
    The fact that not having more children is unnacceptable and equals damnation if one uses birth control, means that she was put in an untenable situation. Her medical doctors would have advised no further children, but to use birth control is a sin. For one raised in and accepting that culture, or one fearful of the pain of leaving, that is a horrible option.
    I wonder if there is any medical condition that is potentially life threatening for males that would pit doctor's advice against salvation?
    Remember to pray for Nina, and her family. May God hold them and comfort them.
    Peace
    Brian Martin MSW, LICSW

    by the way, what is with the anonymous nature?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brian, thanks for joining the conversation.

      I don't know of any medical condition that would pit the doctor's advice against salvation. Are men told not to get radiation for prostate cancer? Not in my albeit limited experience.

      Anonymity is explained up top in the right margin. It's optional.

      Delete
    2. Brian--

      Someday I will unveil who I am, and it's possible that there are OALC members who peek (they are warned against "evils" such as this) at this blog and identify who I am. I left the OALC just 6 weeks ago. Every action I make is being examined. Participating in this blog and other forums labels me as being an "evil worker." That means that I am in ranks with the devil and working with all my might to lure christians from the church. People try to put into words what the mental stronghold is like being raised in these strict churches but it is almost impossible to imagine unless one has been there. If that helps explain the anonymity?
      Thanks for joining in!

      24

      Delete
  33. What do you all think people did before birth control was invented?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've often wondered if abstaining is also considered a sin? (I should know this as I am ex-OALC, but cannot remember ever hearing while a member. And I also know "rules" have changed since I left.) Anyway, my husband and I are trying to conceive now and there is actually a very narrow window. There are also home ovulation test you can use. Would it be an option for women to use these and not have intercourse during that window?
      Just Wondering....

      Delete
    2. Just wondering- I can't say as to what the 'official' answer is, but as far as I understand, abstinence and home ovulation tests are perfectly okay in the llc. The complaint I've heard comes when people look at you funny for not having kids. Or as many kids. But, I know quite a few moms who are honestly trying to have kids and can't seem to, and they Don't experience this. Perhaps others have.

      Delete
  34. I can tell all you speculators, that Eric's words were taken way out of context. If you have any experience with the media, you would know this. And if you knew what Eric truly said during this interview, you would know that too. I know. And they portrayed them completely wrong. To talk about him the way some of you are is what's asinine. If you want to know the facts, call him. The speculating about nina and brad and the help they have or haven't gotten is asinine. Assuming without a doubt that she is guilty is asinine. Blaming the church is asinine. If they wanted to leave, they have always had that option. If you know anything about the llc you would know that NO ONE is forcing you to stay there. For the Minnesota accented anonymous person who was interviewed is a coward. Show your face. If our religion is so horrible, speak your mind freely without disguise. If you want the truth about our religion, visit our pastor or any other minister throughout North America, or come sit in services. This blog is not where you will find your answers. This blog is a place where you will find all the negative of our religion. Don't be judgmental until you know for yourself. I know many people who have left faith that have not turned on the church by bashing them. They disagreed with our faith so they LEFT. They have not been shunned. If you left and have felt shunned, then ask yourself, how did I leave? Did I leave with an attitude? But again, I will say this. Before you bash Eric, call him. He is open and honest and will tell you the truth. And if you don't want the truth, then keep watching the media and there twisting of words.
    -saddened

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for providing an excellent example of why so many of us here have left this toxic religion. The double standards are just breathtaking: A preacher’s words, quoted in full and conveying the exact import of his message, are “taken out of context.” Meanwhile, those same preachers cherry-pick the Bible for a few scattered passages in support of an uncompromising blanket prohibition on birth control.

      The best one they’ve got is God’s command to Noah as he dried out his laundry on a mountainside in a world emptied of all animal and human life. (Let’s ignore for the moment the obvious fact that the story has no historical truth, a myth copied from the Epic of Gilgamesh.) Hmmm, God said “be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Well, we certainly can’t argue that coercing stressed-out, overworked mothers to bring child number nine (or eleven, or thirteen) into a world of seven billion people would be taking that passage out of context, could we? I could go on and on. In fact, as many readers here know, I already have.

      Though I no longer consider the Bible much of an authority about anything, you do, and I would like to quote some of it to you, Mr. or Mrs. Saddened. To you and your church, from Matthew 23:23-27:

      “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

      “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

      “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

      “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

      Delete
  35. Saddened....
    I am confused. I was raised in the Church. I am curious what was taken out of context?. The quote sums up the belief system. What part is not accurate?
    Mental illness is seen as a cross one bears....no disagreement, as long as appropriate care is allowed. Which, at least in more recent times probably is, for the most part.
    The use of birth control is a sin. accurate portrayal.
    Children are a gift. accurate portrayal.
    God doesn't give more children than someone can handle, if he wouldn't have wanted her to have more children, he would have closed her womb. Again, accurate portrayal of the beliefs.
    If you want to discuss the ludicrous nature of that statement, I will be glad to engage.
    Peace be with you,
    Brian Martin

    ReplyDelete
  36. -saddened

    Stockholm syndrome is a possibility into why he chose to keep his identity private. I have previously felt threatened by Laestadians for simply voicing my thoughts on my experience in the church..Something to think about before you call him a coward..

    My thoughts are with Nina and her children..

    ReplyDelete
  37. Saddened-
    The person on the news is FAR from a coward. He is braver than most people I know. He knows exactly what the consequences are to reveal his identity, and so do you, Saddened. There is no room for differing opinions on SMALL things in the LLC, if they are not in line with the currently accepted teaching (even that changes year by year). I'm willing to bet that whenever you had even a slightly differing opinion on 'doctrianl' stuff, you did not dare to speak up, and that you just prayed the differing thought/doubt would be takent away. For sure people don't argue with the ministers. To pretend like you don't know why he did that (covered up), or that that he is a coward for doing so, makes you a liar, in my opinion.

    Furthermore, this 'coward' you speak of, has done a great service for Nina and her family. I think it softens the public perception of them, so what he did was a wonderful thing for her and the family. Thanks whoever you are for thinking more about the family suffering than of protecting the church you came from. Thank you, Thank you. You are a brave man.

    -Eyeswideopen

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you so much for posting this. I live in AZ and am an ex-laestadian. Since I saw it on the news on Friday night, I have been torn up and not sure where to turn or who to talk to. There are so many nasty comments being posted on various news sites with people angry at her. As we know, she has been brain washed. I need a place to express my thoughts and you posted such a well written blog, I just needed to thank you for lifting a load off my shoulders. What can I do to help this situation? I am talking to my Laestadian family members but I don't feel it will make a big enough impact. My sister is 38 and has 9 kids. It just as easily could have been her.
    Livefree7

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Livefree7,
      Thanks for commenting. I know many of us feel frustrated and want to help. Some ideas:

      f you know people in the church, ask if there is a way to help the family. Is there a bank account set up to help with legal costs, missed work, childcare, etc.? Can you set one up?

      Writing to the preachers may sound futile, but they are human beings. Honor their grief, and tell them frankly what changes you'd like to see in the church.

      Clicking on and commenting on news articles will encourage producers to do follow-up stories that shed light on this issue.

      Consider starting a support group (online or in real life).

      Reach out to local school counselors. They may be the first ones to detect signs of neglect in the home, and if the more they know about Laestadianism, the better they can be at their jobs.

      If you want to email me at extoots (at symbol) gmail (dot) com, please do.

      Delete
  39. Interesting that "sadden" too isn't showing her face, by using her name, as she sees one hiding theirs, a coward.

    It is hard to stand without hiding, but often there is a reason for doing so.

    Just as the mother is now named, her child, her family and her religion....all are exposed. And, in doing so may now be the catalyst for change.

    When we have a name, we have understanding.
    Names hold our whole lives.

    Beth Jukuri

    ReplyDelete
  40. I just want to point out that the laestadian religion isn't the only religion who claims birth control to be sin; catholics and eastern orthodox also do(to name a few biggies) There seems to be a good biblical argument for AND against birth control. I don't want to argue the points here but if any are curious I suggest googling the topic and find a few sites as they are not all very complete and each will interpret chosen biblical quotes a little different than the other.

    With that said, I agree with EOP's biblical quotes above. These religions are missing the whole point of their faith.

    I also find it curious why they pound fruitfulness in their heads based off a few quotes in the Bible but completely ignore other Bible passages.

    Off topic but I have a question for the "striving" ones.... If you were to paraphrase laestadius And Jesus and change a few words in his sermons, (such as pharisee to laestadians, Jews to laestadians and gentiles to mean "wordly" people) would it actually still fit? i believe it would even tho you interpret it to hold yourselves to be the gentiles you're actually, in this generation, the religious zealots.
    -my view

    ReplyDelete
  41. I always struggled as a child to understand the teaching that some of my relatives were saved and others weren't, given that they were spread out across various Laestadian splinter factions. Of course, we were part of "The One True Flock" (LLC or as it was referred to when I was a kid AALC) and the rest were "heretics".
    Going around the room at holidays upon leaving was always interesting...who do I saw "Gods Peace" to. (why would I not wish it to all) Ironic that I used to laugh at more mainstream fundamentalist churches.
    Brian

    ReplyDelete
  42. I would like to ask how you interpret Andrea Yates and Dena Schlosser (If you don't know of them, google them, they are easily found) who both killed their children for 'religious reasons' and were struggling with mental health issues at the time. Yes, Andrea was in a bit more of a 'weird' religion, but as far as I can tell, Dena was not. Should these church's be 'shut down' as well since these woman did horrible things 'according to their beliefs'?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nobody here has said the PLLC needs to be shut down. Why would you imply that, if not to marginalize the voices here? Are you a church apologist?

      If you are sincerely asking whether religious influence in other cases of infanticide should be analyzed, what do you think?

      Should churches and their teachings be above scrutiny?

      Delete
    2. Just saying that these women all have one thing in common, not their faith, lifestyle, or religion; but their illness. Perhaps we are fighting the wrong battle with examining the church. There are, in reality, many women in this church, and I have not heard of any others killing their kids. If there are others they are extremely few and far between. There is evil, tragedy, sadness within every religion.

      Examine the church, if you must, but be sure you are getting both sides of the story. Not just that of ex members who have negative emotions invested, but also of those who are happy and emotionally satisfied in the church. I also Don't think anyone who has left under negative circumstances has what is needed to look at it objectively. Nor, perhaps, does someone who is happy as it will be hard for them to accept that another's experience is so radically different

      Delete
  43. So you don't want the church to be shut down, you would just like the church to change their teachings to suit you. Gods word doesn't change. If you want the change, then feel free to leave. There is your change. And if you have left, then why do you care if they change since you are no longer there?
    Just wondering

    ReplyDelete
  44. This is just so sad reading all the comments on here....I am so sorry if you had a bad experience in this church but not all people have!! Whatever happened to a persons right to religion? You all sit here a bash the LLC....MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE!!! I understand a persons life experiences shape them but this is getting a bit ridiculous!! We are all entitled to the right to religion!!! QUIT MOCKING THAT RIGHT!!! Like I said sorry you had a bad experience, but what if the people still in that church started a blog about those who left? It seems as if you all wait for something bad to happen in the church then just run with it! Does it make you feel better to have something bad happen like this?

    Anyways the reason for this post is what do people normally do in this country in the case of a horrific incident?... they come together!! Lets show some support for Nina, her husband and family!! She has a very real illness here so lets pray for her!! Stop ripping the husband apart...don't you think he is already doing that to himself?

    Seriously...."Sitting here eating popcorn watching this unfold", "Toxic Religion", "Sue the minister for all he is worth", "Sue the Church for wrongful death" (of yeah....just what the world needs is another lawsuit...I stubbed my toe at church...maybe I should sue them!) "The blood is on Bradley's hands" WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? These comments are all so wrong in so many ways!!!

    So instead a bashing the LLC...pray for them. Pray for Nina and her husband and children!!! Show a little love and compassion for some people that are going through horrific times!!! and yes Beth and Brian, I will remain anonymous as I have lived by those that have left or are still with the LLC and do not wish to cause harm or hurt!! I just wanted to say my little piece and that's it! I realized I don't have to come on hear but this came up when I looked up her name!

    Prayers for Nina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cannot comment for anyone other than myself, but I don't think any of my comments were mocking, But if you disagree, please point them out, and I will gladly apologize. I agree, pray for Brad and Nina, and for Eric. Pray for the ministers and board members who advised a family I know not to bring their sexually abused kids in to therapy. Pray for the kids who were perpetrated against, then asked for forgiveness, only to be perpetrated against again. I obviously know that sexual abuse happens across societal divisions and religious denomination, but closed environments tend to be breeding grounds for abuse, no pun intended.
      Brian

      Delete
    2. PFN-
      What is "wrong" with us people is that we have endured many atrocities and "wrongs" by those masquerading as members of the one true faith. Since you found my comment regarding a wrongful death lawsuit so inflammatory, let me break it down for you. I know it will be probably be difficult for you to understand since the LLC has taken a stand against lawsuits, frivolous or otherwise. Any thing or person that contributes in any provable fashion to someone's death or demise can be held accountable in a court of law. Am I saying that Eric Jurmu should be prosecuted? Maybe not, as he was born into the LLC himself and like it or not is a victim, yes, a victim of circumstance as well as you or the rest of us. (I actually know Eric and don't think he's a bad guy.) However, I feel leaders DO need to take responsibilty for the instruction that is passed down.
      I think most people here that are EX's are not trying to "bash" the LLC, merely trying for some accountability and change. Yes, we respect that you have the freedom to believe how you want, but we do not respect or agree with you (and your church,)abusing the freedoms of others, including spiritual freedom.
      Move on with our lives? This is how we do it. Unfortunately, if you tell us that you have the right to believe how you want, then we should have the right to provide a place for people struggling with their beliefs to go. Everyday I am thankful that this site is in existence. According to the gospel, God created all things and allows all things for HIS own purposes. We're not mocking it, truth is not mocking, telling it like it is is not mocking. I'll agree that some of our comments are emotional, (which may be why you feel it is offensive,) but your note here is littered with strong punctuation and capital letters that would also indicate strong emotion.
      You don't need to start a blog about those of us who have left. If you did, then everyone would have proof, instead of just hearsay, of the convoluted, bigoted, archaic, mean, narrow minded and self righteous things members say. Everyone knows that it happened by the following Sunday. Probably by the end of the month everyone who knew you or knew of you across the country would "know." And because I have lived it, I can tell you that almost none of this old-school word of mouth blog is trying to find ways to help the one who left.
      Many of us, I'm sure probably all of us that still believe in God or a higher power, are praying for the family AND the church. (Some of us, such as Free, want to actually DO something for the FAMILY...which I don't think to date has still happened even within the PLLC congregation?!) Our prayers may sound a little different than yours. They might echo a verse that states what is lost will be found, what is hidden shall be revealed. We probably would pray for healing, and protection for the other surviving members. We have SOOOO much love that we want to help people like you, that only believe what you have been told, so that you do NOT need to be a part of the group mentality that perpetuates, knowingly and unknowingly, crimes of varying degrees.
      I'm sorry that you had a bad experience viewing this blog. Maybe you should have a discussion about it tomorrow night. By the way, why were you looking up Nina's name? Shouldn't you go to the source if you had a question?
      I am also sorry if I am responding in a catty way, but as you asked us what was wrong with us, which implies that you really feel something is. I am praying that your God personally touches your heart and pricks at your conscience to redirect your frustrations in the way that He wants you to. Peace.
      -Pebbles

      Delete
  45. To all current Laestadiams, imagine if it really was as preached, that ALL you needed to do was to believe your sins forgiven. That is NOT the case in the church. If it were, there wouldn't be a list of things a person shouldn't do, the Holy Spirit that guides you would still be guiding. Those things you feel in your heart that really do not make sense to be sin, that is the spirit of truth within you. Trust it, and don't be afraid to seek answers elsewhere. If you believe God guides you, then let Him guide you as you seek the truth.
    -NWPonderer

    ReplyDelete
  46. Just wondering, putting aside for a moment the notion that the Bible is the unerring "God's Word", man's interpretation of the Bible has changed dramatically throughout the years. Laestadius (and Takkinen, et al.) pretty much made up their own interpretation wholecloth, as did Luther, all the way back to the Council of Nicea. In fact, current Laestadianism in almost all its forms bears almost no resemblance to the forest-elf preachin', fire-and-brimstone ramblings of Laestadius. (Although the OALC, from what I've read, comes closest).

    Not only that, but the innumerable translations of the Bible itself have changed the meaning of its passages as well. (The KJV is generally considered a fairly poor translation). As such, the argument that "Gods word doesn't change" simply doesn't hold water. I mean, for crying out loud, God's "word" (rules) can change year-to-year depending on what the Elders or Mother decides is ok now.

    So to answer your final question, almost everyone here grew up in a Laestadian home. Many were devastatingly impacted by the Church's destructive and negative teachings, and will struggle with those impacts their entire life. So, yes, even though most here have left, they have a vested interest in making sure that type of negativity doesn't affect current members or the next generation.

    ReplyDelete
  47. To "Just wondering," the church HAS changed throughout its history (just compare the LLC with the OALC). The church WILL continue to change. If you think the interpretation of "God's Word" does not change, you are being willfully ignorant, and nothing I can say will persuade you.

    Why do I care? I care because Laestadianism misled and harmed me as a child, and is continuing to mislead and harm people. If you deny that, again, you are being willfully ignorant and nothing I can say will persuade you.

    To "Prayers for Nina," this blog has existed for almost a decade, and provides a place for many voices. Read a little more before you generalize. If you think I wait for something "bad to happen in the church, and then run with it," skim through the past decade of posts, and if you still believe that, there is nothing I can say to persuade you.

    To both of you, ask yourself why your criticism is published here. Does your church allow itself to be criticized? Does it respond to its critics? Is a dialogue even possible?

    Keep listening and reading and talking, fellow travelers. We each have a responsibility to the truth and to each other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks like you and I are on the same page today, Free. :)

      Delete
    2. LOL. So when are you going to do a guest post, my freethinking friend?

      Delete
    3. Maybe some day, Free. The problem is, I'm still a dues-paying member of the FALC, and it'd be tough to write something personal without giving away my identity. And even though "our" church is not quite as rigid as the LLC and OALC, and there would probably still be those who would cast aspersions my way.

      And I'm not going to write anything historical or theological. Ed's more than got that covered, what with his years of study and two books. Half the time when I post I'm cribbing from his writings anyway. :)

      Delete
  48. To just wondering and prayers for Nina,
    Its funny how double standards are brought out isn't it? And before you agree and point fingers at the bloggers here I want to point out that YOU blogged the opinion that others shouldn't blog their opinion.
    The Bible doesn't change?! Hmmmm, I wonder if that's what the catholics told Luther and the Lutherans told laestadius when they went against the church teachings?!?
    Why don't people just get on with their lives and leave laestadians alone?!? Again, that's a double standard because if Luther or laestadius did that very thing (not challenge the church) YOUR religion would look a whole lot different today. So.... It was a good thing laestadius challenged the church but its not ok for us to challenge laestadians? Oh, wait... I just heard.....that laestadius understood the truth that evaded the world.....i guess we all can put down our Bibles now and just listen to the laestadians interpretation. ( fyi, I'm being sarcastic in case anyone is wondering)

    ReplyDelete
  49. I was not saying they shouldn't blog their opinion...just that they could be a bit nicer about it. Did you not read some of the mean comments out there? Is this how the ex members all act? Can't they leave in peace and speak about their experience with respect without completely BASHING others? That is all I was saying is this is really MEAN!! Sarcastic attitudes aside this is not about you or me... there is a troubled woman out there that needs love and prayer and help...and all that is happening is bashing her husband and faith! That is wrong! I don't want to get into a religious argument with you or anyone as you could speak circles around me!! I live simply and believe simply! I just think these comments could show a little compassion!!


    Prayers for Nina

    ReplyDelete
  50. I'm curious, PFN, was Laestadius "bashing" the Lutheran Church and the whoremongers and whiskey merchants? Or was that righteous anger?

    I won't speak for the comments on other sites, but the ones here don't come remotely close to Laestadius-level.

    When your simple faith has set up a bank account for Nina's legal fees, please let us know. I'm not getting any response from the church, and I'd like to donate.

    Prayers aren't enough.





    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Free.... like I said mean also rude and condescending....then mail the donation to the family...why to the church? You know who she is so look it up! And yes...prayers are sometimes all you have!! It doesn't hurt to have a little faith in something! Like I said I won't get into a religious based argument with you as I couldn't keep up...just simple beliefs here!

      Prayers for Nina

      Delete
  51. Are you suggesting I google Nina's home address and mail donations there? This is not typical of funds following tragedies, and I certainly would not feel comfortable using or sharing Nina's address.

    Look at the mote in your own eye, PFN.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Free....did I say to share her address? No. I am certain there are ways to get a donation to her without going through the church. Just saying any reason to blame the church for something... Like I said "mote in your own eye" you are losing me again. I am not as intelligent as you! Lets all come together in kindness to help her!

    PFN

    ReplyDelete
  53. It is interesting that people outside the OALC think they know the "scoop". Free, some of your posting are somewhat appalling since your knowledge of this religion is some 30 plus years old. I am a member of the OALC and I have had various "life events" that I could not have made it through without the help and advice from my preachers. They know everything about me, they have recommended medical and psychological help for me as well as my family. And guess what? My wife is on birth control due to medical issues. Sure we don't spread this around, but we are very comfortable with the advise we have been given. So please....everyone, before you post false information, get the facts. What I have is an incredible blessing that I wish all of my co-workers and people I know, could experience. My friends on the outside of my faith, make comments about how incredible my support system is. I wish you all could have it too. It is obvious by reading these blogs that there is truly alot of turmoil and unrest in a share of these posters. I pray that you can find peace and focus on the positive side of life and most importantly.....God's Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Thankful,

    My experience within the church is old (thank heavens!), my knowledge, however, is fresh. I speak frequently with those still inside, and those who have recently left. Not that much has changed, unfortunately.

    It's great that you have support and your wife is on birth control, and I'm happy you have found happiness. As I have said before, you can ask any of my relatives if I have ever tried to talk them out of the church. I haven't.

    Truly, if it works for you, if it satisfies your spiritual and intellectual needs, I have no beef, as long as your actions do not harm others. I feel the same way about Mormons and Scientologists, even though I consider their philosophies bunk.

    As for turmoil and unrest, they exist in many lives inside and outside the church. What does the OALC do to address that, other than praying that God will send people to their door?

    ReplyDelete
  55. I have been on vacation and just read all 102 comments. What a complex topic! So many of us, on both sides of this issue, have tunnel vision. I think this is human nature, to some extent, so this blog is beneficial to both groups.

    One person above asked why Nina's mental health caregivers didn't do more. I don't believe this person has ever had to deal with the mental aspect of our health care system. It is broken. My sister has been in and out of full-care and day programs for the past several months, costing the family thousands of dollars, and never once did she have one-on-one counseling within the clinic/hospital setting after the initial session for admission. I personally have no faith in this system helping her in any constructive way.

    Our running conversation here in invaluable, even for those with strong negative feelings about our comments. Once someone has read this blog, they can never again be in ignorance of how we exes feel. And knowledge changes one forever. You can never go back to unknowing.

    Peace and Blessings to Everyone.
    SISU

    ReplyDelete
  56. Thankful,
    As long as you toe their invisible line the OALC does have a wonderful support system!! The problem is that as soon as a person steps past the line that support system crashes; and crashes hard. Good for you if you can toe the line but this blog may be the support system for the ones who couldn't. Not everyone has had experiences of bliss and harmony like you and just because they are different experiences than yours doesn't mean they are untrue. Each one of us is sitting on our own perch with a different angle of site and I'm sure this blog welcomes everyone to share, not only the negative views, but also the positive. If you don't like it..well...you could always go cry to your suport system (but then you'd have to tellthem you were on this site)
    -my view

    ReplyDelete
  57. Another article on the subject:

    http://freepathways.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/save-children/

    ReplyDelete
  58. My View, where you loose credibility is your last sentence. That is where I get the feeling of unrest. Why would you need to say it in that way? Why would I go cry to my support system? There is truly nothing to cry over. You are the one that appears to be emotional here.......not me. I actually like reading this web site. It makes me realize how truly blessed I am. I hope that at some point you can feel (and portray in your writing) the same way. Respectfully, Thankful

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  59. Thankful, you are right. After it posted I realized I used the wrong word(s). I realize I am also getting a little more defensive with each attack, both for and against the church. I have not personally experienced all of these things happening in the church but I have never been to new York either and I'm not about to say that new York is a fathom just because I have never experienced it myself. with that said I want to reword my last bit that I posted above...if your support system is as truly supportive as you claim you could alwayscomplain to them over these false comments BUT I think we both know that the support is limited. Btw I was a member of OALC for 2 decades up until last year and there is a lot of truth to what is said here (sometimes rude, derogatory, rhetoric, exaggerated, aged, defensive, opinionated maybe but also truth)

    - MY VIEW

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  60. I have been a lurker here for some time but have not yet commented. This is just absolutely heartbreaking. I left a branch of a Laestadian church a few years ago. If you would have told me things about the church when I was a member, I never would have believed you, but it is absolutely brainwashing, not in an evil way, but it is all the same, it is all you know. As I have read in comments before when current members ask, 'Why can't you just leave us alone?" Some people respond with answers like, 'Because we care'. And that is exactly how I feel. I CARE. I care about people who have no idea how it feels to make a decision or choice for yourself, because you feel if it's the right one for you or your family. I CARE for victims of sexual, mental, physical, spiritual abuse. I could continue, but I will try to keep it short, but I really think that a lot of people feel the same way, WE CARE! And I think with ex-members, we have an very good understanding because we have been on both sides of the fence.
    Thanks for being such a wonderful hostess, Free.

    ~No moniker yet

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, NNY. I'm glad you find this blog valuable and want to participate.

      Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." It's easier said than done, but so much begins in conversation.

      Delete
    2. No moniker yet....it might take some time to sort out just what you actually believe inside versus what you were expected to believe. You said, "If you would have told me things about the church when I was a member, I never would have believed you, but it is absolutely brainwashing, not in an evil way..." I would disagree with you when you say that the brainwashing within Laestadianism is not evil. The evilness is that they use a dialectical approach using a truth by omission approach mingling 90% truthfulness with 10% falsehoods to try to lead congregants to a religious foundation based on the church status quo versus a Biblical foundation of faith. Old AP

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    3. Old AP,
      Doesn't "evil" imply intent?
      brian

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    4. Brian, I will not attempt to try split verbal hairs on a blog site. With regards to evil....from what I recall some of the Pharisees/speakers/elders did indeed seem to have an evil intent as they seemed to relish in their ability to manipulate and control people. Of course they themselves did not look on themselves as bad nor did any of their sycophants. But when I heard all the talk about how a person must remain in a 'broken' state and bow down and 'humble themselves before the Word of God' I soon realized that what they really meant was that a person needed to be broken down emotionally and give up their own self in order to remain obedient to the Pharisees & remain in their good standing. The kernel of the evilness is that they said or implied that one had to basically meet their standards in order to go to heaven versus meeting God's standards. When one proclaims themselves to be some type of gatekeeper to Biblical truths then I automatically realize that I am dealing with a bunch of phonies. Old AP

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  61. The OALC members will stop having large families when they can no longer afford to do so. The states give out health insurance, WIC, free breakfast- lunch at school, and food stamps. All of which are easily accessed when you have a large family and one income. I am sure that there are OALC members who are not accessing these freebies, but I sure see a lot of hair in buns, long skirts, and large vans at the surplus line. I also see the mothers using the BRIDGE card (MI's food stamps)and WIC coupons. To me, we are supporting a religious belief.
    The Morman's call this Bleeding the Breast, when the large families seek government help.
    If you are truely concerned about the women and children in these families, then write your congressmen. The services mentioned above should be limited to two to three children. After that, pay for it yourself.
    I know a big contractor, in my area, who only provides medical insurance for his male workers, not there children and wifes. Guess what church he and his workers belong too.
    We need to stop the madness.

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    Replies
    1. Anon 7:42 I agree completely! I believe we should take care of each other through our churches and families, not the Government. In my area there are enough well-off OALC to take care of the "needy" ones, but not only do they choose not to, they avail themselves of community programs even when they HAVE $$. One example, my ex-husband's new wife was getting my children free backpacks from the court house before school started. I know their income and I told him to quit doing this - the program is for those in need. Just because something is free doesn't mean you have to take it, especially if it's free to help those with little $$.

      I watched a documentary on Polygamists in Utah and I thought the phrase was "Bleeding the Beast", as they thought the Government was a "beast" and by having only one "real" wife and the others suck money out of the Government through welfare programs it would eventually bankrupt the Government. Anyway, I may be wrong about the above, but I thought I should clarify that I don't believe all Mormans (or even "regular" Mormans) think this. I believe it is a group of Polygamists who do and this is not the church position.

      I believe also that ALL children (even the first 1-2 or 3) should be supported by the people who choose to bring them into the world. I have no problem with you having 10+ children, but I don't think it's fair to expect ME to support them!

      Anyway, I'm not disagreeing (much) with you, just agreeing and stating my experiences and thoughts!

      Delete
  62. Brian, this is a tangent, but if you know of some specifics and could help those who have been victims of someone who is not yet paying for his/her (just trying to be pc) sex abuse crimes, please help the victim(s) through some proper channels for finally shutting the door on this one.you are a social worker, yes? many victims, yet no real actionable course? how many years after abuse can a victim turn someone in? you don't need to answer...just trying to turn years of hearing about this into action but i am not a victim so i don't have a case.
    penguin.

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  63. Penguin,
    I have assisted some I know of specifically into therapy with varying success. The cases I am aware of are from when my generation was kids, 30-35 years ago. I know of several people who as adults went to authorities and were told that there was nothing that could be done. I also know of 2 instance where it had continued with the perp abusing kids much more recently and action was taken. A number of the situations were the perp was an older relative but still also a child...an older brother/sister/cousin. And no, you aren't just being "pc" when you say his/her, females perp too, something I can attest to.
    brian

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  64. Brian,
    I am not an expert in this field. I know there a statute of limitations of some crimes but, if the abuse was sexual? Then there are cases out there of people getting charged 10 to 30 years after the crime was committed but, I am not sure what type of crime that is in reference here.

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  65. Anonymous, please give yourself a moniker, okay?

    Penguin,
    The statutes vary by state. In Washington State, for example, it is 3 years from age 18, or 3 years from when the abuse was remembered or the trauma connected to the abuse.

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    Replies
    1. Penguin,
      In Minnesota, it depends on when it took place. There are a number of revisions on the books.
      Currently, there is no statute of limitation if:
      1.DNA evidence is collected & preserved; and
      2.The crime is 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree CSC; and
      3.The crime occurred on or after 8/1/00 or was still chargeable on 8/1/00; or
      4.The crime is kidnapping (regardless of DNA)

      If that doesn't apply, then currently for Child sexual abuse :Complaint must be filed within 9 years of the offense
      OR if the victim did not report it within this time period, it must be filed within 3 years after the offense was reported to police (regardless of how old the victim is).

      Older statutes had an age limit of 25 for the victim, meaning the victim had to report by the age of 25. (My parents didn't know til I was almost 40) The people I know personally went through Rape and Abuse centers, and they were told by advocates and county attorney that they had no recourse. When I went to a Rape and Abuse crisis center, because there was no way of bringing criminal charges, I was denied counseling there. Since I now work in Minnesota, I am unclear of other states.
      Often the severity of the crime plays a role, but if there is no physical evidence, unless there is a confession, it is pretty hard to prosecute anyway.
      Brian

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    2. What I have found, is that there are a few different reasons for speaking out. One, of course, is to stop the abuse from happening...either to you, or if the pedophile is still alive, to victims of the next generation. Even if your sexual abuse isn't punishable, your testimony or story, will help build a case against the perpetrator. AND, most importantly, you get to tell yours story...breaking your own silence.

      In Houghton County Michigan, Detective Tom Rosemurgy will hear you....and he will not motivate you to press charges. He will honor your wishes...what he wants most is to empower victims.

      Brian is right, it is a very hard crime to actual prosecute AND get a sentence that is worth anything. But, what I feel is more important, is to share your story, to release you from your own prison of silence and to take back your power.

      Finding support as you break your silence, may be to find a source outside of the family....since almost half of the abuse happens within the home....and 90% with someone you know.

      It is harder to step out of the family, which is why many hold their silence. It is hard to report a sex crime, and extremely hard to press charges against family.

      Giving your story to the local law enforcement, will put them on the alert of who the pedophiles are and like I said, changes are you are not the only victim of this pedophile.

      In my father's case, he had a 40 plus year run.....way too many little girls. My statement helped to bring him up here for trial, along with other victims....some dating as far back as the mid 1960's and others into 2004.

      Just giving your statement is often a huge step on the journey towards healing.

      Thanks Brian for your information.
      Beth Jukuri

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    3. Beth, Thank you for your personal courage. You are absolutely right, the telling of it is freeing. You Cannot heal without naming the hurt. You are also right about the difficulty of stepping out of the family. Those of us who were abused...it is like a double wall of silence...first family and then the church, because whether it means to or not, and I believe "not", the church creates an atmosphere of secrecy, of not stepping out and speaking up. In short, it becomes a breeding ground for abuse.
      Brian

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    4. I am sure there are lots of hidden consequences that the churches and their members are unaware of....like the sentiment of the forgiveness of sins, being a way to 'treat' the pedophiles, while not recognizing the backlash it has upon us victims. He/she is seen as returning to innocence, while the abused never can get back to that place.

      I had looked up the word innocence, and it is the lack of knowing. Once you know the horror of abuse, you can't not know. You are forever changed...you now know adult things with a limited child view. And, more importantly, the secure love, trust and faith you once had in the father/uncle/mother etc is lost. You lose your safe person.... Once you know they can become forceful monsters, it is hard to not fear them and return to the relaxed comfort around them. You lose someone you can trust.

      Finding someone who you can trust seems insurmountable....when you see how others treat your parent/abuser like they are not only fine, but 'good' christians. It is a confusing mess to sort out as an adult...let alone a child.

      The more of us there are speaking out, the more we can hold each other in a space of courage, even if we never meet, we are saying It happens...I hear you and applaud your courage.

      And, it also sets a trail, a way out, a breach in the system.

      I appreciate your words.
      Beth

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    5. Do U All Think This Sexual Abuse Only Happens In Lastadian Church And Goes Unreported This Also Happens In People Family And Churches That Arent Part Of The LastadiansWhere It Goes Unreported But For Some Reason Ur All Pointing Fingers At The Lastadians From My Understanding Or What I Was Tought In My Family Was U Dont Keep This Hidden If It Was To Happen Report It And The Person Pays The ConsequenceS Of The Crime We Still Need To Abide By The Laws Of The state







      Delete
  66. I just heard back from Eric Jurmu who answered my email request about a fund for Nina. One has been set up at Wells Fargo. Brad is going to have enormous costs in getting help for Nina.

    Please consider putting as much energy into helping as criticizing. You can assume that in both cases, your motivations will be misunderstood, but don't let that stop you.

    Donate at any Wells Fargo branch in the United States. Just ask for the fund by name or number.

    Bradley Koistinen Legal Fund
    Account #
    2197004332

    If you feel moved, as I did, to tell Eric about why the church needs to change its stand on birth control, send him an email at:

    information (at symbol) pllchurch (dot) org

    Silent no more.


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  67. you should all know that no matter how loud you talk the church will not change its views on this.
    joyfully awaiting my seventh pregnancy

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  68. With all respect, that is what people said about slavery. It took centuries, but it is no longer a matter of debate.

    Laestadius himself changed a few of the church's views, and would not recognize the religion that claims his name.

    Joyfully enjoying my two kids, my husband (the "church" used to allow several wives, by the way), my three jobs, and my one wild and precious life.

    THanks for reading.

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  69. thanks, brian...this clears some things up.
    penguin.

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  70. Joyfully waiting, Perhaps it isn't the church whose mind will be changed, but the women who attend. One woman at a time, generation to generation...it all begins with the conversation.

    Beth

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    Replies
    1. then the women will no longer be members of the church then will they? This is What we truly believe and I find it hard that this can't be respected. I also think slavery and this topic don't even compare. Joyfully waiting

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    2. I don't know, Joyfully, will they? Will you kick them out if they decide they want to stay in faith, but use birth control?

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    3. No FreeThinker I will not. I am going to let God be the judge and remind you and I that neither of us have the power to do that. He knows our hearts. Now I joyfully leave this conversation! Joyfully

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    4. Well, I think that's good of you. I hope also you don't ostracize, gossip about or mock a woman behind her back should she decide to take control of her life planning and sexuality for herself. Thanks for stopping by, Joyfully, and here's to a healthy seventh baby!

      Delete
  71. I am reading this and am awe struck. I know Beth and I respect her willingness to put her story out there. Beth is right, it is hard to persecute family members. The only way to fight the abuse is to keep talking.

    As an ex- OALC member. I have many stories. But, I will say that child abusers come from all walks of life and all religions. I am now Catholic and we all know the headlines there.

    As for being Catholic, the women do take charge of their lives and their bodies. That is very apparent in the Catholic church when you walk in today. The church members will state that they do not think birth control which allows a fertilized egg to be destroyed is right. The pope has other dictates, but you do not see families with 10+ kids any longer. The birth control ruling seems to be between the members, their priests, and their doctors.

    I grew up hearing God will provide. We had too many kids, too much abuse and not enough to go around. Now the families can get help from the tax payers. I guess God is providing in the form of tax payers help. This can't be right.

    If you can't handle having more children, financially or emotionally, then don't. Talk to your family doctor and find a way to plan your families responsibly. Third world countries are teaching their people to do this.

    Why can't we do this in America?

    FOUND MY HOME

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  72. I am no longer a member of the OALC, and do not believe much of what is preached there. However, I do not feel anyone has the right to tell ANY church what/how to preach or what to believe. In this country we have a right to worship as we like, no matter what other people think about it. Take the Westboro Baptist Church, I think everyone in their right mind thinks they're nuts, but they have the right to think and say whatever they want, no matter how offensive or even WRONG! The exception is when members are being hurt of course, but it's hard to convince someone they're being hurt(brainwashed, lied to, oppressed, etc.) when they believe they're not. You cannot convince LLL members lots of what they're being taught is NOT Biblical, even when it's not. And they have a right to believe the nonsense they hear if they want to. And their preachers have a right to say it.

    I don't know how you correct the issue of mental problems maybe not being addressed in these churches. But that is a different issue entirely.

    I also don't believe we can pretend all the women who choose to have multiple children are all "brainwashed" or incapable of thinking for themselves. My sister-in-law makes the rules in their household and she is much stricter than my brother. And the point needs to be made (I think it was made here before too) that the men are also taught to be a certain way. Men who do help wives more or ask wives opinions are sometimes ridiculed and made to feel less of a man.

    I agree with Beth, that change will come if/when members of the churches change their minds about an issue. So open conversation (like this) with many views and opinions on how to solve problems is a great thing!

    I have one last story to share. I was told that when W. Koistinen married his wife the men sat on one side of the church and the women and kids on the other. His wife thought this was stupid and began sitting with him. I'm sure this took a lot of courage, especially since this was a different time. Well, now men and women sit together and I don't know many people who even remember a time when they didn't.

    So those of you who are happy in your LLL life, be brave! If you feel something is being taught as wrong, do what you feel is right anyway. You don't have to leave if you're happy there, but you may change a "rule" for the better!

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  73. Maybe it was already mentioned here but the Phoenix LLC website has information about a fund you can donate to for the family.

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  74. Eric Jurmu has replied to the KPHO reporter.

    http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com/kpho/KPHO%20NEWS/PLLresponse.pdf

    Some thoughts. 1) a masterfully written press release/propaganda/CYA piece, in many respects. Say little on specifics, put your best face forth, defer to the Mother.

    2) The only small piece of solace for many of us is that it *might* be tiny step in the right direction. "Childbearing questions vary greatly and are private matters, and we cannot give answers to cover all situations." At least it's in writing that the "Pop-Til-You-Drop-Or-Die" rule isn't hard and fast.

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  75. I am a current member of the LLC and I believe the health of the mother, whether it be mental or physical, should definately be taken into account. I know there are many others within the faith that feel the same way.
    -mother of 5

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  76. Free,
    Thank you for posting the information of how one can support the family by way of donation. This has touched so many far and wide! No matter our walks of life, or how we believe, it is comforting to know that we can come together to help those in need. I think we are all in unison when we say that we pray god protects this family!
    Thank you, Jenny kuoppala

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  77. I am a current member of the LLC. Within my extended family 3 families have chosen to limit the size of their families due to health concerns relating to the mother. This is done primarily in secret. One does not have the freedom to make it public knowledge out of fear of retribution. If there are so many cases within my relations, surely the issue is prevalent among many who are presently members.

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  78. Using birth control in the LLC is definitely something one must keep secret. I'm on it now because I can't handle anymore kids. I don't no what we'll do when people start asking and gossiping about us not having any more children. Maybe leave, but I don't really want to.

    A minister told my husband and me that using birth control was the same as taking a sip of alcohol. When you do it, your pretty much instantly giving up your faith by what you do. My friend told me that in Finland many people use birth control and the SRK thinks very different on birth control than the LLC. I thought faith was the same in here and in Finland and has been unchanged forever. I tried to find something in the Bible that says you can't use birth control and I couldn't find anything. I'd ask a minister about that, but I don't dare do it because I don't want anyone to start thinking I'm on birth control.

    Why don't the church answer any of the questions that the reporter asked? My friends are wondering about this to. Its been clear to me my whole life that birth control is wrong and something that believers do not do at all. I've had lots of guilt about using it myself, but I want to protect my mind, even though I worry a little about dying when I'm on it. Its worth it for my kids and husband. But now it seems this is changing because hard questions are being asked by unbelievers? What does our faith mean when ministers change their positions because of one reporter? If birth control is now okay, I want to know so I can free myself from this guilt I have. But if that's true, what about everything else? It bothers me that there are no straight answers for anything unless its to tell you not to do something.

    Very Confused And Wishing For Answers

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    Replies
    1. Confused- I hope that you are able to find peace with your decision to use birth control. Mental health should also be taken into account, and if you find yourself in a situation where people are questioning why you have not had more kids, you can simply state that God has not provided. I understand peoples confusions as to the differences between the SRK and the LLC, and feel that a lot of that comes in cultural differences. I have always been confused when people say that we believe that you can never use birth control, as I have always been under the understanding that it is okay in certain situations. I know there are extreme sermons where it seems as if they are saying that you should never use it, but I have always understood that the health of the mother does have a role.

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    2. Confused...you are intuitively doing what is best for you, your children and your husband, and how can that be wrong. You are leading your life from the inside out, knowing what the cost of following would mean. You are aware. I am sorry for the guilt feelings, the confusion of Not matching what the churches 'preferences' or rules are 'for now'.

      It simply shows the power of the church and its rules AND the power of women and yet the guilt of doing so. Which is clearly stating how much control they have, that when you deviate from it, how you feel. Like displeasing them or doing bad....while you are doing good for you and yours.

      My humble and perhaps simple advice is to be aware.

      Be aware of how your life looks from your point of view and then perhaps from their (church) point of view.

      Be aware of the affects of the choices you make or don't make and how or who it affects.

      Being an aware woman, who sees and protects her health, her mental wellness as well as knowing personally what she can and cannot handle is the roots of being a strong empowered woman.

      And, I believe ultimately you always will find the answers for your life within.
      You are the expert and the one who knows what you need to do.

      I love that you are authentically speaking of what you do and what you are believing is 'wrong' to do. How you articulate the differences between what you know is right for you and gap between the church elders.

      Thank you for being you.
      Beth Jukuri

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  79. I am wondering if anyone has a list of the questions which were posed to Eric? I just want to caution that we do not know what was asked, and if they were truely personal questions as to what occured behind closed doors in private meetings with the ministers, would you have done anything different than Eric? I believe it is only for the family to talk of these things unless it is causing immediate harm to someone or falls under the category of mandated reporting.

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  80. Hi Jekida,
    The questions are included in the interview article here.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Free. After looking at the questions, and reviewing the answer, I do feel as though Eric, in a very basic way, answered many of the questions. There are some of the ones specifically about Nina, which he chose not to get into detail about, but which of us honestly would have done things differently? Maybe a few, but probably not the majority.

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    2. Jekida,
      I agree, it would have been irresponsible and a breach of trust for him to discuss pastoral conversations had with Nina. Even as a mandated reporter, the only people it would have been appropriate for him to talk to would have been the authorities, if he had any idea that she was going to hurt herself or others. To further complicate things, my understanding is that ministers are not mandated reporters in all states. (That does not mean morally he shouldn't report.)
      brian
      Brian

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    3. Of course he shouldn't answer questions about counseling Nina, but why didn't he answer any other the others. Inquiring minds would like to know. To me it appears that the statement that was made is contrary to everything I've ever heard Eric say in his sermons in regards to the issue of birth control. Same with many other ministers.

      There is no way they'll answer those questions upfront and honestly, because they know how bad the answers would be. "How would the congregation treat a woman who openly used birth control?" We all know what the honest answer to that would be, and the media would be all over it.

      Deep Roots

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  81. I know some in this thread have talked about the irresponsibility of the families who have kids they are not finantially able to handle, and how you are supporting someone you feel you do not deserve to support. I understand the complaint that too many of these families are on government support, and in order to try help you understand why this might be so, I would like to share with you all my experience with WIC. After the birth of our first child, we were told of WIC by the discharge nurse at the hospital, as well as by the county nurse who visited our home in the few days following (standard procedure in our county includes an in-home visit for all brand new mothers as a follow up check to feeding and other health needs/concerns unless you specifically decline it). I'm not sure if we looked poor, or if they tell everyone of this program. Of course, we had heard of it before, and since we were living basically paycheck to paycheck with the arrival of our new baby, I decided to look into it, in case things would become worse for us. The day I went to the WIC office I meant to simply ask questions about how it works and what you get, I never intended to sign up for the program because I felt we were meeting all of our basic needs, plus a small amount more, and although I was worried about what would happen if my husband was hurt and could not work, as long as he was working, we were fine. Somehow I was talked into it, and before I knew it I was leaving the office, WIC cupons in hand.... She used the argument that since I was there looking into it, I was obviously worried about money, and had need of the program. At the time of my initial appointment to ask questions, as well as at every appointment thereafter we were encouraged to look into, and even apply for an EBT card. I wondered why would we, if we are meeting all our needs now? But it sure would have been nice to have that extra money to set aside every month! Who doesnt want that? After a few months I began feeling guilty as I felt we obviously had no need of these cupons because there were many weeks where we only got one or two of the things included on our cupon because those were the only items on our grocery list. I called the WIC office and tried to explain that I wanted to get off the program because I felt we were not really using our cupons, and that they would be better off going to someone with more need than us. We were assured that we were not taking anyone elses money, and encouraged to stay on the program. We ended up using the cupons, and passing the purchases on to a large family in our area (not even from any laestadian sect, by the way) who seemed like they had more need of it than we did. This family already recieved WIC, I'm sure, but still seemed in more need than we did, and the mother was always very grateful to get our items. Soon after, my husband got a new job, one which made more money, but also required us to move. I called again to cancel WIC (obviously we were not going to be there to redeem them) and was strongly encouraged to allow them to simply transfer my application to the new area. I explained that we would be making more money, and was told that that was okay, I should simply fill out a new form proclaiming how much money we were making and submit it to the new WIC office. I was told quite cheerfully and forcefully that "We still might qualify!" I eventually had to say NO, quite firmly, and refuse to tell them the new county I would be moving to. If I had not felt so guilty, it would have been easy to accept the WIC cupons and spend this extra money on items we don't need, or set it aside every month, WIC was so very strongly encouraged upon us! They had a strange way of making you feel like you did actually need the money offered in their programs, and always encouraged you to remain in any program you were already enrolled in.

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    Replies
    1. Google "Cloward-Piven strategy"

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    2. I applied for WIC as well when my children were little, but got no such encouragement from the WIC staff. In fact, they were matter-of-fact and brusque almost to the point of being rude. If I hadn't needed the food, I wouldn't have gone back at all.

      I heard about it from a neighbor, not a nurse or a county worker. When I moved to a different county, no one said anything about transferring our application. The WIC people in our new area were a lot nicer, but I still was never told these kinds of things. Maybe some people are just more outgoing than others, or more excited than others about the tagible help they could offer families.

      Your story kind of comes across like you are this helpless mother who just had WIC forced on you willy nilly and you really had no choice in the matter. I'm sure you're not a witless person who just does everything everyone else tells you to do...I would hope not, at least.

      (this girl has) left the building

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    3. *tangible

      left the building

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