Monday, July 03, 2017

What Age is Too Young for Marriage?

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

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

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

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

That must change.

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

The OALC is on the wrong side of history.

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

FOCUS, gentlemen. FOCUS.






25 comments:

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    Its trinity is formed by "Father, We and the Holy Spirit", as Jesus Christ has been replaced by "this blessed christianity"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    6. Old AP, are you my long lost twin? :-)

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

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

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  6. Not sure where you get your information but perhaps you should come to church and listen! There are no new "rules" I have an engagement ring, a wedding ring and an anniversary ring! I wore a beautiful dress at my wedding! My husband to be walked me down the aisle and back, the bridesmaids and groomsmen also walked down the aisle during the ceremony! I served food to all the wedding guests at my wedding reception!
    It has been years since they have allowed under age children get married. You must be a legal adult to get married even if you are pregnant. And yes sometimes that happens, and sometimes that couple don't end up together in the end. But we all sin and need forgiveness for our sins.

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    1. Simple Christian, I hear what you are saying, and in years past, that's the way it was. What is very disturbing is that the "new" preachers seem to think that they must install more and more stringent rules to give the appearance that they are doing some guidance "as God reveals". As an example, it is now taught that students cannot play on school sports teams...but I can show you the HS annuals that have pictures of more than a few of the most pious preachers today in their basketball, football, track, and other uniforms. Why those preachers seem to think that today's youth simply can't handle the same things they did in their youth is a mystery. American Laestadians have always seemed to focus on "rules" rather than salvation and the grace of God. Many, many years ago, it was asked of the Elder William Erickson that aren't pictures a sin. He replied he hoped not, since he had pictures in his own wallet. Nobody seemed ready to question the Elder Gunnar Jonsson, who had an organ in his home. In America though, those would surely send people straight to hell. The Laestadians (and that includes many besides the OALC) seem to want to preach a vengeful God, eager to punish sinners, and I believe that could not be farther from the truth. I believe in a loving and forgiving God. I saw quite a few former OALC friends and it was sad to see them purse their mouths disapprovingly, and when I greeted them with God's Peace, they could not put their hatred aside long enough to return the greeting.

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    2. I'm so sorry that your experience has gone that way! I cannot speak for anyone besides myself and I believe that no matter your choice I'd still treat you with the love and respect you deserve. I also believe in a loving and forgiving God but also the Bible does say to fear the wrath of God as well. Also I'd like to remind that our preachers and our elders are only men, they have sins just the same as me and everyone. I do not expect them to be perfect. Also they never asked to be preachers they were chosen and then asked to preach.
      As far as pics go I do not hold pics to be wrong. (Unless your talking about pic of people without clothes!) Also there have been some Christians that are musically inclined and have been able to help song leaders figure out tunes to songs and yes they have owned organs or pianos to help with that. My grandmother was one. But for me, no I don't feel it would be a good thing for me to learn to play or make music.

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    3. A typical Firstborn response never touches the truth. Preachers and elders are only men, but still allowed to preach against the Scriptures and lead the Christians to hell

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    4. And I suppose you could show me one person on Earth who hasn't committed a sin? And what truth exactly am I not touching?
      We don't get to Heaven by being perfect! No one can. Good deeds don't open the door!

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  7. I supposed writer "Simple Christian" had her wedding a long time ago, before this administration of the Gällivare elders? A remote friend

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    1. We have weddings very often, as our church has grown, some have weekly weddings. Ours are not so often, but we had three last month and a couple the month before. I have not heard the Elders speak on these things.

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  8. Simple Christian...there are a lot of variances between different congregations. While one congregation might frown on a fancier wedding still others will condemn the same type of wedding. So much depends on the 'flavor' of the local congregation and who is really running things behind the scenes, particularly the women believe it or not. What is common amongst all Laestadian groups is that whatever people like is okay and whatever they do not like is a sin. I saw so many people make one, two or three time excuses on something that was generally considered sin as long as it was of benefit to themselves. It was pure hypocrisy but then again modern day Laestadianism has long had an undercurrent of double rule books with one rule or exception for me and none for anyone else. The reason for this of course is that the various groups are not really founded on faith in Christ hence they are ripe for divisiveness and schisms. Laestadius, like Luther, discovered the new birth in Christ. Latter day Laestadians have forgotten all about it for the most part. Old AP

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  9. All of those 8 things are lies. I never heard any of this in our church. We have a lot of good food at our weddings and many have worn long white dresses and had diamond rings...maybe just a little more simple than other churches. I can't believe the lies are still running wild on here. Come and hear for yourself the words of wisdom and the true word of God.

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