Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What is the OALC?

I've closed comments on the previous thread so we can focus our attention on one topic for awhile. It seemed best to choose a Laestadian-related topic (hang in there, philosophers, your time will come). I implore all of you to be respectful and deal with specifics, not generalities, To start things off, here is a history of the OALC that "LLReader" has been supplying.

(If you have an unanswered question from the previous thread, please post it again.)


From "A Godly Heritage" (written by six theologians, historians, and such, along with two pastors of Apostolic Lutheran Churches):


The OALC was founded in 1903 in Calumet and has stayed separate from the other groups since then. There have been no major spits in this group, and the Heidemen, ALC, and all the other splinter groups have nothing to do with the OALC, since they split off in 1903. It's the biggest Apostolic group -- having around 10,000 members.
The OALC book ("History of Living Christianity" written by a committee of OALC members in 1974) says that Andrew Brenner, a Finn from Hammerfest, Norway was the first in the US to preach the true word. He arrived in Calumet around 1867. He sent a ticket to his friend Solomen Korteniemi to come help spread the word -- big trouble followed! In 1872 the first Apostolic congregation was formed, called the Solomon Korteniemi Lutheran Society.


There was so much fighting going on that the Elders sent Henry Parkajoki and Aapo Tapani to Calumet to calm things down. Arguing increased, so in 1877 John Takkinen and Frans Niska from Oulu, Finland were sent. Takkinen was a force to be reckoned with, it was said he ruled with an iron hand, just as Korteniemi was doing. Both had fiery tempers and from what I can understand, much of the dissension in the Apostolic congregation was as much a result of these two personalities as anything else.


Takkinen's side accused Korteniemi of drinking and spreading lies. In 1879 the church name was changed from "Solomon Korteniemi Lutheran Society" to "Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Congregation". Takkinen became part of a publishing company around 1880, and produced an Aapinen in which the words "descended into hell in Gethsemane" were inserted. That made people mad, saying things like, "Who does he think he is? Even Luther hadn't changed any words in the Apostles Creed." (I understand that today the only group that uses the altered creed is the OALC in America. It isn't used in Finland.)


The Elders continued to send other preachers to try to reconcile the Apostolics. Some of the preachers who were sent were Henry Berg, John Mullo, Peter Stolberg, Eliel Juola, and John Rovanpaa. These men were all considered by Takkinen's followers as false teachers. Takkinen was voted out of the Apostolic Lutheran Church on Pine Street. He and his group built a new church in 1892 and called it the "Finnish Laestadian Lutheran Sunday School and Mission Society". John Raattamaa was still the leader of the Apostolics in Scandinavia. He wrote to Takkinen and advised him to change the name to the Old Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Congregation (later tweaked to Old Apostolic Lutheran Church)---and tra-la the OALC was born.)


Under Takkinen's leadership the services were simplified. They quit standing for the Apostles Creed and kneeling during the general confession of sins, which had been done by the congregation in unison. Organs were no longer used, and taking oaths and making the sign of the cross at baptisms was eliminated. An alter railing was added for communion. The ministers didn't wear vestments. The service usually was two hours long, with hymn singing and mostly preaching.

207 comments:

  1. Hello all,

    I tried to post a longer version of this 2 times on the last thread, but I think it didn't work. Sorry if it did, and I am repeating myself!

    This doesn't really pertain to the topic, "what is the OALC?"...but I thought it was interesting, and I think fundamentalist churches have quite a few similarities.

    Have any of you heard about the documentary "Jesus Camp"?

    check out the NY Times

    http://movies2.nytimes.com/2006/09/22/movies/22camp.html

    or watch the trailer on You Tube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_EKHK1C2IE

    This is a terrifying example of what can happen in fundamentalist churches...when the most extreme, as Trails said, with the loudest voice seemingly becomes the majority.

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  2. stranger in a strange land1/23/2007 08:58:00 AM

    Mr. Smith, we are cousins!

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  3. Sorry if this posts twice, not sure if the first one will show up?
    I agree that fundamentalist churches can become dangerous. You have a closed belief system where everything outside is false. You are to accept the teachings as true. Don't doubt, thats a sin. Don't think with your carnal mind I have been told many many times. So pretty much people can teach you anything and your supposed to believe it. Just believe it. Its true. It can cause a person alot of inner turmoil when your heart is telling you something different. Whats wrong with ME?
    I have found that the OALC is very similiar to the LLC. The OALC just has many more "no-no's" and less freedom.
    Does anyone have a breakdown of all the LLL churches in a tree form? I for one never realized how many there were!

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    1. It would do some benefit to understand if OALC LLC OR FALC is a cult by going to the "gatherings" (bible study) in a smaller "locality" and see for yourself. As you hear the questions people ask you may be surprised at how flexible and dynamic this group really is. It a lot more help and advice than do's and don'ts. People seek answers for themselves more than it first appears.

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  4. The LLL has around 100,000 followers. I think this is the church the OALC split from originally.

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  5. I too would love to see a tree of "life" or is the tree of "fights"? Other than the OALC,in the west coast alone there seems to be so much splintering. Why is that? I would guess it's human natures warring. What I would really like to know also is, how many LLL churches believe they are the only ones who preach the true saving doctrine. I gather it's not just the OALC.

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  6. I'm hapy to see others are reading "A Godly Heritage." Fascinating, isn't it? The older I get the more I am convinced that many of the beliefs are hard-wired into those of us who were raised in the church. Genetics or teaching, I don't know. I just know that even after decades of separation and questioning and reading and praying, I still feel very split in my heart. (Intellect is another matter, and as one of the posters said, members are totally discouraged from believing anything the intellect show. With good reason, I suppose. It is painful.) I say I know God loves me and is leading me where I need to go, but then in the wee hours of the night the questioning and pain may rear its head. For some of us, we don't get completely over those hard-wired beliefs.

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  7. Mr. Smith (Can't Sign In)

    This is so cool to have found these histories. I used to make jokes to my friends when we were teenagers trying to figure out why there was this prohibition against Gambling (Devils Cards), Dancing, Drinking, and I would have them in stitches about some fictional old Finnish guy in the U.P. who couldn't dance, was embarrassed, and lost his girl to some suave dancer, so dancing was out. Then he got drunk one night and gambled away his pay check. So drinking and gambling were out. Then he was to poor to hire help, so he had to keep having kids to work the farm. Ha. I always did think it was weird that bunch of crazy Finns who like to take Sauna and roll in the snow were the chosen people.

    That was the History we made up because nobody ever talked about the history before "The Split" in 1963.

    It appears that after the initial split in the 1893, the OALC stayed constant, but the other side of the split, FALC, split numerous other times. The church I was raised in is a derivative of a derivative, and still the one true faith, hmmm weird. In my years there I never heard the word pollarite, which evidently we were technically considered.

    Wikipedia gives a nice time line, but I am curious what all of the splits were about? I am hoping that all the mystery surrounding this interesting branch of Christianity is made clear. As a history lesson if nothing else.

    I really thought there was only two divisions of the church growing up, and my father told me later about a split in the 30s, but that was it.

    Good Times.

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    1. A lot of the details of the splits are better left alone because it is a generational thing and has absolutely nothing to do with today and striving teachers like Jeff Jolma Mark Lee Paul Smallwood Hakan Gustavson Andy Kandoll etc. Today is today yesterday is yesterday.

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  8. Mr. Smith said...

    Stranger in a Strange Land, so we are cousins? I am sure it is 2nd cousin 3 times removed on my Mothers side or something!! I am always amazed at how my extended family was one of the small ones in the church, and I still have a million cousins. How anybody can legally marry anymore in the Church due to family relations surprises some times (kidding).

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  9. Check out Warren Hepokoski's writings about the Laestadian Movement. He writes about all the splits from 1861 to 2000.

    http://users.erols.com/ewheaton/

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  10. stranger in a strange land1/23/2007 12:10:00 PM

    Yes, Mr. Smith we are 2nd cousins but--no removals. There is a picture of our great-grandpa with John Pollari in Warren Hepokoski's writings. Check it out. You are the first Pollarite who has come on here. I believe there was one Auneslaiset (from the 1963 split) who came on briefly but did not come back. He was of the same opinion that you and I seem to be. Yes, it was a good childhood, nice people, etc. but just issues with the exclusivism in the doctrine. And yes, I do believe there are many people who have issue with that, but stay for other reasons, perhaps because they believe in everything else but. I am one of those people. My own family does know that's how I feel, but I don't think its generally widely known. I have all kinds of other sociological theories, too, but don't know how I'd be able to share them with you. P.S. I won't tell your parents or anyone I saw you here ha ha. I like your parents a lot, however. They are very non-judgmental people.

    Also, Mr. Smith, as I remember you being a film buff, see if you can check out the film Popular Music from Vittula. I saw the film at the Minneapolis International Film Fest but I have had difficulty getting an American dvd. There is also a book by the same name, but if I can remember right, you're a film guy.

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  11. More to Mr. Smith:

    You are right. They NEVER told us anything about other "splits". One time I asked a respected older friend if we were Laestadians, and he said, of course not. Not that we left them, it was like we never had anything to do with them.

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  12. Many Trails Home1/23/2007 01:02:00 PM

    To "I am here," you fascinate me. WHO are you and WHY are you here? I don't expect an answer but I do love riddles. After Free's Q re the OALC's contention that it is the only "Living Faith," and your confirmation that is the correct teaching, I found that I have nothing to ask you. The minutiae of the rules and regs and interpretations of scripture fade into insignificance. Who would care, if they weren't taught - and driven by fear to believe - that this is the only source for salvation? My only Q is: How can any intelligent person disengage his/her mind to the extent that he/she can believe this rubbish? Did you who were born into the OALC just win the Chance-at-Everlasting Life Sweepstakes? Because what if you weren't? Your chances of being "saved" would then be about 4 billion to 1. But you don't dare look at that, do you, because that would likely trigger "doubt," that most insidious of devils. It perplexes me no end, but then do so many of the illogical vagaries of human nature.

    Theo: Who is John Hus? And of course, we all know who was the caretaker of Christianity for that millenium: The Catholics. So I claim we are all Catholics at our core, with minor (trivial?) variations. I personally love exploring the origins of Christianity, pre-councils.

    Horation, I guess I was a tad hard on you. I apologize. Can't fault you for being a truth-seeker, can I?

    Free: I love it when this site gets so . . . hopping. And I love tickling cvow. MTH

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  13. Don't you think it'd raise a big red flag that many people leave and hardly anyone joins? They only reason they grow is because they have tons of kids, otherwise these churches would be very small. 2 people from the outside joined my congregation when I growing up. 2 people in 18 years! Whats wrong with that picture?

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    1. Lots of people join. Thats why some localities are full of Scottish names and German names. Look around.

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  14. Mr. Smith said...

    Not only do I find somebody like me, but a second cousin, I have some ideas who you may be, but I understand anonymity.

    Thanks for the Hepokoski tip, good stuff.

    Good memory, I do love Film, Music, and Books. I guess I was not being as general as I thought in my intro. At least you can attest to my accuracy.

    Weird to be called a Pollarite, never ever heard that before.

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  15. In response - Many Trails Home, Tue Jan 23, 01:02:51 PM Post:

    ...Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
    Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
    Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
    Struggling for breath, as though hands were
    compressing my throat...

    … Who am I? This or the other?
    Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
    Am I both at once?...

    by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    Dietrich Bonhöffer, a young theologian of great promise, was martyred by the Nazis for his participation in a plot against the life of Adolf Hitler.

    I am here.
    Who Am I?

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  16. stranger in a strange land1/23/2007 02:00:00 PM

    Cousin Smith:

    If you want to know who I am, I will leave this info with Free2Be and you can e-mail me, and I'll share with you what I know about our history and how things developed the way they did, plus my own 2 cents.

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  17. Who am I?

    “Some try to hide, some try to cheat, but time will show, we always will meet. Try as you might, to guess my name, I promise you'll know, when you I do claim. Who am I? “

    I am here.

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  18. After reading all that I could get my hands on about the history of the OALC, I came to the conclusion that the Laestadian history is a myriad of splits that came about as a result of men who, in their struggle for and love for power, were and still are ill-equipped to resolve differences.

    I understand the largest group, several times larger than the OALC, is in Scandinavia.

    A while ago someone posted on the lefttheoalc blog, "A person is granted one life and to spend it struggling against an archaic ideology seems an awful waste of time." I'll second that one.

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  19. I have finished reading another fascinating book, "Unattended Sorrow" by Stephen Levine. Here's a quote:

    (Comment on book jacket: Grief may come from delayed stress that can accumulate over a lifetime.)

    Loss is the absence of something we were once attached to. Grief is the rope burns left behind, when that which is held is pulled beyond our grasp. I know very few people who are not grieving at some level. Feelings of loss don't go away, they go deeper. When we lose or never exercise what we need or love, we call the hard contraction in the mind and body "suffering". This is our unattended sorrow.

    Unattended sorrow resonates with the long-term grief of unfinished business. Forgiveness finishes that unfinished business. As compassion forgives us for being in so much pain, forgivesness decomposes the armoring over the heart.

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  20. MTH, Actually, I think the ratio is 5,999,990,000:1. And this is the current ratio which is pretty sizable compared to years past. This is .000167% of the world population. If you were extrapolate this percentage to all of human history, there are currently about 177,000 people in heaven. This is roughly 30% of Seattle's current population. I think the phrase for OALCers, "born with a silver spoon in your your mouth" should be changed to, "Born with forks in your eyes".

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    1. The 144k thing is more of a Jehovas witness thing than OALC don't you think. I don't know. I always heard guiding light not OALC attendees are only ones going to heaven. To be completely honest even. The preachers say from behind the table some are gathered here that are fortunate to have a saving faith and some not so fortunate but I wretched man do not carry a pruning shear etc. Etc

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  21. HE HE HE HE HE HE HE
    "Did you who were born into the OALC just win the Chance-at-Everlasting Life Sweepstakes?
    I love it!

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  22. HE HE HE HE HO HO HO HO.... OH OH

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  23. Iam curious if the largest laestadian group in Finland believes they are the only ones to be saved also.

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  24. Many Trails Home1/23/2007 05:09:00 PM

    Anon, I think our Mr. Bonhoeffer had a schizoid personality. Poor thing "restless, lonely, sick": if he didn't know who he was, tho' a "promising theologian," why didn't he ask God?
    I think your "I am" is I AM.

    To HE HE HO HO OH OH: Sorry if I stepped on your toes. I suspect that the hyper-self-righteous hate being made fun of more than anything, but I'd say, "Lighten up." Just because you exercise a bit of sarcastic wit doesn't mean God is lacking in a sense of humor and is on "your side." OH OH (fear) is the entire force behind the OALC: better watch out, toe the line or the devil's gonna get ya. I don't buy it. It's love vs fear (as opposed to love vs hate) - fear is the "devil" to beat all devils and extinguishes the light of love. I go back to the mantra, "Love the Lord your God, Love your Neighbor, I will send you a comforter, my peace I give you, my peace I leave you." Peace to you, as well, my friend, and "salvation" from fear. Many blessings to you. MTH

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  25. Pertaining to a previous question:

    The Ancients believed in all sorts of gods to explain the unexplainable, e.g., earthquakes, lightening, storms, the sun, and a good many other natural phenomena. To justify god's existence on the basis of unanswered questions in nature is, in short, stupid. Even if science were to, some day, explain how everything was, is, and is going to be, god exists. God does not require belief through the empirical methods of science but requires it through the meekness of faith. I view humanity as a great bird and to soar it needs both wings healthy and robust. One wing is religion(spiritual) and the other science(natural). If the wings flap asynchronously, humanity just goes into a never-ending circle. It is in this circle that we find ourselves today.

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    1. Ha ha ha...yes tis true...alas beware beware..lol

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  26. To anonymous two posts above: It is my understanding that they do. There are several LLL splinter groups and they each think they're the only ones that have true forgiveness, they're the only living faith, all others are dead faith, they each refer to the other groups as heresies, etc. It's a fascinating study!

    How humbling when one comes to the realization that there are all kinds of people out there, created by God, living in various countries around the world that God created, working and raising children, caring for loved ones, striving for many of the same hopes and goals.

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  27. sisu,

    Carl Jung claimed that in his experience, everyone has to come to terms with the religion of their childhood- in one way or another. From what I have seen (with my wife and her relatives, confirmed on these blogs....), people who have grown up in LLL related "churches" may have a little more to come to terms with. Even those who have been out of it for 20+ years tell me it still gets a grip on their heart when they go to a funeral or have any other contact with "the christians." It infuriates me some times because they are good people and it has such a grip on them. I personally would not be so quick to dismiss the word "cult." Maybe there is something less inciting to describe it, but if it walks, acts, and talks like a duck.... Wish you the best....



    As for the SPLITS:
    Everyone needs to be pretty specific about what "split" you are refering to. Apparently every little group has one. People talking about breaking away from the "big group"- apparently don't realize they all have had some big blow up every couple of decades. Perhaps it is when the next group of preachers coming along gets control? They talk about it like it is some ancient history, because no one actually takes a close, questioning look at what went on. They also seem to think their split was as important as the Reformation! It seems to be a power struggle over some doctrine or other which there is no reasonable way to resolve (how can you have sensible debates between 4 people who are speaking for god when they are rambling on ), a preacher leaves or is cast out with the "real truth" and his relatives and friends go with.


    Anonymous in MN

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    1. Minnesota hats off to thee!!! (Wink Roll Tide Roll)

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  28. I agree with the comments about dangers from fundamentalist churches, where nothing can be questioned. The flock is told they can not actually understand the teachings of their religion without "guidance"- which the church leaders are only too happy, and qualified, to supply. Christianity had (has?) this problem when the catholic church did masses in Latin, all of the important writings were in Latin, and the lowly flock was not expected to know anything except what they were told. Worse yet, people like Galileo could look up themselves and see church teachings were blatently false, the church had its own astronomers and knew what they were teaching was false- yet the church leaders decided the truth was not good for the flock. This is the church that gave us the inquisitions, burning heretics, etc.

    Quite a few years ago I read in the minneapolis city pages an article by a western Islamic scholar who went to visit the Islamic "schools" in Afghanistan. He was suprised to find that all of the teachings were in Arabic (Afghan people don't speak it)- so they were taught to memorize The Koran but only understood what they were told about it. (They were
    however taught a lot about rocket propelled grenades etc.) This is the religion that brings us daily suicide bombings, recorded for TV beheadings etc....)

    Granted, ALL christians were not in the crusades,and are not responsible for stifling science with lies, and all muslims are not chopping people'e heads off on TV- but when the most powerful and vocal leaders in the religion are all for it.... its pretty silly to argue about painting with "too wide a brush"


    While I do not think that MOST peole in the OALC would be openly hateful, I think any religion that teaches its adherents not to think, not even to be too concerned about church teachings other than what they are told about them is, well.... troubling.

    The printing press helped bring the power of the catholic church down a few notches, maybe education will some day turn Islam around?, I am puzzled how something like the OALC can keep going with all of the info and freedom available to people here in the USA in the 20th century??????
    Anonymous in MN

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    1. Careful....When I was in Minnesota I had many Islamic friends that live a very nonradical life. Ijs

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  29. OOPs- I mean 21st century, even worse....

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  30. LLLreader sez: I appreciate the folks that wrote "A Godly Heritage". They kept an even hand, and did acknowledge that sometimes it's hard to seperate fact from fiction. The different groups are SO dead set on being RIGHT. Anyone else think this might be a little distraction from the actual worship of GOD???? LLL's father was a mean drunk, his mother was "a truly gentle, submissive and blessed women. My mother's extreme patience, her stifled sighs and tears when she was abused, left an indelible impression on her son's heart".
    In choseing his own wife LLL had some definite ideas. "My future wife should not come from the upper class because her expections would be too great; she should not be rich because wealth can make a man dependent on his wife; She should not be educated, because education might draw her away from housekeeping. She should not be fashionable or refined, because such a person might demand to be served; She should not be a whiner, because she would be altoghter intolerable. She should be poor so that she would consider herslf fortunate to have a husband who is assured of daily bread; she would be uneducated so that she could be molded to suit her husband; she should be a Christian. She should be a bit passionate".

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  31. To our OALCer, I think there is validity in seeing "the open mind" as a fairly modern development, but the trend started along the first trade routes, gathered steam with ocean travel and advanced rapidly with trains, planes, automobiles, telephones, TV and now the internet. Minds open up when there is (1) communication across cultures, and (2) education in critical thinking.

    But it does not follow that moral decay results. In fact, exposure to other ways of thinking is beneficial to one's moral development. See Kohlberg's "Moral Stages":

    At first, at stage 1, children hardly seem to recognize that viewpoints differ. They assume that there is only one right view, that of authorities. At stage 2, in contrast, they recognize that people have different interests and viewpoints. They seem to be overcoming egocentrism; they see that perspectives are relative to the individual . They also begin to consider how individuals might coordinate their interests in terms of mutually beneficial deals.

    At stage 3, people conceptualize role-taking as a deeper, more empathic process; one becomes concerned with the other's feelings. Stage 4, in turn, has a broader, society-wide conception of how people coordinate their roles through the legal system..

    Stages 5 and 6, finally, take a more idealized look at how people might coordinate their interests. Stage 5 emphasizes democratic processes, and stage 6 considers how all parties take one another's perspectives according to the principles of justice.

    Ironically, Laestadius also felt this. He fought the "closed minds" of Swedish snobs who considered the Saami to be less than human. He fought the "closed minds" of the stiffo clergy who frowned on jumping and vocalizing in church. He fought the closed minds of the Saami who saw no harm in whiskey.

    "Never again will a story be told as though it were the only one." (John Berger)

    OALCer, regardless of doctrine, what do YOU think?

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    1. See people don't ever pay attention to that part of the message at OALC. If but the grace of God in Jesus name there go I. (Alcoholism, adultery, gossiping, impatience in the home) See Lestadius and Rattamaa even Martin Luther were the cool dudes that hung out with Joe Blows not nerds and fanatics. Luther hung with Karlstadt and stuff despite their differences.

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  32. Tom Cruise is the "Christ" of Scientology.

    The actor, who is a devout follower of the bizarre sci-fi cult, has been
    hailed by leaders of the faith as the "chosen one" who will spread the word
    of the religion.

    High-ranking Scientologist David Miscavige is convinced in years to come
    Cruise, 44, will be worshipped like Jesus all over the world as he becomes a
    prophet for the religion.

    A source close to the actor is quoted by Britain's The Sun newspaper as
    saying: "Tom has been told he is Scientology's Christ-like figure. Just like
    Christ, he has been criticized for his views. But future generations will
    realize he was right, just like Jesus."

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    1. Yes he is. Observe though. The quote on quote churches like Church of Christ Baptist and LDS that act like they are so unique and open to question all practice anabaptism and make up long lenghty babble chant prayers in the place of liturgy thats their belief but nobody questions it but nobody notices they don't question that...why?

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  33. Tell that to Brooke Shields. I'm sure she will immediately toss out all prescriptions. :)

    I love all the brilliant minds on this blog. Thank you free, mth, sisu, cvow et al. You inspire me.

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  34. Some more interesting information about the OALC...


    http://www.apostolic-lutheran.org/history/index.html

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  35. Oh, LLLReader, I have to say, that has got to be one of the top five all-time LLL classic lines. I laugh every time I read it. Thanks for refreshing my memory.

    I'll have to get out my highlighted book and see if I can drum up some more doozies.

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  36. After reading over some of the archived posts on this and other blogs, I remember reading some things you are not allowed to do/be in the OALC. One is a policeman. This caught my eye, because there are no less than 4 in my old congregation alone. So out of curiosity, has anyone experienced this?

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  37. free2bme, let me try to clarify my earlier comments concerning the concept of openness. I apologize if I gave the impression that having a broad perspective is somehow a bad thing. I believe Kohlberg is referring to the morals instilled in a western person and is the product of living in an open, democratic society. These morals come easy to a society that values individuality and the inalienable natural rights (life, liberty, happiness, etc). Kohlberg's philosophy, however, would be very foreign in a place like China, where the chief moral system is Confucianism (see the wonderful book 'The Geography of Thought' for more information). I for one applaud education (I have a very good education)and try to encourage all the young OALCers to strive for upper-education. Just an aside, nearly all European OALCers attend college and a couple of the elders are doctors. I have my own ideas why the Americans are different but we can, perhaps, discuss that later.

    Now on to openness. You mention that minds open up when there is education in critical thinking. Now am going to argue in the opposite: to evaluate something critically (for instance) you should discern fact from fiction, the truth from the false, and discard that which is erroneous. In such a manner, you become more sure of what is true and shut out (close your mind) to that which is false. The modern man, instead of making this distinction, chooses, rather to discard truth along with the false. Another aside, by modern, I mean from the time of high imperialism (~1900 on). This type of openness teaches that all of history was crazy because men thought they were right. This led to wars, racism, slavery, etc. Instead of making these 'rights' truly right, there exists no right at all. I believe it is the same with the OALC. Because there are many wrongs (and surely there are) committed by those that think (know?) they are right, you choose to say there is no right at all, rather than making 'rights' truly right. This of course leads to the question of how to fix these these things and I suppose forgiveness would be a good start (on both sides). I hope I've answered your questions. If not, I do enjoy the discussion.

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    1. Thank you for your brave contribution. How refreshing.

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  38. What do you think of these comments I've heard?

    What would the devil have to gain by leading one small flock astray, wouldn't he have so much more to gain by leading the rest of the world astray?

    The bible says the end times will be like the days of Noah. And look back then, he only saved a couple people and flooded the world.

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  39. MTH, John Hus was a Czech guy who lived about 100 years before Luther (I think...). He tried to reform the Roman Catholic church, which didn't care much for his attempts. He was eventually sentenced to death, but I'm not sure if it was done by the church or by the state. Lutherans typically consider John Hus to be a predecessor of Luther. I think the Moravian church in America has something to do with John Hus.

    I agree with MTH's statement about us all being really Catholics to the extent that all the Protestants are really Catholics because all the Protestant churches were originally derived from the Catholic church and the Roman points of view have had a heavy influence on the Protestant way of thinking. However, there are other Christians, e.g. the Orthodox church (which I belong to) that have never been under Rome. The Orthodox church used to be in communion with Rome until the split in AD 1054, but it never was under Rome, and thus it is not a derivative of the Roman Catholic church, but claims to be the original church Rome separated itself from. :)

    ---

    Anonymous, the biggest Laestadian faction in Finland is SRK, the American counterpart being the LLC. They are said to be about 80 000 - 100 000 in Finland, and they are probably the most exclusive Laestadian group, i.e. you don't have any chance getting to heaven outside of their group (unless you have exactly the same understanding as them and have never been in contact with their group).

    ---

    The problem with wikipedia is that anyone can edit the information there and it easily becomes a battle field of different opinions. I suspect the part about the history of Laestadianism has become a battle field as well and there have been people from several factions editing, and the result is somewhat confusing.

    I'm talking about this part:

    1879 - SKLS changed its name to Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church, led by John Takkinen.
    1922 - First Apostolic Lutheran Church (led by Paul Heideman and Walter Torola) schismed from FALC.
    1928 - Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church of America schismed from FALC.

    How can the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church schism from the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran church? :)

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  40. Anon above, you don't need to take Noah literally. Few do anymore.

    OALCER, thanks for your response and book recommendation. (I'm a bit confused, but maybe things will get clearer after my second cup of coffee.)

    You seem to say that modern man, in questioning everything, throws out all truth. But isn't the insistence on truth as much a part of the modern thinker's view as the ancient one's? How one arrives at truth is the difference: through tradition, intuition, inspiration, experience, empirical evidence or all of the above?

    Can we accept that each method has its role and its limits? Critical thinking by definition gives a starring role to doubt. Does doubt contradict or enhance faith?

    Finally, you seem to say (I'm not sure) that in my criticism the OALC, I have thrown out the "truth" with the "untruth." My view of the OALC is more nuanced than that. I reject much of its doctrine, true. I follow, oddly enough, many of its practices.

    Critical thinking avoids the false dilemma. We do not have to choose between all true and all false, between dogma and amorality, between tradition and "the world."

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  41. Mr Smith said...

    To OALCER, I have to take exception that your statement "...Another aside, by modern, I mean from the time of high imperialism (~1900 on). This type of openness teaches that all of history was crazy because men thought they were right. This led to wars, racism, slavery, etc. Instead of making these 'rights' truly right, there exists no right at all."

    John Stuart Mill Speaks of the "Tyranny of the Majority". Often times people who are not critically thinking (which is usually the majority)will latch onto an idea or institution because they "want" it to be right, or "feel" it should be right. Thinking critically is hard, but believing what is spoon fed to you is easy, and it is Human nature to take the easy way. So to use slavery as an example, maybe the majority wanted to believe slavery was justified, but it did not make it right. There was a vocal minority (abolitionists) who, though unpopular, knew it was wrong by using obvious (to us today) critical thinking methods. But the "Tyranny of the Majority" prevailed and this minority had to live in a society where the horror of slavery was allowed to exist.

    We see this today in our own society regarding the treatment of Homosexuals. We see this in our churches when people try to dissent from the common group think.

    Don't ever let the "Majority" opinion be construed as the absolute right opinion. The Majority opinion often times is formed by very uncritical methods.

    My feet are soar, must get off soap box...

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  42. Some things you are not allowed to do in the OALC:

    cut/curl your hair
    color your hair
    jewelry/earrings
    makeup
    neckties
    woman can't wear pants
    short dresses
    attend amusement parks
    music except hymns
    piano/organ in church
    play musical instrument
    drinking
    dancing
    card playing
    video games
    tv
    dating a wordly
    framed pictures on walls
    "fancy" curtains
    "fancy" car or truck
    vacation w/o visiting Christians
    gambling
    sports
    bible study
    niv bible
    attending wordly church
    school plays
    christmas tree/decorations
    halloween costumes
    no flowers in church
    birth control
    not accepting preacher advise
    oh yes, INTERNET!!
    comic books
    romance novels
    movies
    bartending
    whiskey merchant

    That's it for now. oalc-doubter

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    Replies
    1. You are allowed to do what you please and some do. These things are just recommended to help you be more open to Jesus's grace of faith in him that the enemy of faith tries to lure ones fleshly body with

      Delete
  43. I wish they would just realize that the devil cannot so easily take your faith away and let people make their own decisions on these issues. If you want to refrain, fine, but if I feel nothing wrong with it, then thats my choice!
    Let God do his work in people. Let them use their conscience for themselves. The more focus you put on the devil, the more powerful he will become. Focus on God and his love! Quit worrying so much.

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  44. Were any of you taught that makeup was not allowed because it originated from the whores? So I guess if the whores or Saddam Hussein cut their hair, we shouldn't either.

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  45. I say "question everything".

    It eliminates a lot of BS.

    If you are trying to prove your
    religious experience,forget it.

    You can't.

    You can only relate it,and the
    consequences thereof whether
    good or bad.

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    Replies
    1. Yes than OALC is for you. Everything spoken behind the table came from lay people questioning things at the gatherings or bible study.... Even "the keys or traveling staff"...that was a gathering Lestadius and Rattamaa were at in Lainio. Lasted til like 4 am....oooooh...the gatherings were before OALC and Lestadius and even away from OALC and may exist even after we are gone..who knows..Jesus hid from the wise and prudent thats why OALC has no "pastors and reverends" outside of Swedish state pastors...its a lay thing born again and again in Jesus name OALC or no OALC

      Delete
  46. We can be assured that the truth does exist because if it is true that truth does not exist, the statement "truth does not exist" is itself a truth, therefore showing itself to be inconsistent.

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  47. Dear Anon 8:59,
    I agree with you! Whatever we focus on becomes most important in our mind and therefore our thoughts and lives. I have often wondered about the OALC focus on the devil (I think he's talked about much more than God or Jesus) and feel strongly that he has much more power there than he rightly should. God seems to be very very weak, barely able to hold His own against the all-powerful devil. This is my main reason for not "believing" any more.

    Let's here more of your thoughts, anon...

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    Replies
    1. Naw I was a bored autistic lad in that boring church. I counted... the name Jesus is repeated way more often. Even ugly goats and magpies got more attention than Satan and Lucifer..lol

      Delete
  48. oalc-doubter, who cares?

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  49. Many Trails Home1/24/2007 03:38:00 PM

    A lot of people care, Anon, especially those still in the oalc! It essentially rules and defines their lives, especially the young ones, who are most affected. The older ones are too tired and busy to care as much, or have otherwise made their peace.

    Troll, couldn't agree with you more.

    Philomath: thanks for correcting my math. I was unncessarily conservative: 6 billion to 1! Whew. But I disagree with you about the "faith" business and think more like Horatio (perhaps) in this regard. I don't accept blind faith about much of anything; I think it's completely unnecessary and feeds into the excesses of churches such as the oalc. I don't have to have faith; I know. God has answered me ("Ask and it shall be given") so many times that I am beyond doubt. That's a very secure place to be indeed.
    Thanks for joining us. I (obviously) enjoy this repartee. MTH

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  50. "I don't have to have faith; I know. God has answered me ("Ask and it shall be given") so many times that I am beyond doubt."

    MTH, your above argument for belief is still grounded in faith. The questions that have been answered could be just coincidental, or they could be through your own power, or they could be God. You choose to believe that God has answered because you have faith in him. If you could give definitive proof on the existence of god, I will retract my statements.

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  51. Anonymous, anonymous, anonymous! Enough already!
    Why not click on "Other" and pick an alias so we know who we are talking to?

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  52. Many Trails Home1/24/2007 05:27:00 PM

    OK Philomath, what is "faith" exactly, and what constitutes proof, and for whom does it apply? No need to retract your statements, of course. What is, is. The earth is round regardless of our belief.

    So I just looked up "faith" and frankly, I guess I just don't like the word. It has too many associations with deliberate or (shall we say) congenital mindlessness, for my liking. I suppose having been force fed "faith" has something to do with it. I don't much like the word "belief" either, as it has similar connotations. When I was young, my mother was very insistent that we have the "courage of our convictions (beliefs)" by which of course she meant the courage of HER (oalc) convictions. It bugs her no end that I do indeed have the courage of MY convictions.

    I personally could care less about proof, and could actually care less what you believe (except as it makes for good conversation). I am quite convinced that the following is true: "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't believe, no explanation is possible." That almost always pertains.

    Re my "answered questions:" My mother (once again) always insists that anything that runs contrary to her belief system is "coincidental" no matter what. And as to whether it is "my own power" or God, I don't think it matters all that much, because I am a "child of the Creator" (as are we all) and as such always linked to him. So if it his power flowing through me, where did it originate? Who cares? I incidentally do not subscribe to the concept of God as an "old man sitting on a cloud" etc etc. I think I prefer the definition of Joel Goldsmith: "Creative Principle." Or you could invoke the Taoists: the unnamable, the unknowable, etc. That's more to the point. So who could or want to or try to prove that? I prefer to bask in the majesty of his created universe, and the conversation of good (cyber) friends. MTH

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  53. To MTH:

    "When I was young, my mother was very insistent that we have the "courage of our convictions (beliefs)" by which of course she meant the courage of HER (oalc) convictions. It bugs her no end that I do indeed have the courage of MY convictions."

    That is priceless, I think they sent Lutheran Mothers to the same school to learn that! My mother once sat across the table from my older sister having some kind of debate and proclaimed "when and how did you ever become so opinionated!", when of course my devout Lutheran mother is the most opiniated of them all. But to her they are not opinions, just factual reality!

    Good stuff MTH

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  54. MTH, I, of course, asked the impossible when asking for proof of God's existence. I only asked to illustrate a point. I believe there is an upper limit to man's understanding pertaining to God and to fully believe in him, one must make a leap of faith. Whether or not you call it faith,conviction, hope, or belief doesn't matter. Pertaining to the 'old man in the clouds' argument: Do you believe that man was created in His image? If you do, I would think the 'old man in the clouds' would better fit your belief than the unnameable, the unknowable, etc. Just a thought. I am enjoying the discourse ;)

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  55. I was browsing the archives of this blog and came across the 'tipping point' discussion and would like to add my two cents.
    The tipping point for me came very early in life, when I was about 11 or 12. Even though it has been many years, I remember it as if it were yesterday. My father came and asked forgiveness after a sermon and like all previous times, I just clung to his neck silent. Later that evening as we stood around the kitchen he asked, "Do you know how to ask for forgiveness or what to say when someone asks it of you?" To which I meekly replied, "yes". "Well, why do you stay silent?", says he. "I don't know" says I. I then went off to my room and pondered it on my own and came to the startling conclusion that I did not feel guilty for anything. Not only this, I thought that that the act of asking for forgiveness was just a ritual, nothing more. Or in 11 year-old terms, "cause you had to". I held off from asking forgiveness until I reached confirmation at the tender age of 15. As most here know, the confirmation class sits in view of the entire church and and with the weight of hundreds of eyes, I dutifully turned to the person on my left.
    Zoom to the present. I occasionally return to the OALC for the purpose of visiting family but I rarely hear retribution. I guess I've just always been to radical, to quick to argue and there seems to have been an understanding reached. Don't chastise me and I won't get 'intellectual' with you. Works for me.

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  56. To anon 03:15,

    Who cares? Hundreds of people trapped in that oppressive system called the OALC care.
    Most are good people, born and raised in the church, and taught from childhood not to question what is taught and preached.
    Why don't they just leave, you might say? Because they are conditioned from childhood to leave the church is to be doomed to hell!
    Surely, when adulthood is reached, you might say, then you should be able to find your way out.
    Sometimes, yes, but it is very difficult. Why, because the OALC isn't just a church, it's an entire culture. Members only associate with other members, and have no social life outside the church. Most people born into the religion have mother, father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, etc., in the church. So, leaving the church is really leaving all your family and friends behind. You see, they won't have anything to do with you after you leave. Oh, they may try to get you to return and ask forgiveness for your doubts and unbelief, but when you don't return, the shunning begins. I've seen it first hand, and it is very cruel.
    I could go on and describe more mean spirited things I have personally experienced regarding leaving this church, but it would serve no purpose other than allowing me to rant and get it off my chest, all the while boring everyone to death.
    I have many issues to deal with, but I will be OK.
    I pray that God will open the eyes of my friends still in the church, and show them the freedom of leaving.

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  57. "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

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  58. OALC-doubter
    Even more than it being your whole culture, it is your entire community! All of your friendships from birth are there. I'm FALC. I can never remember my mother being a room mother, in the PTA, or anything that related to school. Their chances of having friendships outside of the church aren't very great. They are sheltered in their friendships within the structure of the church. So who would they discuss their doubts with? I so completely understand what you are saying. The FALC doesn't shun, but you will be different forever. And you certainly don't fit in anymore at sewing club! Free now (sorta)but I know where my roots are.

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    Replies
    1. The FALCs I met were actually more inclined to visit people's churches than OALC. I was left with impression it was encouraged. Yall sound inspired in the mp3s too.

      Delete
  59. I had asked my father one time why they focus so much on sin, I was just curious. He said, well, thats what we are, sinful people. I told him they should focus more on God and his love and grace,and I got no response.
    I was not brought into a close personal relationship with Christ. I had never heard of that.
    Your right ijumped about it being your whole community. You have all your friends and all your family there. And it is hard to leave. I didn't want to leave. But I couldn't sit and pretend to accept the beliefs either. No amount of forgiveness of my sins could have changed how I felt. I didn't leave just because I wanted to sin. But thats what they say, we are just in sin. Thats the ONLY reason we leave.
    Is it such a sin to say this? I feel that we are not Gods only children. I don't know who is going to be saved.
    Where is my right to say I don't agree with some of the rules? My heart says NO, its not wrong. You can't MAKE me believe it isn't when I feel its not. And just because I disagree I'm out of unity. Unity is so much more than surface minor issues. Husband and wives, friends disagree on things all the time. But we agree to disagree because the relationship is more important. Same with religion. The foundation is there, does it really matter whether our church is dancing for God, or singing solemnly? I don't think it is. Its amazing how much more appreciative I am of other people and their differences. I have learned to appreciate it instead of say, No, my way of thinking is correct, your wrong.

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  60. To ijumped:
    Didn't you discover that when you jumped you didn't fall... no.... God gave you wings right at that moment when you took the leap of faith and you soared.... with wings of grace...

    It's exhilirating to feel and see God's beauty and Majesty when HE is the wind beneath your wings.

    There are really no adequate words to describe it...

    Bless all of you who have taken that leap of faith...keep those wings beating!

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  61. I agree that he gave me wings. But before I jumped I had such a fear that I would go splat! That maybe they were right and there was just deadness out there. Even though I knew they were wrong and saw Christ in so many "uns", the human part that wants to belong was paralyzed with fear for so long. I feel that I will always be "in recovery". Not that I didn't have a happy childhood. I was very happy. But when the age of reason came, I couldn't swallow the lies and inconsistancies. I stayed for far too long trying to walk the fence. After awhile the balancing became just too exhausting. So know I follow only one man. The one who was truly God and truly man. Thats it.
    I wasn't brave like so many others who left in their youth. I was around 40. I know I'm still in my youth compared to some but If I could change anything, I would have left the church right out of high school. But then I walked the path that was set out for me, so who knows?

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  62. Dear ijumped,
    Your last posting describes me... the balancing act, leaving slowly. I left physically in my early 20s because of moving so far away from a church, but I was in my 40s, I think, before I left emotionally. And I, too, am still in recovery. Bless you, ijumped. You have a kindred spirit in me.

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  63. Many Trails Home1/25/2007 01:31:00 PM

    I have been so enjoying the heartfeltness of these previous few posts. Such courage, such lovingkindness, such openness to new understanding (from the Holy Spirit or wherever) . . . I have to say, I am impressed.
    To Philomath: Of course I believe man was created in "his own image," but the "image" in which we are created is Spirit. God as "Spirit" has no need of eyes, ears, feet etc. so why would he look like a mammal (human mammal)? I am spirit, you are spirit, God is spirit, we are all spirit - we are just wearing a human body temporarily but that is not WHO I AM.
    I'll tell you a little story (I hope you guys don't mind my stories): When my daughter was 2-3, she "saw" angels. One morning I went to see why she was still in bed and she was staring at the ceiling with a look of bliss. "Can you see them, Mom?" she asked and went on to describe "angels" in pastel colors. Some time later we were looking at a picture of an angel (human female with wings) and she said, "Oh isn't that silly, angels don't look like that. They're just light."
    Out of the mouths of babes . . .
    Many blessings. MTH

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  64. A typical OALC Conversation:

    1) 'Speace
    2) 'Speace
    1) Hows things by you?
    2) Day by day. Day by day. How about yourself?
    1) O, just one day at a time.
    2) Are you going to June Meetings?
    1) God willing.
    2) Take salutes.
    1) That's the hearts desire.
    2) Are you going to gatherings today?
    1) God willing.
    2) Pray for us.
    1) As much as God gives strength.
    2) Goodbye and 'speace.
    1) Goodbye and 'speace.

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  65. Correction. It's "Bye-Gus Peace"

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  66. That is so funny and correct..

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  67. 4 eyes cracks me up!!!! I still partake to indulge the folks. My kids think I'm goofy. If it wasn't so over done it would have more meaning.

    ...also don't forgst "Thanks be to God" or "Salutes from all the Christians" and "Special Salutes from So and So" (there's different levels of salutes)

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  68. I have always disliked all the 'Speacing', going around the room, barely touching the hand or fingers of each person, including all the unfamiliar faces. I hated it, partly because I was so shy and partly because it was required. I few years ago, when I was well into middle age, I walked into my mom's house carrying some fresh-cut flowers for her. I had spilled much of the water down my front, so instead of 'Speacing' a woman church member in the living room, I smiled and went straight to the kitchen to deposit the dripping flowers. My mom immediately reprimaded me, quite loudly, "Aren't you going to salute her?" I was mortified!

    I was still carrying that grudge when Free's sister told me how she likes greeting people, one of those things she's carried on from her OALC days. She said it was important to acknowledge others, let them know you care, share of moment of time with them. I think that is such a wonderful way of looking at it. From now on, I will try to follow her example.

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  69. no point in making fun of a group like them...only strengthens their resolve

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  70. In the FALC its "greetings from" or "so and so sends their greetings". Which is ok except they only send their greetings to those that are still in the "flock". Everyone else is chopped liver.

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  71. Many Trails Home1/25/2007 07:13:00 PM

    I'll share my "Speace" story also (previously posted some time ago). I was visiting relatives in the UP (Mich) with my children and went off to get gas. The "Christian" neighbors popped in while I was gone and did the "G'spease" rounds. My son, pre-teen, was unfamiliar with the routine and couldn't understand them despite repetition. Finally, in puzzlement, he said, "Capisce?"

    My sister who was present said, "Oh, that's 'Trails' son from California." No further explanation necessary. Later she chastised me for not preparing him but frankly, it never occurred to me! I laugh about it to this day. And I'm still laughing about "That's the heart's desire" etc. So, so funny. Humans are amusing, no question. MTH

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  72. Wasn't really making fun of OALC, just having a little fun!

    Besides, the internet is a sin to them and we know none of them are here, right?? Wink, wink, crossed fingers!!

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  73. I think you forgot a couple of lines in the middle of the conversation -- at least for men, or perhaps it's only true of Minnesotans...

    "Ketchenany?"
    "Goddafew."
    "Kindardey?"
    "Nordernsnwalleyes."
    "Whachoosin?"
    "Minnowenabobber."

    Speaking of fractured English, perhaps we should have some fun with "Finglish". Any of you ever been told to "Pussa peippibukky petiroomaan? I am going through some boxes of stuff that my sisters put together when they cleaned out my Mother's house when she died. They marked the boxes "rainy winter day pastime". I found everything from old pictures to a couple of my Grandfather's little notebooks, in which he had his "groceri listti". He seems he bought äppyliä, kaluna karoseenia, sokeria, siiruppia, and lots of other stuff. I laughed 'til I cried!

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  74. Why did the OALCer cross the road?
    To get to the .........Other Side.

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  75. Some Finnish humor:

    Public service announcements from around the world:

    USA: "It's ten o'clock: do you know where your children are?"

    Italy: "It's ten o'clock: do you know where your husband is?"

    France: "It's ten o'clock: do you know where your wife is?"

    Finland: "It's ten o'clock: do you know what time it is?"

    Q:What's the difference between a Finn and a mosquito?
    A: Mosquitos are only annoying in the summer!

    1: Do you know how to find a lost Finn?
    2: No.
    1: Good!

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  76. Hey Im from MN too, and we have an old cassette tape somewhere around that my mom gave me called "How to talk Minnesotan" it is a hoot! Ever heard of the MN goodbye? It takes at least 2 hours if you do it right and the goodbyes are said at about 30 pitstops on the way out to the car. We have a family joke about the time my dad stopped to talk at the door, on the sidewalk, at the road, near the front of the car, by the car door, finally in the car, then went to start the car and realized he had been sitting in the back seat for 15 minutes!

    Yes there are definately sweet memories mingled with the sorrow. As with anyones growing up Im sure.

    We also have an Ole and Lena book around that my kids think is kind of funny it its own strange way, but dont understand all of it. I will do my best to explain what I can :) I love it, and Im also the only person in my family that thinks the movie Fargo is hilarious, no one else can even make themselves sit through 5 minutes of it. (yes the plot is stupid, but I ignore that)

    BTW I see many of these posts, not as making fun of oalc members (or the others) but as some humor in the midst of pain. I guess I could see how current members may not see the humor or may take offense, but as for my part none is intended, and I didnt sense any ill will. Just a different sense of humor as in a different place. I dont think thats not such a bad thing.

    I love to laugh and Im never afraid to say "I dont get it, please explain it to me" (which yes I relize sometimes takes the humor out of it, but not for me. unfortunately that can often make me the but of the joke, but Im ok with that too!)

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  77. oalcer, welcome! It is great to have you here and willing to participate in conversation! Ive enjoyed reading your well thought out posts, and the conversations surrounding.

    I just need to get online more often so Im not trying so hard to catch up and post on previous topics :p

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  78. Some more Finn humor:

    Q: What are the best ten years of a Finn's life?
    A: Third grade.

    Q: How can you identify a Finn pirate?
    A: He's the one with patches over both eyes!

    OK, OK , I'll go away!!!!

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  79. LOLOL cvow, now THAT's the kind of 'Finnish" I understand! That is so funny, it's been so long since I've heard that!

    "Greetings" in the ALC also. Have never heard of 'salute'...

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  80. 4eyes, your conversation cracked me up. Tweak it a little, and it applies to certain types from the ALC as well. They just use "greetings" rather than salutes." Some of the unusual turns of speach in the Laestadian communities come from Finnish literally translated into English. Have you ever heard anyone say they're "going doctors" or "going Someros"? Finnish doesn't require the "to the".

    Perhaps we can analogize the Laestadian identity in some ways with the Jewish identity. Both identities are often more than just religion. They are also a cultural identities that are transmitted largely by internal growth from being raised in the system rather than external growth from evangelism. There are Jewish atheists. Does the idea of a Laestadian atheist seem impossible?

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  81. Ilmarinen, I see your point but it only serves to contrast, for me, the relatively scant culture of the newer tradition. (If only we had Laestadian klezmer bands!). We do have the equivalent of challah, however.

    I've heard from several readers who attend Laestadian churches for social, not ideological reasons. In fact, I would bet that many decide at some point to leave the ideology unexamined, as the cost to one's integrity is pretty high.

    As for Laestadianity (nice, eh?) as an ethnic identity, you might be interested in a work titled Religious Denominations as Ethnic Communities: A Regional Case Study by Timothy L. Smith of the University of Minnesota.

    I just downloaded it for $5. Those of you working in universities can download it for free from JSTOR.

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  82. That's very interesting that other LLL churches don't use "salutes", or haven't even heard of it? In the OALC, you never hear "greetings", always "salutes from ....", or "send salutes", or "salutations". It's an example of a culture of it's own.

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  83. It's funny how words and terminology can play such a role in identity. I have always felt that when I say "Give my regards" or "Greetings from me" instead of "Salutes", I'm identifying myself as someone Outside the OALC, even among those who have known me forever. Am I reading too much into this?

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  84. The first time my husband (he never grew up Laestadian) heard my family say God's Peace to everyone, he looked at me and said,"What did they say? God pees?" LOL I was rolling! Nice greeting though, why not say it to everyone? I would want the peace of God to be with everyone!

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  85. Klezmer is alive and well in Minneapolis, even for those of us who tune into this blog. The Klezmatics, a well known NYC Klezmer band, will perform at the Cedar Cultural Center Saturday, January 27, 8 P.M. Prairie Heym Klezmorim will be performing on February 18.

    The piece, "Rumenye, Rumenye" is one of my favorites. It is also apparently one of the most requested pieces, according to one Klezmer CD in my collection, "Yiddishe Renaissance" by the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

    Nothing like putting on a couple of Klezmer CD's when you want to clean house in a hurry :-)

    All are welcome including former and current Laestadians of all races, colors, creeds, and political parties.

    The Cedar Cultural Center is the venue for the annual Nordic Roots Festival which draws groups from Scandinavia and Finland.
    http://www.thecedar.org/

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  86. Sisu I think you are correct that using different terminology than the expected does identify yourself as seperate/outside that particular church. ESPECIALLY when you "know better" In my experience I was critisized for "purposefully making a point that I was excluding myself from them" by not using thier terminology. But also in my experience its them that made the big deal out of it, not me. I wasnt intentionally trying to do or point out anything. I was just using terminology I was familiar with using in my new life outside of the church. Interesting yes...

    I also would prefer to greet each person individually, let them know I am aware they are in the room, check in with them etc. I think the "Gods Peace" greeting doesnt meet that goal, but I think I feel the way I do now because of having to use it growing up. I just have different motivations now, so I spend time with each person, and I find words that fit that conversation and that individual. Much more meaningful, yet still wishing the peace of God be with you.

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  87. another exoalc1/26/2007 11:01:00 AM

    Most of the time I am not offered a hand and a 'gus-peace', (perhaps it's the short hair and makeup that's the tip-off), but if I am, this is what I do. I take the hand warmly (or that is my intent) look them in the eye kindly and say, "The peace of God be with you, too."

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  88. The Catholics have incorporated the sharing of the sign of peace immediately following the Our Father (Lord's Prayer). We shake hands with those around us and share a "Peace be with you" or something similar.

    Laestadianity, Free? Looks like you're taking after Trails and me in inventing new words (ain't it fun?). Or else perhaps you've been listening to George W too much, as he's pretty good at inventigating words as well. :-)

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  89. It's so interesting how we can all come from different places within the ALC world, and yet, I feel such a sense of belonging here.

    I've only recently found the various ex-LLC links, blogs and websites online, although I've been disconnected from the LLC for about thirteen years or so. I'm loving this. I see that most of the posters here identify with the ALC side. I grew up in the church that separated from the ALC in 1973 and became the Laestadian Lutheran Church.

    And yes, they think they are the only ones who are going to heaven. They greet each other with the previously mentioned "Gus peace". They can cut, curl and perm their hair, but absolutely cannot color it or wear makeup. Of course, if they just happen to rinse their hair with lemon juice and sit out in the sun for several hours, that is rationalized as being perfectly acceptable. No organized sports, because it is too competitive and glorifies the athletes. However, competition is fine and dandy in the married vs. single weekly church hockey games. Television is verboten, but certain videos watched at home are okay, and so is watching videos on the internet, for some strange reason. Drinking is out. Listening to any music out in public other than church music will make people raise their eyebrows at you, but people turn the country station on as soon as they pull out of the church parking lot. I was once told that classical music is okay, but only because one of the ministers listened to it. Gossip, sarcasm and mockery are standard procedure. They insist that they are the "one" church the Bible refers to, and in the same breath they say that they are not the ones to judge someone. If a member leaves the church, other members badger them with a flurry of phone calls, letters, emails, visits, and so forth, and then, all contact just kind of dissipates, and suddenly one feels as though they have ceased to exist as far as the church members are concerned.

    Do I sound bitter? I hope not. I just get frustrated trying to make sense out of senseless reasoning.

    But I'm glad to have found y'all. Thanks for hosting this blog, free2beme, and thanks for all the great comments.

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  90. Who am I….Death…I am here.

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  91. Many people make up words or spelleen of words on the internet. Interesting, izn't it?

    How is Webster's dictionary going to keep up our rapidly changing vocabulary do to technology?

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  92. It is very interesting that other LLL churches don't use, or some have never even heard of, "salutes". I never hear "greetings" used in the OALC, only "salutes from..." or "send salutes...", or "salutations from.." It depicts a culture in itself

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  93. Many Trails Home1/26/2007 01:10:00 PM

    You are right about the omission of "to the." In 4eyes conversation, it would be "Are you going June meetings?"

    I have a question for the extended blog: Does anyone know anything about the Hemet congregation? Address, hours of services, maybe phone number? I have been considering checking it out when I am in southern Calif. one of these days - "field research," you know. (It is one of the many "trails," after all). This got me thinking about the extended "Laestadian family," and how we do not really consider other branches of Laestadianism kin. Did you? Do you ex-oalcers think of FALC etc as "cousins?" Far as I recall, they are considered as "dead faith" as Catholics and Baptists or whatever, maybe not quite as bad as Jews and Muslims. We would never consider going to another Laestadian church if we were out of town, for instance. But are they not really just cousins once removed? Don't you think this is wierd? That they also read Laestadius' sermons and yet we look at them as complete strangers? I find this most fascinating. Makes it somewhat easier to understand the warring folks in Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, even the Sunnis and Shiites. Why are hate and fear so much stronger (apparently) than love? I am amazed anew at the peculiarities of human social inventions, in particular, religions. MTH

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  94. To Anonymous Fri Jan 26, 12:04:35 PM PST

    You are a weirdo.

    In the Independant ALC, it was Jumalan Terve or Gods Greetings upon meeting, or Jumalan Rauhaan, Gods Greetings when leaving. Speakers (note not preachers) would say "Greetings from the Believers in Negaunee" if he had just been there the weekend before. Never a solute.

    The whole greetings thing always wierded me out, I didn't like being so conspicuous, it felt like everybody was staring to see if you did with the right amount of enthusiasm. ALso, how many people was enough? If you were in a crowd of believers, how many did you greet, and if you made contact were you suppose to greet? God forbid you should meet in a mall outside of Church or something, talk about uncomfortable.

    To this day I am not a big hand shaker.

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  95. To MTH: There is a Congregation from the Independent Apostolic Lutheran Church there (Pollarites/Reedites) in Hemet, for years I had posted on my wall above my computer hand written instructions from my Father on how to get there, with the admonishment "Services are the first weekend of the month, try to get there". That was 6 years ago and I never did.

    If that is the church you are thinking of, see my previous posts, that is what you can expect. Services are one weekend a month, Saturday Evening and all day Sunday (old Farmers Schedule), Communion is on Sunday, usually Hymns followed by singing. Coffee and Bars on Saturday, Pot Luck on Sunday. In Minneapolis there would be another Saturday evening designated as "Song Services". When the singing gets very passionate expect some rejoicing from some of the ladies.

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  96. Edit: Gods Peace when leaving

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  97. Me again. I didn't know other LLL churches read Laestadius, other than OALC. Do they read it during the service? OALC always reads a sermon of LLL prior to the sermon.

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  98. I don't remember ever hearing anything read (sermons or otherwise) by LLL. This is the first place I've heard of "salutes" or "salutations". It was always "greetings from so-and-so", "greetings from Brainerd", or "send our greetings" when someone was travelling to another place where there were Laestadians or "believers" (vs. unbelievers--the rest of the universe).

    Discipline is another subject that was always taken seriously. The worst thing in the world was a disrespectful or lazy child. At my house growing up discipline was always a good swat on the takapuoli, unless it was serious enough for the SWITCH.

    My first husband thought nothing of pulling hair, pinching, pulling on ears, or a swift kick in the behind. He said he was raised that way (scream, holler and hit, is the way one of his cousins described it) and he thought I was too soft when I objected to his methods. I think that is fairly common in some families in the LLC.

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  99. Many Trails Home1/26/2007 03:55:00 PM

    Thanks, Mr. Smith. It sounds a bit much; I think I'll reconsider. Maybe I'll stick with the Quakers, Buddhists, or whatever else strikes my fancy. MTH

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  100. I always knew that the congregations in Gackle, North Dakota were more than a little unusual. We had two churches there, one being the Old Finnish Apostolic Church and the other being the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church, three miles apart. I have a set of grandparents buried in each cemetery.

    I knew that since my paternal Granddad (good OFALC) was best friends with the pastor (or whatever title he may have used) of the FALC church, my Dad actually went to confirmation school at the FALC church because the OFALC wasn't having confirmation class the summer they decided he should go. This would have been in the early 1920s. I was actually related to more people who went to the FALC church, and most of the people in both churches visited each other on a regular basis. They intermarried and bounced back and forth between churches at times. If there were meetings of one kind or another at either church, many folks from the other church would also attend. I was just talking to my sister and she said when she went to confirmation at the OFALC --probably around 1955 or so, a boy from the FALC would pick her up as he was attending confirmation class with her.

    My recollections were that the FALC members were allowed to have televisions, men wore ties, women cut and curled their hair, and they had an organ in church. Other than that, we all talked Finnish and got along swimmingly!

    While at home, I never once heard either of my parents utter one word against the FALC. As a matter of fact, that is the church my mother was raised in and attended until she and my dad were married. She then faithfully attended the OFALC church well beyond the death of my father, until one day when she said the preacher condemned her whole family -- sister and brother, mother and father -- to hell. She never darkened those doors again, and I was so proud of her being able to live her convictions and take that kind of action as an elderly lady. You think it's hard to leave as a teenager or young adult? I can only imagine what it was like to leave as a 70+ year old. I know there were many tears.

    Sports? My dad played baseball on the Gackle Finn Giants team for many years in the 1920s and 30s. They played every Sunday during the summer, and the other players came from both churches. In later years, as far as high school goes, one OALC boy held the basketball scoring record for Gackle High for many years. There were a couple of years when various Gackle High teams were powerhouses in state small school athletics, and the majority of those teams were made up of OALC boys. I was trying to think of a single OALC boy that did not play high school sports during the years I went to school, and cannot come up with a name. I played football, baseball, basketball, and track -- and later became a golfaholic, not to mention fishing and hunting, which have always for some reason been ok with other OALCers as well. Perhaps it was that whole casting nets thing that Jesus did, or else they pretend that by spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on equipment and getting game and fish that costs them about $129 a pound if they figured everything in was "sustenance" hunting and fishing... I know, I've done lots of it myself, but I never pretended I needed it to put food on the table!

    Of course, I think the rest of the OALC knew that the Gackle wild bunch was on the slippery slope anyway...and to think, they didn't even know about the drinking!

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  101. OALCer gone bad1/26/2007 07:48:00 PM

    I have been out of the OALC for a number of years now but still live in an OALC community. When I see them, occasionally they will s`peace me but I never respond with their greeting because I feel like I need to separate myself from them as much as possible. I dont feel like I need to conform to ANY of their customs or beliefs. As a result, the vast majority of OALCers will not gus-peace me and will even skip me when I am around others of their faith. Guess they only want God`s peace on their own people? I have even heard someone say once that it sounded like apple-spice.

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  102. could anyone please give me service times for OALC? They are not posted on yhe signs and I would like to visit there dont know who to call. (the church in Battle Ground) thanks.

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  103. apple'spice to you and yours!

    Do all OALC/ LLL related churches actively discourage reading the Bible? Not good to try understanding them, as they are just for comfort.... ???? What does that mean? I, personally find it difficult to swallow the "infallible" view- as people jotted it down and often fall short or have ulterior motives. I am completely puzzled about "christian" churches discouraging reading or studies of the Bible, and am wondering if that is only particular OALC groups or a wide spread view.

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  104. It is puzzling... like they are scared to actually wish you The Peace Of God - so sort of mumble it. I suppose it is prideful... Could it be from all of the non-native english speakers? Maybe a heavily accented "preacher" spoke with an accent, and every one else not wanting to rock the boat followed along.

    I also thought it sounded like apple-spice when I first heard it .

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  105. What is an effective way to witness to OALCers, without being confrontaional?

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  106. LLLreader sez: Good to hear from Finn poys from Gackle Nort Daa-kota. It's wonderful to hear that two branches of the Laestadian churches can get along. Some of the first families to settle in that area were Ritola, Wilen, Vetelainen, Parvey, Kopman around 1895. Between 1895-1900 the Hammerstom, Koskiniemi and Salminvaara families arrived. Between 1900-1906 here came the Tikka, Nikkila, Erikainen, Sarkkinen, Orrinen, more Parvys, Muonia, Wirkkunen, Wanha, Ollila, Kangas, Holmstrom, Niskanen, Koskey, Narkaus, Larson and Hiltunens. The first OALC congregation was formally established in 1901. John Homola Sr. was the first preacher, along with Matti Uskoski a little later.

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  107. Funny thing about the different factions of LLL churches.
    In all my many years in the OALC, I always thought there was only one "Heresy" church. A preacher would occasionaly mention heresy, as something to avoid ,but never elaborated on it. It was treated almost like a secret, and no one in church talked about it. All I new was that the Heresy church broke away from the "Truth" in order to follow the devils ways!
    Terms like LLC, ALC, and FALC were unheard of, until I started surfing the (sinful) net.
    It is very strange that as similar as these churches are, that each one calls the other "Heresy", and believes the others are all going to hell.
    Have any of you ever thought about how these LLL churches will be affected going forward, now that the internet is opening up these churches to public scrutiny. I think the days of keeping people locked in such a closed society are coming to an end.
    And we will all be better off for it!

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  108. In response to:

    “Mr. Smith said...
    To Anonymous Fri Jan 26, 12:04:35 PM PST

    You are a weirdo.”

    Follow the thread, it’s exceptionally complex…. “I am here” in addition to “Who am I”, benefit from your imagination and solve the conundrum.

    The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.

    The World As I See It, Einstein

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  109. …It was the experience of mystery—even if mixed with fear—that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone…

    Einstein

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  110. Boo hoo, my feelings are hurt!

    I guess nobody liked my Finn jokes!

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  111. Wow, cvow. For the first time in my life I feel a little envious of the people who grew up in Gackle.

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  112. Ilmarinen said: "Perhaps we can analogize the Laestadian identity in some ways with the Jewish identity. Both identities are often more than just religion. They are also a cultural identities that are transmitted largely by internal growth from being raised in the system rather than external growth from evangelism. There are Jewish atheists. Does the idea of a Laestadian atheist seem impossible? "

    Applause, applause, applause! :) Finally someone's saying that! I've been using that for years when trying to make non-Laestadians understand what Laestadianism really is about, it's not just religion, it's even also cultural and social, maybe even more cultural and social than religious, just like Judaism. I suspect there are also Laestadian atheists, but at least there are a lot of Laestadians who are totally indifferent or even totally opposed to the religious agenda preached by the Laestadian preachers, but just don't feel comfortable leaving their native cultural and social environment.

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  113. It seems as though more Laestadians are questioning and often leaving LLL churchs.. do you think it has something to do with assimilation into the culture, as as happened with other ethnic groups much earlier?

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  114. Judaism IS a good comparison. There are branches of Judaism that are messianic (Believe the savior has not come YET), also those who really equate being Jewish with their culture and primarily with the the state of Israel- a place.

    It seems to me MOST of the Lastadean identity is really cultural. However , the cultural identity has been associated so completely with spiritual beliefs that if you have the wrong hair style you might be on the path to hell.

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  115. I agree that modern tech. and culture make it hard to keep such a closed group together. (does it really stay together though- denial helps as break away groups are simply ignored!) Like the printing press with Christianity- printing the Bible in German opened it everyone's interpretation and study.

    If you look at other closed cultural groups in the US you see the same thing happen gradually. Mong young people tend to move away from their culture that believes in selling women, and other oppressive practices. Maybe the traditions made survival easier at some point- here it is just anacronistic.

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  116. I don't know if there are Jewish atheists- mainly people who just don't worry about the whole God and savior issue (agnostics?) ... as long as they have Israel it just does not matter.

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  117. So LLLreader, knowing that much history, I suspect you're from Gackle as well. Perhaps someday we'll have Free help us get in touch if you wish.

    The first "expedition" to the Gackle area was in 1893 or 1894 by five Finnish men who were living near the ND/SD line. Those were John Humola, Karl Wictor Wilen, Andrew Parvey, John Kopman, and Jacob Salmivaara. All but Salmivaara filed homesteads and the follwing year the other four brought their families up. This was ten years before Gackle was begun, and their nearest neighbors were 20 miles away. (I sure wish I could have seen that country in those days.) Salmivaara didn't return until 1904. These men were all OFALC stalwarts. That congregation met in homes until about 1920, I believe, when the church was finally built.

    The FALC church was built about ten years earlier, and families that belonged to that included the Poykkos, Niskanens, Andersons, Holmstroms, Naatus', Linds, Rankinens, Elglands, Santanens, and Karvonens.

    I've done extensive research on the history of the Finnish community in Gackle, so if anyone is interested, we can figure out how to get in touch. I'm always happy to share -- and learn from what anyone else might know. Some of the knowledge is already anectodal, as even the children of those settlers are almost all gone now. My concern is that if someone doesn't record some of those old stories that they will be lost forever, and that would be a shame. I kinda think that if we don't know where we came from, we might not know where we're going!
    :-)

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  118. wonder what happened to OALCer. He said he wanted to converse, then he vanished after just a few posts.Kinda disappointed becauseI was looking forward to what he had to say about purpose and reason for existance, etc. Nobody wants to beat you up, OALCer, just friendly conversing with OALC is hard to come by and you are a rare breed. I feel everyone would agree that your input is welcome here. I kinda thought their ministers told him (or her) to stop. Seems like something their leadership would say, right? from everything I have heard, I doubt the chuch would ever ok blog participation, but hope I am wrong. ATTENTION OALCers: YOU HAVE AN ENORMOUS RESPONSIBILITY TO TELL THE WORLD HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN IF YOU ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO KNOW HOW TO GET THERE!!! Is it just me or is evangelism not practiced there? Very confused........

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  119. LLLreader sez: To 4eyes-LOVE the jokes, keep em' coming. To cvow-I have never lived in Gackle, but my Dad's family came from Finland, to Calumet, to Gackle, and then Hockinson. I sure would like to get in touch with you. I only actually know the identity of one person who posts here. To theoforos & Ilmarinen (two brainy ones) I hadn't thought about it, but it's so CLEAR that the OALC is more cultural then religious. There is more to say about that idea.

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  120. Many Trails Home1/27/2007 10:00:00 AM

    To Outsider: I think OALCer is still around, lurking on the fringe. I've wondered if he actually IS a preacher, or otherwise officially approved to participate in this site. He may be the one responsible for "Who am I . . . death . . I am here" posted on Fri. (Of course, when people stick with "Anonymous," it gives the rest of us a hard time trying to follow them). This last was too spooky for me. I think I've had enough of riddles.

    4eyes: I enjoyed your jokes! (We tend to be a bit serious here). And I've enjoyed the Einstein quotes; will have to get me a copy of that book.

    Free, aren't you pleased with how this blog has been going, depth of thought, if you will, expanding understanding - Laestadianism as a culture more than religion, for instance? I love it.

    To "Witness:" I don't think there is any way to "witness" to them except as an example, by how you live your life. They would be no more interested in your witness than that of the occasional Jehovah's Witness. They think that THEY are witnessing to YOU. And this business of evangelizing: they are a bit schizo about that, as they have absolutely no obligation to send missionaries out to the "worldlies" but if you do have an opportunity to preach to a co-worker, for instance, it is your spiritual obligation to do that. Failing to do this is one of the "standard sins" for which people ask forgiveness.
    Does this agree with your observations and experience? MTH

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  121. never forgot
    I do know an athiest Jew personally.
    So they are Jewish by culture and birth, but not by belief. Make sense?

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  122. Love the jokes 4eyes!

    Has anyone noticed how serious many laestadians and even ex-laestadians are? They need to lighten up.

    4eyes, I guess you have no worries when the time comes for "an eye for an eye."

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  123. I guess you could say people that are labeled "conservatives" are too serious. Did you see Cheney's interview with Wolf? Holy Jeepers! Cheney belongs on The Sopranos.

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  124. MTH
    I think you are right. OALCer is lurking out there, soaking up everything that is going on. Just makes me wonder if he understands how hard it must be for them to defend their own faith when he offers dialogue the vanishes when it gets "difficult?". How sad to have a faith where there seems to be no assurance of salvation and no scriptural backing for beliefs. Maybe they pull alot of beliefs from LLL`s writings. If so, I hope they dont feel those writings are are on equal footing with the Bible. What do you all say? Does part of the sin list come from LLL`s writing`s? MTH- OALCer probably is a church leader therefore authorized to post.

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  125. Now, now now, folks. You're making conclusions about what or who our OALC friend is, with only some bare circumstantial evidence. The only thing I saw that I accept as data is that he/she indicated a calm discussion was desired, with no stone throwing. I have seen no evidence that our friend is a "church leader" or "authorized to post". As an engineer and scientist, I like data. Y'all must be philosophers with your "what would we like the answer to be" tone. :-)

    I'd like to see that calm discussion ensue, where we could share why some of us have left the OALC (a myriad of different reasons as evidenced already), and expand that to why people stay in the OALC when some of the attitudes and teachings are so harsh and unfriendly.

    As an opener to that, I personally saw and heard an OALC preacher, Sunday after Sunday, attack three or four non-OALC men who were married to OALC women. The men sat there each Sunday and took it, even though it had to hurt terribly. Yet whenever there was something that needed to be done at the church, they were there first with their talents and their pocketbooks. Whenever there were OALC people traveling through, their homes were opened and the welcome mat put out. Why didn't the other OALC members who heard these attacks not stop that preacher and tell him to cease and desist? Why didn't the OALC spouses not defend their husbands? Why didn't I defend my friends -- something I am ashamed of to this day. I took the easy route and just left, but at the very least I probably should have extracted a pound of flesh about the matter.

    Why do these preachers get the reverence they get? Now please note that by no means am I saying all of the preachers are like that because many I think are good men trying to do a difficult job with absolutely no training -- but I could name several that I would identify as hatemongers almost as virulent as any Ayatollah. Those tired old platitudes about how God will guide them and help them understand more just doesn't wash, when you see the problems confronting them.

    Whaddayallthink?

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  126. Many Trails Home1/27/2007 04:53:00 PM

    Sheesh, cvow, I just said "I wondered," I didn't say I'd "concluded!" You can be a bit tough yourself, sometimes. But you have to admit oalcer is very . . . discreet.

    I can't say I remember any preachers being downright mean to "unbelievers." Maybe they were nastier out there in Gackle, even tho they let you "believers" get away with murder, from our (toeing-a-more-devout-line) perspective.
    MTH

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  127. LURKING-OALCER :)1/27/2007 05:32:00 PM

    Ho Ho. I am neither a preacher nor "an authorized blogger". I apologize for the absence but I have been busy and I've only had time to skim through the posts. There have been some interesting rebuttals by free2bme and mr smith which I will get to. Unfortunately, I can not do it now for I only have a few minutes.
    MTH: I am NOT the creepy Death poster.
    Outsider: how is the dialog "difficult"?
    More later...

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  128. another ex-oalc1/27/2007 06:03:00 PM

    I remember when I was a young prepubertal kid in Minneapolis, there was a young black family who came to visit, a husband and wife and their young children. They were essentially snubbed, not shown courtesy, let alone kindness. I remember being embarassed, but said nothing, kids weren't allowed to say anything... Today, forty some years later (and 20 some years out of the OALC) that memory is still painful and confusing.

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  129. LURKING OALCER-
    It was simply a guess as to your absence... just glad that it was unfounded. Welcome back and looking forward to some peaceful blogging.

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  130. I am rather surprised to hear someone think some of the OALC preachers are hate-mongers. I wish I could discuss privately with whomever on that one. I can't think of any who would fit that category.

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  131. o-boy
    I dont believe the preachers are hate mongers either but I do agree with cvow that they are trying to do a difficult job with zero training and that can create some serious problems. Who knows what happened in the instance cvow brings up. but I would suspect it is somewhere in the middle. O-boy are you an oalc member or just sympathetic toward them?

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  132. To O-Boy,

    Cvow didn't say he THINKS there are hatemongering preachers in the OALC, he said he could name several. Please don't deny what people that have left the church have experienced, even if you haven't personally experienced the same.

    On this blog, when Cvow talks, people listen!

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  133. To anon 10:17--When I go to a funeral and I hear Bud talk in a disrespectful way about the family members who are not OALC I consider that a bit hateful. I know people who have left the church over what has been said about their family members at funerals. They were THAT upset. Can you understand how that would feel?

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  134. Speaking of Gackle, I noticed in the Columbian another OALC member passed & the obit said she was originally from Gackle.
    Just wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt sympathies to her friends & families. May the peace of God be with you all at this difficult time.

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  135. Yes, Lempi and her husband Väino were my Godparents!

    They enjoyed 72 years of marriage before he died just months ago! They were as nice people as you could ever hope to meet and they were my friends.

    Funny what you recall from childhood -- I remember going to their place as a little boy and they had the coolest little toy steam engine that really worked -- which Väino would always dutifully fire up for me!

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  136. Lempi? Was she known by that name also in Gackle. We knew her as Violet. Very comical and loving.

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  137. Sorry...brain lapse. I was thinking of her and her family and wrote down her sister's name. Lempi was also married to a Hervi.

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  138. mr. smith: While there are truths to what you write concerning 'the majority', I would think that a 'tyranny of the minority' would be much worse. I do not think of the majority opinion as the absolute right but I must accept that it is more right than the minority if I am to believe in Democracy (this applies even when I am in the minority). The idea that the majority is stupid and must be lead by a superior minority is a dangerous idea, indeed.
    free2bme: I agree that the modern man and ancient man share the same desire for the truth. I agree that from the time of Odysseus until the time of you, man has searched. I am arguing that somewhere along the way, a truth was found. That truth is: there is no truth. I know fully well that this isn't the universally accepted truth and I am not accusing you of adhering to it. I am saying, however, that it has permeated our national consciousness and is having damaging effects. As an example, let me use the family. The family is one of the cornerstones of civilization (an old truth). Ideally, it takes away man's natural tendency for promiscuity but does not sexually repress him. The woman can be more of a mother to her children because she doesn't worry about survival and the children can grow in her loving care (I apologize for the oversimplification but I think you get the point). Modern society does not see the traditional family as being a cornerstone and, in fact, some sectors view the traditional definition to be a roadblock and it is this mindset that I am speaking. This mindset says out with old and in with the new-only the new isn't defined, it's ambiguous, its whatever fits me, its whatever supports me.
    I say all of this because I sense this mindset here. The OALC didn't fit you, didn't support you and therefore you rejected it. I think this is an important point. There is much on the rejection felt by those who leave, but it is a two way street and those in the OALC feel rejected as well. I feel as if acceptance is what is most desired on this blog and it is the one thing we can not give (I am speaking strictly spiritual). Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Free2bme, you asked an interesting question: does doubt contradict or enhance faith? Well, certainly doubt contradicted your faith in the OALC but it may enhance your faith now. The question is, are the doubts genuine or are they phrased in such a way to enhance your faith?

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  139. Oalcer, did you ever think of this? Maybe the OALC way was not what we felt in our hearts. Shall we stay in a situation that contradicts what we feel in our hearts that God is telling us? Is it right to feel spiritually starved to death? The OALC works for you, but for many of us, we felt starved, hungry.Its not about what WE want, its about what God wants for us. Just speaking for myself, I live for God, him and only him. I feel if you cannot grow in faith in a particular church, then you need to move on to where you can grow. God guides and leads his children.

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  140. To OALCER,

    I guess you have not read much Mill. Minority rule is not at all what I am advocating, I believe in minimal interference when it comes to individual civil liberties, or open thinking.

    From Wikipedia
    "The phrase tyranny of the majority, used in discussing systems of democracy and majority rule, describes a scenario in which decisions made by a majority under that system would place that majority's interests so far above a minority's interest as to be comparable in cruelty to "tyrannical" despots."

    Mill wrote that the Tyranny of the Majority can be as cruel as the Tyranny of a Dictator (or Minority Gobernment)

    Also from Wikipedia:
    "On Liberty is a philosophical work in the English language by 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill, first published in 1859. Composed just after the death of his wife, it is the culmination of part of a plan to record their entire philosophical conclusion. To the Victorian readers of the time it was a radical work, advocating moral and economic freedom of individuals from the state. Mill was not opposed to government intervention in economic affairs; as a liberal, he believed that while property owners' rights needed to be protected, the state also had a role to play in the redistribution of wealth.

    Perhaps the most memorable point made by Mill in this work, and his basis for liberty, is that "Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign". Mill is compelled to say this in opposition to what he calls the "tyranny of the majority" (a line from Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America), wherein through control of etiquette and morality, society is an unelected power that can do horrific things. Mill's work could be considered a reaction to this social control by the majority and his advocacy of individual decision-making over the self. The famous 'Harm Principle' is also articulated in this work: people can do anything they like as long as it does not harm others. All branches of liberalism - as well as other political ideologies - consider this to be one of their core principles. However, they often disagree on what exactly constitutes harm."

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  141. oalc-doubter, thanks for saying you listen to me, but just remember, I only have opinions -- which might be violently disagreed with by others of my friends here on this blog! Witness my attempts to convince the lefties of the error of their ways -- by the time they were done, Free and the others had beat me into a quivering pulp...:-)

    Seriously, the incident of which I spoke earlier was one example of what I spoke of. Why would a preacher tell a 70+ year old lady from behind the altar that her mother, father, sister, and brother were all in hell for belonging to the FALC church? Only two reasons come to me -- hatred and cruelty or else just incredible stupidity. That man is dead now and to paraphrase Samuel Clemens, while I was not going to attend the funeral, I would have been willing to send a very nice note saying I approved.

    I have also personally heard two of the current crop of preachers -- now getting to be some of the old and respected ones -- beat the Catholics and everyone else they could think of right into the ground, accusing them of being everything from gamblers to drunkards to whoremongers. That kind of speech serves a couple of purposes; first it points out that these men really do enjoy their "authority" regardless of how pious they claim to be, and it demonstrates their ignorance and hatred of things they know nothing about.

    It's not only the OALC either. I recall to this day a funeral I attended conducted by a FALC preacher. The deceased was kind of a town drunk, but a pleasant enough fellow. That preacher loudly and directly stated that //name// was burning in hell even as he spoke and the rest had better take warning.

    I'm sorry, but I will not accept these as examples of someone so avid in his faith that he can say those things. When you deliberately hurt someone because you have some kind of perceived authority over them, it is cowardice -- and hatred of the worst kind.

    Off the altar, I've heard on numerous occasions from Minneapolis to the west coast "good Christians" talking about all the niggers and gooks that are moving into an area. I last heard that only a couple of years ago from a group of men standing 20 feet outside the Battle Ground church -- and some of them were "older, wiser, Christians" who wear the pious mantle oh so well. That's hate speech.

    Now do all OALCers exhibit this kind of behavior? Absolutely not! However, why isn't this kind of thing stopped by the reasonable ones? Why are the "preachers" not told that condemning people to hell as if they had the authority granted to them to judge and pass sentence is not fitting behavior? Why are they not questioned as to how exactly they know someone is in hell, been there, or going there on the midnight express? Silence is not the answer.

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  142. oalcer

    I truly appreciate your well thought out and articulate posts.

    Regarding your conclusion that in mans search for truth what has been found is that there is no truth: I can understand and even agree with many of your points, however I would like to expand further on what this "truth" vs "lack of truth" means to me. (FYI I was raised 10 generation oalc so I have the experience and history)

    In my search for truth, I had the hardest time with other PEOPLE defining truth for me... My research into the bible (ie just reading it even though that was discouraged) led me to discover that what I grew up hearing as "the truth" could not be substantiated by the bible. I do not believe that there is simply "truth" OR "untruth" but that one needs to be very careful what one believes is the truth.

    For example: The bible states that the women of old did not adorn themselves with outward apparal and plaiting of the hair, but in the inward, hidden manner of the heart.

    So I take that to be truth.

    However, what is "adorning?" Is it "wearing" or perhaps "how one wears?" That would be an intent of the heart, which only God can truly know and/or judge.

    What is "apparal" and "plaiting of the hair"?

    The bible doesnt give a defination to any of these words. I guarantee you that over the course of 2000 years, all across this vast globe, the meanings have changed multiple times...

    So I consider what the bible states to be truth, yet the interpretation to be opinion, and 'there is no truth in it'

    For example "apparal" could simply be clothes. Are clothes a sin? Could be, depending on your intent/adornment of them. In some countries its considered normal to wear nothing and at the opposite extreme, in other countries, its considered normal for a woman to show only her eyes. So what is this "apparal" that the bible says is NOT the way for women to adorn themselves?

    That answer I believe should be left up to the individual... and the individual that has a Christ centered life as thier goal, that prays for guidance from the Heavenly Father, will recieve the answer that is right for them through the Holy Spirit. After all, God knows our every weakness; He knows my every intention.

    The same arguement applies regarding "plaiting of the hair" Does anyone know what plaiting meant 2000 years ago in Greek or Hebrew? Is it braids? A string of pearls worn as a crown? A bun with decorative bobby pins holding it in place? Fancy hats or scarves? Who knows???????? (I guarantee you the proud-to-be-simple-in-childlike-faith-and-uneducated-folk of the oalc dont)

    So who can interpret these things for its entire current generation of congration members worldwide??

    For some preachers somewhere along the line to define a dress code for its congration of 10,000 people and state thier interpretaion of "apparal" and "plaiting of the hair" is indeed a law, (which has indeed changed over the years and geographic proximity, dispite thier claims otherwise) and a deciding factor of ones soul condition, so if you have an obedient (to them) heart, this will show because you will willingly follow thier interpretations... is, well, beyond ludicrus.

    I definately seperate the truth coming directly from the bible, vs the untruth of mans interpretation.

    I for one will focus on the TRUTH that the bible STATES, and yes, consider the rest "untruth" The bible is the truth, as for the rest.... there is no truth.

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  143. Another thought oalcer:

    You stated
    "I would think that a 'tyranny of the minority' would be much worse. I do not think of the majority opinion as the absolute right but I must accept that it is more right than the minority if I am to believe in Democracy (this applies even when I am in the minority). The idea that the majority is stupid and must be lead by a superior minority is a dangerous idea, indeed."

    Mainly I agree with this statement, particularly THE IDEA THAT THE MAJORITY IS STUPID AND MUST BE LEAD BY A SUPERIOR MINORITY IS A DANGEROUS IDEA, INDEED; because I believe the above ideas are the ideas I see the oalc church operating with, and I strongly disagree with thier methods.

    I am curious what you think of my comparison? Especially since you seem to disagree with the principle of the above ideas as well.

    cvow:
    I have also had many similar "hate" experiences. I have been wondering why current members of the church, that I have spoken with, do not see these things as being possible to happen? Are they ignoring them? But why would they reject the possiblity of it being real, when others are saying its been experienced? Can they not accept faults in thier leaders/fellow members?

    Or perhaps do they think its ok? (as a poster on another thread stated to free, 'you are the one that changed, not us') and when I attended, many of the 'condemning others' practices were considered expected...

    It just seems so strange that 'the only ones to notice' are the ones who have gone. Do you have any ideas?

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  144. HP3,

    It's all about being selfish.
    You are born into the OALC and everyone you care about in life are there.
    You are taught from childhood that the world hates you, and you are to stay away from them. Everyone that matters is inside those 4 walls.
    So, it doesn't bother them to keep their little secret way to heaven to themselves. Selfish!
    Having said that, why would they question the preacher that tells them they are special, as long as they believe as "little children", and follow the rules?
    There's no other word for it. It's totally SELFISH!!!!

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  145. oalc doubter

    yes there are many, many ways I think they are selfish.. In fact I was just rereading the posts from left the oalc, "hello and gods peace and blessings to all" There are 3 anonymous posters from the church, then a response from an ex member. THey mention several good points on selfishness.

    I can remember being told the world hated us, that we should want them to make fun of us and hate us... That meant we were special and being a good christian.

    THere is definately a feeling of "us against them" created, and love is only doled out to "us" Especially when "one of us" choses to become "one of them" I was told that is considered an unforgivable sin. My family still treats me as though that is my unforgivable sin...

    Although it COULD be forgiven if I were to just come back... (Its like the abuser that stalks you and loves to scare you and reject you, but promises to stop hurting you if you only go back to them. Talk about backwards! Im personally drawn to feeling loved)

    Anyhow... I found that the first years were the hardest. Mostly because I kept putting myself in thier path of critism and rejection, somehow hoping blood was thicker than water and things would be different if they would just remember I was after all family, and family was supposed to be everything etc, etc.

    I finally had to accept them for who they are, including how they were acting, how they were treating me. I went through anger, forgiveness and finally acceptance, and moving on...

    It was actually a really great experience to be able to CHOSE who I allowed into my life, who I WANTED to be friends / family with (instead of just being stuck with who was there already) It was refreshing and empowering. I have been very slow in building up my new family and friends "circle" and there are many more layers of closeness and trust than ther were before (only 2 before - out or in, us or them, with no healthy boundaries within "us")

    But it has been worth every tear to be where I am now...

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  146. Although I have to still think they act hurtful out of ignorance and fear; out of obedience to all the teaching theyve been engrained with since birth. I know they feel they love me, they just cannot accept me; to me thats contradictory, to them that makes sense and is the way it has to be.

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  147. OALCer,

    "That truth is: there is no truth. I know fully well that this isn't the universally accepted truth and I am not accusing you of adhering to it. I am saying, however, that it has permeated our national consciousness and is having damaging effects."


    This seems to be true, and I think many christians would agree with you that our society in the US is headed down a troubling path. However, it does not follow that the OALC response to this contains one shred of sense- circle the wagons, condemn the world, condemn actual christians, treat those who do not follow your group-think as if they are rebelling against God etc... If you believe the world needs to learn the Truth, why not try to spread it? For OALC churches a "mission" is a trip to visit the relatives in Finland or out West and talk about what everyone agrees about for the most part. What a worthless "mission".
    Jesus reached out to inspire, teach, and win over people to God. Yes, at times he was angry and condemning, but he was speaking with God's athority, and maybe had a little more business judging than some self appointed "preachers".

    How does yanking one bunch of Gods's flowers from someone's casket promote following Jesus? Are flowers some abomination that would lead people astray?? How does preaching against other churches who are trying to follow Gods word (as imperfectly as any of us can)help anyone?

    The blind leading the blind.... instead of looking inwardly to fix anything, blame the world.

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  148. daisyaday said:

    I wrote this in my blog, but I want to bounce this off the group here, too, to see what you think. By looking at this from a sociological viewpoint, it tends to make more sense.

    I was having a conversation with a friend about the way the LLC-ers completely cut you out of their lives when you leave and how bizarre it is. She saw it this way: rigid groups like the LLC HAVE to stop acknowledging those who leave because if they acknowledge you, in a sense, it gives you some validity. If you have validity, your point of view has to be considered. If your point of view is worth considering, and you believe something different from what they believe, they might actually have to change if they agree with you, and that is the one thing they will not do. Their entire existence depends on not changing their belief.

    So if you have left one of these churches, as I have, and people have treated you badly, it very likely isn't personal, even though it may very well feel like it. I think it's much more about them than it is about you. This makes more sense to me to think that they have this issue, rather than to believe that suddenly just because we have left the group that we have become unlovable and untouchable.

    Maybe the reason we can't get anywhere by reasoning with them is because it's not about being reasonable. It's the way the group functions. There's a whole pattern and process that is playing out, and those who leave do not fit into that picture. If you don't maintain the process, you don't maintain the group. If you don't maintain the group, it falls apart.

    What do you think?

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  149. Good insight daisy. Makes sense. I think there could also be some fear. To think you've been lied to all your life is unthinkable and people don't want to accept that. Previous posts also come to mind the persecution complex. Because they are a closed belief system, they take all negative thoughts about them from others as persecution. That is so far from what the bible states persecution is. People in other countries get killed, arrested and banned from going to church or reading the bible, just because they believe in Christ. This is a huge false teaching I believe in the church. Just because someone doesn't want to come to your church because they think your crazy or whatever, or they have been given advice not to attend there, that is NOT persecution.

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  150. Never forget: thank you for sharing your thoughts. You make some very valid points; especially that

    "it does not follow that the OALC response to this contains one shred of sense-"

    ALthough whats logical or makes sense is as varying as the individual...

    It reminds me of when I tell my kids how to deal with age old anger: Its just fine to be angry, in fact it can be good, but its what you DO with your emotions/body that becomes ok or not ok.

    Yes that makes sense to me daisy; I wonder if it does to them? I would have felt VERY threatened, my entire world and existance, if someone had said anything like that to me when I was attending the church. And it was a very difficult process to have to admit I was lied to. The concepts you mention relate very well to some of the previous threads regarding fundamental belief systems. However its good to be reminded of thier viewpoint throughout my journey away from it.

    Im still curious as to the oalcer's thoughts? Are you still out there? Where did everybody go? (Ive had time to catch up :)

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  151. What is Living Faith?
    When man comes to the point when he realizes that belief in God is impossible without Him, when he sees himself to be so small in the eyes of God that he must cry out for help, when he is enlightened to the fact that he is nothing, then God gives the grace to believe. Here man is a willing recipient because he knows that, what little faith he receives, it is from God. Because the grace to believe is given to man in such a lowly state, the second one begins to deviate from this state, the battle for faith begins. Once man starts to give reason for faith or justify it in a way that he can comprehend it, living faith begins to die. If man should start to tell himself that his faith is strong, the opposite is true and his faith is dying-for it is faith based on human rationality and not God-given. It is this battle between living faith and dead faith that a true Christian must always battle and it is this battle that causes a true Christian to have such a weak, wavering faith. God does want a man to justify his belief for in doing so man takes away from God the grace He has bestowed upon us. This justification of faith leads to self-righteousness. Self-righteousness battles God for the hearts of men. Self-righteousness steals from God what is rightfully His and gives credit to man, who is an all-to-willing recipient. Faith based on self-righteousness is strong and unwavering for it rings true in the minds of men and man comprehends it. Where does self-righteousness come from? It is a birth child of man’s intellect. This term, intellect, is widely misinterpreted as describing the act of thinking. Natural curiosity and the desire to learn are God-given gifts to man and should not go to waste. The intellect, in this case, is the rationalization, or in some cases, the dismissal of faith. The intellect solemnly declares God to exist and believes, or insolently declares “God is dead” and doesn’t believe. Self-righteousness does not necessarily mean that one thinks to highly of himself, but can also mean that one thinks to lowly of himself, or even that one is neither higher nor lower, but different. Self-righteousness cares not if one is above, below, or to the side of living faith as long as it is one of the three.
    Those with dead-faith, or faith based on the intellect and self-righteousness, have contempt for those with living-faith. They say, “What is the justification for your faith?” or, “show me the proof that your faith is living.” These questions contain the all-important words justification and proof which are the base of dead-faith. A living Christian cannot, without God, rationalize living faith and to try is an exercise in futility. This inability to articulate living-faith to those in dead-faith actually strengthens the dead-faith. Dead-faith, justified, sees itself superior to the unjustified living-faith. So what is living-faith? It is God-given faith that cannot be explained but must be experienced. It is a faith that is weak because it is not natural of man and to keep it alive we must continuously battle ourselves with the help of God.
    I notice that there is much talk on this blog of the “rules” governing the OALC. First, let me say that these are not “rules” but simply warnings. The flickering flame of living-faith must be guarded carefully against the winds of dead-faith and warning of things that could blow out the flame is what you are hearing. Secondly, they are “rules” to those in dead-faith because their faith is so strong that trifle things such as make-up or television don’t stand a chance against the unyielding faith that is their own.
    I suppose there is the question as to why God would make it so difficult and why so exclusive? (See philomath’s stats). These are questions I cannot answer for God’s ways are not our ways.

    God’s Peace be to you all.

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  152. Why cant the reason for faith simply BE that I have faith I am saved by Grace given to me from God? I know that and can accept that. My faith in that doesnt waver. Its solidly founded in Christ; as he is my foundation. Its not a flickering candle subject to every whisp. All the other stuff you go on about... just dont apply, and is contradictory to what Ive read in the bible.

    What scriptures do you have that explain what you tried to explain? (No its not 'justification' its getting your scources right)

    I believe the bible has warnings to heed; man doesnt need to elaborate and define, like the pharacies, except in ones own heart and with constant prayer.

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  153. To Oalc believer:

    Your participation in the blog is
    greatly appreciated .

    I wish I could get FALC folks to
    participate which I know are on
    the internet.

    The following comments are not
    meant to be facetious and
    hope they are taken in that vein.

    "that he is nothing"
    Is not that an insult to God the
    creator that gave you the
    intellect to reason and the spirit
    to experience love, belief, music
    art, literature, dance,etc.

    Are you not wasting yor life by
    rejecting these gifts ?

    By the way has someone you love
    been saved by an MRI and
    the timely medical treatment
    that followed ?

    "The intellect solemnly declares
    God exists ---"
    If their is an intellect out
    there that can prove that God
    exists ,I am sure there are
    6.3 billion others
    eagerly awaiting that proof !

    You and many others
    are mixing the spirit with the
    rational mind and trying to
    prove your experience is some-
    how superior in truth, texture
    and amplitude to others.

    It can not be done ,only
    related and the consequences
    to your life thereof.

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  154. OALCer,

    thank you for your post, in which you explain your beliefs. Here are some Bible verses and if you would be so kind as to tell me what you think of them I'd appreciate it:

    Romans 5:1,2 - Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

    Hebrews 10: 9-10-14: By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

    God's Peace

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  155. For many years I labored under this unworthiness, until I found (the Lord led me to?) these passages:

    Isaiah 42:3 - A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench...

    John 10 He is the Good Shepherd, who gives his life for the sheep. He knows his sheep and his sheep know him.

    Luke 12:32 - Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

    2 Timothy 1:7 - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

    And so many more!

    We are worthy not because of our own goodness, but because He has made us worthy. He loved us so much! John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life!

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  156. To Cvow...When I said I listen to you, and I do, I am fully aware that these are only your opinions. However, your experiences in the OALC are so similar to mine, I feel we are kindred spirits!

    I, too, have listened to the hateful speech , called "warnings", that are spewed forth at the funerals. Like you, I have asked myself, how can a preacher know that someone has gone to hell? By what authority? Although these preachers claim to be pious, they are, in fact, arrogant and authoritative.

    As to why the reasonable ones don't speak up and question these preachers, they have been taught from childhood not to question their authority. They have been taught that the preachers speak the Word of God, and you can't question that. To do so is a terrible sin!

    So it goes, on and on, year after year, with the preachers making the rules and judgeing the faithful, and the members watching each other's appearance and "walk", always trying to maintain that outward appearance of a good solid Christian!!!

    I, personally don't think anyone can change these churches from within. The only way out is to leave. Thank God for internet sites like this one, to allow ex members a place to vent and recover.

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  157. Beautiful words to this hymn:

    Free from the law, O happy condition, Jesus hath bled, and there is remission; cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Grace hath redeemed us once for all.

    Now we are free -- there's no condemnation, Jesus provides a perfect salvation; "Come unto Me," O hear His sweet call, Come, and He saves us once for all.

    "Children of God," O glorious calling, Surely His grace will keep us from falling; Passing from death to life at His call, Blessed salvation once for all.

    Once for all, O sinner, receive it, Once for all, O brother believe it; Cling to the Cross, the burden will fall, Christ hath redeemed us once for all.

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  158. OALCer,

    you said -- "They say, “What is the justification for your faith?” or, “show me the proof that your faith is living.” These questions contain the all-important words justification and proof which are the base of dead-faith".

    Do you not have an answer when someone asks you what the justification for your faith is? Wouldn't you answer that Jesus' shed blood is your justification? Wouldn't you want to share that wonderful news with someone who may be seeking rather than assume they are asking from a perspective of dead faith and ill will?

    There seem to be so many inconsistencies in your post, but I hope that you will receive and address these questions as asked in good faith toward you.

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  159. Thank you, OaLCer, for participating, but your post "What is Living Faith" is strikingly familiar. Is it your transliteration of Laestadius' words? Please let us know if these are his thoughts or yours. Thanks!

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  160. tIs there anything in the bible that states that people who believe and trust fully in Christ can have "dead faith". Or is that just a man made up term?

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  161. I believe the term "dead faith" is only mentioned once in the Bible. I don't know where exactly, But I remember it being: Faith without works is dead.

    I will try to find the chapter/verse.

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  162. James 2:26 NIV
    As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

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  163. So this raises an interesting thought...

    I see many churches throughout the world working diligently in various kinds of mission work -- feeding the hungry, building housing and schools for them, providing shelter to the homeless, collecting clothing and housewares and other necessities, providing counseling to everyone from the unwed mothers to those in mential distress, and the list goes on and on.

    I do not see the OALC doing anything -- repeat anything -- like that. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. From the bible verse quoted, that seems to indicate that the dead faith lies in the OALC, not outside of it.

    Now there are those who would seek to confuse this issue by trying to say that man is trying to "earn" salvation by doing good works, but that is nothing but a huge smokescreen to try to avoid the issue. Man is not saved by good works, but rather by our faith in Jesus Christ and his redemptive death. However if we do believe in Jesus and take to heart his commandment of love thy brother, then surely we want to do those good works. Feeding and clothing and caring for the least of Jesus brethren is doing those things for Jesus himself -- as he declared.

    Trying to do those kinds of works -- whether it be working occasionally in a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, or helping to gather clothing and other sundries for the poor, or putting together boxes of food and gifts for needy children at the holidays are all fulfilling activities and you truly receive more than you can ever give.

    Can anyone give an example of when the OALC has sponsored such an activity other than perhaps helping one of their own?

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  164. Cvow, of course they don't. You missed the point, I think. To OALCers, good works are "following the Christianity" and "keeping a humble appearance." Any time the story of the Good Samaritan was read in church, did you ever hear anyone say that Thy Neighbor could be ANYbody and not just someone from the OALC? I don't. The rest of the world is nonexistent to them. I remember having such a difficult time with that as a teenager.

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  165. An oalc preacher recently said that a Christians good works were being a "good example to your children and spouse" and helping the other "Christians"!

    I kid you not....

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  166. free, I'm curious as to why such a distinction is important. That being said, I was simply expressing my own thoughts on the difference between living and dead-faith. I honestly can't say whether LLL wrote similar things, and if he did, I'm sure he wrote it much more clearly than I.

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  167. Re; Clearing The Air

    Some of my friends and critics
    upon reading the above concluded
    that I did not believe in God or
    some such creative source.

    Quite the contrary:

    Gazing up on a clear moonless
    night as related previously
    or
    Watching another son or daughter
    emerging from my wife in the
    delivery room soon displaces
    such doubts.

    Proving the above spiritual
    experience is impossible .

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  168. OALCer,
    I'm going to put words in Free's mouth a mistake, I fear!) and say she is probably asking about LLL because she is trying to gauge whether the words and thoughts are yours or if you are repeating what you've heard many times. That, you see, is a common theme/complaint here on Extoots: OALCers are known to make comments about the church, their beliefs, or the supposed lack of ours, but they usually come across as reading off a script rather than truly speaking their own mind. I know that won't sound correct to you, but that is how many of us see and feel it.

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  169. Cvow,
    I've been thinking about you comments concerning good works. I remember talking to my mom (I was a teenager, I believe) about all the suffering people in the world. Mom's response, which I felt was rather flippant, was that if they had the true Christianity they wouldn't be suffering like that. I have a feeling she still thinks that way. And yet I've known her to help others in distress, on occasion, and not just OALCers. I am still trying to figure that out!

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  170. Many Trails Home2/04/2007 08:03:00 PM

    OALCer, thanks for responding. You say, "When he is nothing . . . then God gives the grace to believe." Believe what? And from whence did you get this definition of living faith? Frankly, this doesn't sound at all familiar to me, and I personally think this is just your opinion, which is fine, except that you appear to be here as a representative of the OALC.

    So if I recognize my relative "nothingness" in relation to the majesty and glory of God and I feel him respond to me (I "believe"), do I have "living faith?" Am I as "saved" as an OALCer? Am I as welcome in heaven as you are? Do you think you (or any OALCer, preacher or other) KNOW if I or any of us truly has "living faith" or "dead faith?" I KNOW you don't know and I also KNOW (from personal observation in the OALC) that your OALC preachers speak as if they at least do. Rubbish. Arrogance. Self-righteousness, masquerading as humility. And yes, I do reject that. I don't see why I should not. Lord, you only will I serve. In whatever way I am lead.
    Many blessings to you all. MTH

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  171. CVOW- I would love to learn more about Gackle, North Dakota & it's first inhabitants. I am a descendant of one of the families you mentioned. PLEASE contact me at spr_spa@yahoo.com Thanks!

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  172. ksat 3/2/2013
    CVOW- I would also love to learn more about the history of Gackle, N.D. and its first settlers. I am a descendant of one of the families you mentioned.PLEASE contact me at kaysat56@gmail.com thanks..looking forward to hearing from you.

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  173. Can someone explain to me why OALC cannot wear neckties?

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  174. Because of where they point, maybe?

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  175. Or simply due to vanity. Plain and simple is the way to be. Ew, I'd rather express myself!

    24

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  176. Laestadius wore a white tie (and a Legion of Honor medal) for his formal portrait. In "Kautokeino Rebellion" he is portrayed in a similar tie and long hair:

    http://www.nrk.no/kanal/nrk_sapmi/1.4684573

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    1. It's actually not a tie. It's a clergy collar Lutheran pastors used to wear in Sweden and Finland. Some of them still wear, but it's more rare now. Nowadays they usually wear the same kind of a white square as Catholic priests typically do. But the kind of a collar Laestadius wears in his portrait and in "Kautokeino Rebellion" used to be common until 1970s/1980s.

      Hibernatus

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    2. Thanks, Hibernatus. It is interesting to see the evolution of fashion. Today I saw an exhibit of 17th c. Dutch painters, and it was fascinating to see how many of the male subjects wore lace collars and cuffs.

      I have some questions for you!

      Do you know if Firstborn Laestadians in Finland wear neckties for business meetings?

      Is there any protocol around the wearing of gakti to Laestadian gatherings?

      My Finnish and Swedish immigrant grandfathers' portraits from the 1920's show them wearing ties. Not sure if this indicates they were unorthodox, or if ties were okay at that time.

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    3. I didn't see your questions until now - one year later. :) Yes, some firstborn Leastadians in Finland do wear neckties for business meetings, some wear regularly to work, not just business meetings. But then there are others who make it a big deal and part of their identity not to wear it even if their boss would prefer them to wear it. Sort of martyrdom. I don't know what the opinion was in the 1920s, but it is quite possible the ties became sin only later. As for wearing the gakti, I think anyone who is considered Sàmi can wear it any time they wish, but it seems to be more common to wear it for feasts.

      Hibernatus

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  177. I read a lot of the comments that people put on here and I honestly think a if people weren't having doubts, they wouldn't be on this blog. I'm in this relidgon and I have some serious doubts, as do my siblings. My dad isn't from the church so people see me as a hal 'worldie' because my parents are divorced and he quit coming. He was in it for five years and he was really try in to cooperate. My moms dad was a preacher in it and I loved him dearly and my dad did too, and my dad would often come to him with questions. He didn't try to bs us saying that 'the thought is'... he actually admitted that he didn't know everything. People often told my dad and his parents that they were going to hell because they weren't in e church. My grandma and my dad both were in the medical field for most of their lives and I don't think they're going to hell!!!

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    1. Pretty much the same thing is happening to me right now!!! I know ur grandparents aren't going to hell and people should stop saying that! I happen to know that most people that go to OALC judge others more! I don't stand behind them whatsoever and I feel limited going to OALC! I just don't know how to talk to my parents about how I feel!

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  178. Me neither. They'll never admit that they're wrong thou

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