Why are you doing this?
In 2004, there was almost nothing on the internet about Laestadianism, and I had no one to talk to about my strange upbringing. I began blogging to tell my story and to create a safe place for others to tell theirs. It is not my intent to persuade people to leave the religion, but rather to offer facts and opinions for the curious, comfort for those who have been hurt, and friendship to those who lost their families. You can read more about my rationale here.
Who are you?
My nickname is Free. I am married with two kids and a dog, and live in Seattle. Feel free to contact me -- I love to hear from readers.
Why the anonymity?
I allow anonymity on the site because the costs of "coming out" in Laestadian communities can be high. Participants should be able to have a free-flowing discussion without the fear of being ostracized. Of course, those who are comfortable using their names may do so. Many of us are also connecting directly on Facebook and in person.
What do you believe?
After leaving the OALC, I sought refuge in mainstream Christian churches. When I was introduced to philosophy at university, I was attracted to both C.S. Lewis (theist) and Bertrand Russell (agnostic). I spent several years at an ELCA church before concluding that religion did not fulfill my spiritual needs, and that a rational theory of existence is probably impossible and unnecessary.
I embrace uncertainty and doubt. I consider myself a humanist. Or just as well: a Buddhist by practice (I meditate and try to practice compassion), an agnostic by temperament, an animist by instinct and deep ancestry (everything feels alive to me), and a Scandinavian Lutheran by culture (you can take the girl out of the country, but to some extent, the country stays in the girl).
As for the question of the divine, I sometimes believe and sometimes not, and am at peace with that. If God exists, God understands.
What do you hope to accomplish?
While I will never know how many find help here, many readers have reached out to say it has been a lighthouse in the storm. If even one person feels less alone, it has been worth the effort.
Thank you for reading.