Avainsana-arkisto: childhood

Elokuva Armosta osaton – Beyond Grace, a movie on leaving or staying Conservative Laestadian

Beyond Grace

Watch the movie

Two young women are fighting in the cross-pressures  of the religious self and its shadows  after their childhood in the In the Conservative Laestadian Community . The adaptation into the parents’ standard of activity has been the only option for a child but growing up and living as an adult independent person challenge to face the values ​​in a new light.


Elina has seven children. She is as a mother concerned about herself and the family’s coping.  As well known, any family planning and contraceptives are taboo and sin in the Laestadian community.

Elina’s sister, Alina, is single. She is studying literature, even if she personally wanted to become Lue koko artikkeli…


4 kommenttia

Kategoria(t): 2010-luku, ahdistus, arvot, äitiys, ban of birth control, concept of sin, Conservative Laestadianism, ehkäisykielto, elämäntapa, epäily, epäilykset, eroaminen uskosta, evankelis-luterilainen kirkko, forbidden things, hengellinen väkivalta, identiteetti, identity, ihmisoikeudet, in English, irrottautuminen yhteisöstä, kontrollointi, laestadianism, leimaaminen, mielenterveys, naisen asema, naiseus, naispappeus, normit, norms, nuoret, painostaminen, pelko, pelot, perhe, rauhanyhdistys, retoriikka, seurat, sin, sukupuolijärjestelmä, synnit, syyllistäminen, uskon jättäminen, vapaus

Children Who Have Limited Right to Learn

Citing European human rights law, a Laestadian family in northern Sweden have managed to overturn a decision by their daughters’ school, which had refused to allow the three girls to skip out on ”sinful” dance class during physical education (PE).


Also  Conservative Laestadian families in Finland have opted to keep children out of school’s dance and theatre education (often also physical education , i.e. gymnastic exercises with music). The National Board of Education had assigned exemption to attend theatre visits and dance lessons, according the require of the Central Committee of Conservative Laestadian Congregations (Suomen rauhanyhdistysten keskusyhdistys ry., SRK). … Read more – Lue koko artikkeli…

1 kommentti

Kategoria(t): 1970-luku, 1980-luku, 2010-luku, ban of television, bans, concept of sin, elämäntapa, historia, ihmisoikeudet, in English, johtajat, kannanotot, kasvatus, kiellot, kontrollointi, kulttuurikiellot, laestadianism, lapset, lapsuus, lähihistoria, normit, norms, rauhanyhdistys, retoriikka, sin, SRK ry., synnit, taide, teatteri, televisio, televisiokielto, vallankäyttö

We are happy! The Hannukselas and 105 grandchildren

Childless aunts especially spoiled the big family with treasures in Christmas, say The Hannukselas about their Christmas in the past when their children were still young and at home. ”We have fourteen children, and we are happy.” says Eira. ”Every child is received with joy, says her husband Matti. The Conservative Laestadians do not allow any birth control because they believe that it is wrong to prevent the God to create new human beings to be born and live on the earth. Any sort of birth control is taught to be a sin. However, ”we don’t have any rules”, says their daughter Sanna, mother for 14 children. Lue koko artikkeli…

3 kommenttia

Kategoria(t): avioliitto, äitiys, ban of birth control, ban of television, bans, ehkäisykielto, forbidden things, Helsingin Sanomat, in English, isyys, kasvatus, kiellot, kontrollointi, lapset, lisääntyminen, miehen asema, naisen asema, normit, norms, perhe, sin, suurperhe, synnit, televisio, televisiokielto, uskon jättäminen, yhteisöllisyys

Conservative Laestadians admit serious mistakes in dealing with child abuse issue – trust is gone in SRK

A crisis of the unerring congregation. Up to 100 abusers in Conservative Laestadian congregations in Finland, several abusers never reported to police  –  caused and/or supported by mistaught Laestadian  doctrine of forgiveness and silence. The beliefs are serious risks for children.

The responsible leaders’ excuse for keeping a very tight lid on hundreds of child victims and a myriad of  perpetrators, who have not come to light, is “lack of information”.  Anyone of the 24 members of the SRK board (they all are men) did not know anything.

Someone else could suggest “lack of freedom of speech”, too.

However: ”We are guilty of all the issues that we have been accused”, said SRK vice chairman Matti Taskila in the press conference in Oulu last week. Read more…

1 kommentti

Kategoria(t): 1980-luku, 1990-luku, 2000-luku, 2010-luku, anteeksianto, erehtymättömyys, eristäminen, evankelis-luterilainen kirkko, harhaoppi, hengellinen väkivalta, ihmisarvo, ihmisoikeudet, in English, insesti, itsesensuuri, johtajat, johtokunta, kaksinaismoralismi, kannanotot, lapset, lapsuus, lähihistoria, maallikkosaarnaajat, manipulointi, mielenterveys, nuoret, opilliset kysymykset, painostaminen, pedofilia, puhujat, rauhanyhdistys, retoriikka, Rippi, sensuuri, seurakuntaoppi, sielunhoito, SRK ry., SRK:n johtokunta, syntien anteeksiantamus, syyllistäminen, tieto, tutkimus, uhkailu, vallankäyttö, väkivalta

Living as my true self – leaving the Conservative Laestadian one true faith’s community

This posting discusses the experience of growing up in an extremely religious, closed community and later leaving to join the outside world. We’ll first discuss the Laestadian experience, and next draw attention to some resources from the experiences of some other groups.

This is intended to describe the ”typical” experience of leaving, but since we know there is no such thing as one typical experience. There are as many personal experiences and stories as individual persons. Please forgive us if our description doesn’t match your experience.

However, one of our foundings is that problems we meet in the process of leaving laestadian community are universal and known by many others who leave any religious compulsory community (or such one non-religious).  – Please be free to give your comment here, or by e-mail verkosto@luukku.com.

Be brave enough to decide

Often you have considered it seriously for years what to do, to stay or to leave. You have experienced that it’s also difficult to stay but be opposed to some the doctrine and rules. Maybe you have tried to leave – and you came back. This yo yo phenomenon is familiar for us indeed. It shows how full of self-contradictory emotions, difficult aspects and stressing feelings the situation is. The loss of community can be very painful.

Whenever we leave a religion we give up the benefits that are promised to us by the doctrine of the Laestadian faith. Most of us will sooner or later replace it with benefits from some other belief system – or give up the benefit entirely. I suppose that it is more unlikely to totally loose the belief in the existense of a god than still continue to trust in God’s protection in the individual’s life. However, I don’t have any evidence on this.

We get from our growing and childhood in the Conservative Laestadian community is a sense of belonging and comfort as we are amongst familiar people who understand and know us.

Leaving the faith creates anxiety and fear because we by definition give up this comfort and feeling to belong into the group. In addition to this, leaving a religion is doubly scary because we give up the benefits, the benefits that are promised to us by that particular doctrine: eternal salvation, eternal life after the dead…with our relatives and friends, as well.

Thus, it is not surprising that this is a difficult transition to make.

You are uncomfortable and insecure because you have 18 years of never learning how to pursue hobbies, other than those approved by the church. People wonder how you can be this old and never have gone to a movie or danced or applied mascara. It is strange, but wonderful, exiting and interesting at the same time.

Exclusion as a church doctrine is one detail which is hurting hard you personally and in a very concrete way. They will share their private greeting with each other: ”God’s Peace!” This greeting will not be shared with you anymore, if you do not attend their church. When you are together attending a family party they will say it to all of the community members present in the room, but not to you, if you are among them in the same room. Some of them would not even acknowledge your existence and avoid to be near you.

It happens, that one of your small cousins would say ” Gods Peace” to you, and then you will see that his mother pull him aside in front of you and tell him what he did wrong. Your name to all of your laestadian relatives is the unbeliever. Be prepared into becoming stigmatized and despiced.

Just the exclusion was one of the reasons why many of us left.

A life as my true self

Growing up in the Laestadian community, you feel a deep sense of warm belonging. (The sense of community and need for belonging  seems to be very hot and wanted in our life.) There are strict rules, and these rules clearly delineate how you should live your life. You know exactly what is good and what is bad and strive to make your life conform to the rules, at least publicly.

You are thaught that the outside world is filled with atheists and dead faith churches. These people are on a lower plane of value because they are not part of the community. They, even the most honourable of them, are going to hell. You feel as if the community is a refuge from a cold outside world, filled with ravening wolves. The people who make up the outside world are not diverse and not individuals; instead they are an undistinguishable mass of people ”in the world.”

There are many community mechanisms to keep you in the group.

The fear of those worldly wolves is drilled into your head from childhood. You fear losing your sense of community and belonging. You know that if you leave, you will be tarred as a rebellious sinner who wants to pursue just money, pleasure and easy, frivolous way of life instead of remain faithful to God and be satisfied with His grace.

Despite these incentives to remain, you decide to leave. Perhaps, the central tenets of the community no longer seem true. If the community is based on a lie, it becomes empty to you. Or maybe you are driven out from being constantly repressed in how you choose to dress, or your friend, a significant other.

Regardless of why you leave, the outside world appears to be a place where you can best live as your true self. Upon leaving, you feel the sudden loss of community.

When the community and its rules are gone

As a typical Laestadian, the community was your world. You likely didn’t take part in outside social groups such as sports or student groups, and your friends were all from the church. Now, the community is gone.

In addition to losing the community, you lose the rules. No longer do you have a clear roadmap that tells you how to be holy and how to live your life. You must create this roadmap on your own. To decide what to follow you should know yourself – but you probably have not yet met your real authentic self… it is still coming, you just have to find and create yourself from the beginning again.

You often feel resentment at having missed out on the many things you learn others did in their childhoods. You are suddenly eighteen or more years behind in learning the rules of how to behave in the wider world. You may find another church to attend or perhaps you just swear off religion entirely. You may like to concentrate yourself in everyday life and forget all the damned spiritual stories.

On the positive side, you learn the world has some decent people, and is not made up entirely of ravening wolves, as you were taught.

Nonetheless, the outside world often cannot understand your experience. Although they offer sympathy and express amazement when they hear your story, they cannot understand what you feel.

Some even go so far as to question why you ever left, thinking you simply succumbed to outside peer pressure to conform and denied your unique cultural heritage.

How they meet you…

Since you have left the Laestadian community, you will live your life like banished, judged in the ostracism related with your previous social life.

When you meet your family, you will meet cruelty and you try to understand  it in your mind: What did I do to deserve to be treated so poorly, all I wanted was to belong, to have a family, but it hurts… I was not wanted, it is a surprise to them that I still have morals, and that I’m not pregnant out of wedlock and that I’m not addicted to drugs. But don’t you believers know, I’m a equal person too… All I ever wanted was to belong to a family…

You have to create an attitude, a mindset and get practical tools how you can protect yourself to get hurted and wounded by your family and the closest people. You have to find ways to avoid hard emotional injuries and damages when you meet them.

Thousands of similar and even worse experiences…

The Internet has provided ways to share experiences and help for people who would like to leave their strict religious movement. There are available personal stories, discussion forums for peer-help groups and sources to support to survive in the leaving process. It is good to know that there are many others out there like you.We mention here some of the most useful sources. Please let us know when you know more.

How to Leave the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church

Learning to live free blog (OALC)

Hakomaja: information archive and discussion forum (in Finnish)

Steps to get rid of Conservative Laestadian movement: Askeleet irti SRK-Lestadiolaisuudesta (in Finnish).

Laestadians are not the only ones to go through the feelings of leaving. Another group to experience these feelings are e.g. people who left the strict, closed form of Judaism known as Hasidism .

Like in the Laestadian community, there is also a strong sense of community in the Hasid community, but there is also fighting for power and factionalism.

Also the groups of the Amish and Mennonnites has similar doctrines and rules as laestadians, some even crueler ones. The process of leaving tose communities is prevalent.

When the Amish leave, they often experience social ostracism as bad or even worse than what some former Laestadians experience; e.g. Saloma’s blog.

There are several books and personal stories such like Greater Inheritance and articles such as e.g. “Leaving the Amish Life Behind

Some try to help those left behind in abusive situations  or  help those now leaving .

Being authentic – You’ll survive and see the wide world

From the experiences of the former Hasid, Amish, or others, former Laestadians can realize their experiences are not unique and are often easier than the experiences of many from other similar groups. Former Laestadians are usually able to earn a living in the wider world and can eventually re-define themselves as successful and free, even if worldly.

By reading those experiences you will learn that while others may not have had identical experiences, many people (especially racial and sexual minorities) have also experienced being a ”stranger in a strange land.”

You find that your understanding and empathy for the dispossessed makes you a trusted friend and natural advocate.

Having found the courage to leave, very little can frighten you, least of all the social opprobrium of others. You are confident and able to connect easily with people regardless of socio-economic barriers. You have a high regard for reason, honesty, compassion, and inclusion, and attempt to model these values in your relationships. Your intellectual and spiritual curiosity never allows you to stagnate. You find life rich and exciting.

While sometimes you are nostalgic for the close-knit community you left, you find incomparable satisfaction in being authentic, and in being a citizen of the world.

*      *      *

Authors:  the extraordinary fine text and background info by Rhyming Blue, modified  and completed by an ad hoc group of ex laestadians  – Our warmest thanks  to you, Rhyming Blue, and the beautiful blog Learning To Live Free!

*    *     *

Please be free to give your comments here or by e-mail: verkosto@luukku.com.

Read more:

Anonymous:  I left the Conservative Laestadian movement

Edward Dutton: Conservative Laestadians in Oulu

Leanne Waldal: How does “sweetie” become shunned? (On ostracism after leaving Leastadian church; also interesting comments)

Anonymous: Vanhoillislestadiolaisuudesta irtaantumisen tunteet (Emotions within leaving Conservative Laestadianism, written by a young man who left the  community in 2009; in Finnish)

How to Leave the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church (Useful guidelines for people who consoder to leave Conservative Laestadian community, too. This model has been a starting point in planning  those steps in Finnish.)

Learning to live free

Comparing the One True Churches

Nuoret jättävät vanhoillislestadiolaisuuden – suuri syntyvyys ei kasvata jäsenmäärää (The young generation leaves Conservative Laestadianism – number of members doesn’t grow despite the high birth rate; in Finnish)

NYT-liitteessä: Miltä tuntuu luopua uskosta? (An interview in NYT Magazine: How did you feel to leave the religious community, in Finnish)

Amartya Sen: Identity and Violence (a review of The Guardian)

Syntinen ja sairas: Äiti tyttärelle: “Kun lapsi kieltää uskon, se on pahempi kuin lapsen kuolema.” (Mother to her daughter: ”When you leave it is worse than you were dead”, in Finnish)

Vanhoillislestadiolaisuus, amishit, hutteriitit ja mennoniitit (in Finnish)

Vanhoillislestadiolaisuus ja Jehovan todistajat: eniten hengellistä väkivaltaa (A research on religious violence, in Finnish)

The Laestadian Lutheran Church, the sister organisation of the Conservative Laestadian community  in Finland (SRK ry.)


is a conservative Lutheran revival movement which was started in the middle of the 19th century and is named after the Swedish-Sami botanist and preacher Lars Levi Laestadius. The doctrine is characterised by Pietistic and Moravian influences. The term ”Laestadian” is used as an umbrella to refer to all churches and groups with a clear succession of belief from his teachings. Different groups follow his ideas in various degrees, and they have created more or less strict lifestyle rules  (what is considered a sin). The number of Laestadians worldwide is estimated to be between 144 000 and 219 000 (Wikipedia).

Laestadians are the largest revival movement in the Nordic countries. The biggest groups live in Finland with about 130 000 members. In Sweden they are thought to number 10,000 – mostly found in the north of the country around the Torne Valley. Laestadian movement has churches and congregations also in the US and Canada.

The deeply conservative faith broke into three branches – The Firstborn Laestadianism, Reawakening, and Conservative Laestadianism – in the beginning of the 20th century.  The groups are shattered again in the 20 Century, in Finland and other countries, and today  is counted 19 Laestadian groups but about 15 groups still active. Some Laestadian groups, e.g. the Conservative Laestadian congregation in Finland (SRK ry.) consider themselves the one, true Christian church, and preach that all other Christian churches (including other branches of the Laestadian tradition) are not true Christians.

Conservative Laestadianism in Finland is the biggest Laestadian group. It is also the biggest revival movement inside of the Church of Finland, with about 100 000 members.

In fact, it is quite strange that the Conservative Laestadian revival movement works inside of the Lutheran church, for it’s excluding attitude towards the other memebers of the national Christian church.  The priest who get their earnings at work for the curch of Finland would not say this openly in the sunday worship  in the church that the other members in the congragation are not true Christians to be saved. But afterwards they teach this when they preach in the Laestadians’s meetings at local ”Rauhanyhdistys” house.

Conservative Laestadians’ central management is The Central Committee of Conservative Laestadian Congregations (SRK ry.) leading 188 local “associations of peace”. The local congregations have over 34 000 members. It is not compulsary to formally join the association.

The community will grow rapidly in the next decades in case that people will stay in the Laestadian faith. Today there are over 50 000 children and young people (under 18 years) growing in the Conservative Laestadian families in Finland. As the movement is so big today, it has remarkable power and influence not only in the church but also at the political, public administrative, religional and cultural level in Finland, and also in the national media. Especially in the northern Finlad are towns where there everyone who’s anyone is a Laestadian. The future will show how the active young Conservative Laestadian’s generation will act and influence in the society and in the national church.

Laestadians are taught to consider a sin television, cinema and movies, dance, rhythmic music, performing arts such as concerts, theatre and opera,  also alcohol, hair dye, make-up, ear rings, birth control, premarital sex, divorce and homosexual relationships, and many other sins (list of sins in Finnish). Especially in the Conservative Laestadianism the believers have to follow those lifestyle rules, or ”providential advice”, or “congregation’s advice” as they modestly call them, decided by the preachers and the Central Committee of the SRK (those rules doesn’t include the Bible nor the Lutheran Catechism).

Laestadian asceticism is distinguished from many other fundamentalist Christians in that just few of the norms are officially ”proscribed” openly, banned by any official decision. Actually, in Finland justa bans of birth control, television, singing in choir , working as performing musician and concerts are results of the official decisions of the management of the Conservative Laestadian revival movement. (The Central Committee of Conservative Laestadian Congregations).

Rather, Laestadians do control eachothers themselves, they are on the look out for eachothers, and they employ a reinforcing system of social feedback to encourage abstention of the banned behaviour. The ultimate threat is ostracisism, i.e. segregation, exclusion from  fellowship in the common congregation. The board of the congregations maintains this social control  in keeping with the beliefs of the church.

3 kommenttia

Kategoria(t): amishit, armoneuvot, ban of birth control, ban of television, bans, Conservative Laestadianism, elämäntapa, eristäminen, eroaminen uskosta, erottaminen yhteisöstä, evankelis-luterilainen kirkko, forbidden things, get rid of, hajaannukset, identiteetti, identity, in English, irrottautuminen yhteisöstä, kiellot, kirkko, kontrollointi, kulttuurikiellot, kuuliaisuus, laestadian, lapsuus, leimaaminen, lestadiolaisuuden suunnat, luterilaisuus, manipulointi, mennoniitit, nettikeskustelu, normit, norms, nuoret, omatunto, opilliset kysymykset, painostaminen, pelastus, pelko, pelot, perhe, puhujat, rauhanyhdistys, sananvapaus, secession, seurakunta, seurakuntaoppi, sin, SRK ry., teatteri, televisio, totteleminen, tulevaisuus, tuomitseminen, uhkailu, ulossulkeminen, uskon jättäminen, uskon perusteet, vallankäyttö, yhteisö, yhteisöllisyys, yksinäisyys

TV2: Ankara usko ja lapsuus 7.3. klo 21, Inhimillisessä tekijässä

ANKARA USKO – pitäisikö lapsellakin olla uskonnon vapaus?

Sunnuntaina 7.3.2010 klo 21:00 YLE TV2

Inhimillisen tekijän maaliskuun jaksossa puhutaan siitä, miten lapsi kokee vanhempiensa uskonnollisuuden.

Helena Itkosen vieraina on kolme erilaisesta uskonnollisesta kodista lähtenyttä. Katriina Järvisen vanhemmat olivat helluntailaisia saarnaajia. Katriina kertoo ohjelmassa miten hän lapsena pelkäsi Jeesuksen toista tulemista, jota odotettiin millä hetkellä tahansa.

Soili Juntumaa taas pelkäsi ankaraa ja arvaamatonta rovasti-isäänsä.

Sekä Soili että Katriina tunsivat syyllisyyttä ja kelpaamattomutta, koska olivat vilkkaita ja kyseleväisiä tyttöjä. Nämä tunteet ovat seuranneet heitä aikuisuuteen asti.

Illan kolmas vieras on entinen lestadiolainen Teuvo Moisa, jota nuorena ahdisti kadotuksen pelko syntien vuoksi. Sekä kadotuksen että rangaistuksen pelko on tuttua myös Katriinalle ja Soilille.

Illan keskustelijat kertovat kukin omat rimpuilunsa kipuillessaan irti kodin painolasteista. Jokaisella on ollut oma tiensä, mutta yhteistä kaikille on ollut vapauden etsintä ja seksuaalisuuden ja rakkauden nälkä. Sekä Soili Juntumaa että Katriina Järvinen kertovat vasta keski-iässä löytäneensä itsensä, tunteensa ja tahtonsa. Teuvo Moisa myöntää, että oma prosessi on vielä kesken.

Ohjelmassa puhutaan myös hengellisestä väkivallasta ja siitä miksi se on henkisen väkivallan tehokkain muoto. Perheissä ei ollut tapana puhua uskon asioista, ne otettiin annettuina.

Ohjelmassa kysytään myös, pitäisikö lapsilla olla uskonnon vapaus.

Ohjelma on katsottavissa YLE Areenassa: 


(26.2.2011 klo 21.00 saakka.)

Lue myös:

Lasinen meri Nivalan seuroissa (Kirjailija Anna-Maija Ylimaulan kuvaus siitä, miten lapsi voi kokea lestadiolaisuuden saarnat)

Kun yhteisö painostaa ja hallitsee pelolla

Hengellinen välkivalta voi rikkoa elämän (Kotikirkko, Hämeenlinnan seurakunnat)

Kukkula, Tanja: Mikä tekee uskonnosta painostavan? Pro gradu -tutkielma, Turun yliopisto 2007.

Gepardi: Sieluton vanhoillislestadiolainen?

Lapselta ei kysytä

Syntien taakka nelivuotiaalle

Nuoret jättävät vanhoillislestadiolaisuuden

Teatteriesitys koulussa…

Pohjoisen lapsen raskas koulutie

Oliko sinulla lapsi isänä tai äitinä?


Tutkimus lasten suojelusta uskonnollisissa yhteisöissä  käynnistymässä

Growing up in a strictly religious family: a talk show March 7, 2010

The next episode of Inhimillinen tekijä, a Finnish television program, discusses how children experience growing up in a religious family. One of the guests is Teuvo Moisa who grew up in a Conservative Laestadian family.

The program also deals religious violence and asks if children should have a freedom of religion.

Program is in Finnish. It will be availabe later in the YLE’s Elävä Arkisto.

4 kommenttia

Kategoria(t): Conservative Laestadianism, eettisyys, epäily, epäilykset, eroaminen uskosta, etniset vanhoillislestadiolaiset, forbidden things, fundamentalismi, hengellinen väkivalta, hengellisyys, identiteetti, ihmisoikeudet, in English, irrottautuminen yhteisöstä, kadotus, kasvatus, kiellot, kontrollointi, kuolema, laestadian, laestadianism, lakihengellisyys, lapset, lapsuus, normit, norms, nuoret, painostaminen, pelko, pelot, perhe, Raamatun tulkinta, rauhanyhdistys, retoriikka, secession, seurat, sin, spiritualiteetti, suurperhe, synnit, syntilista, syyllistäminen, televisio, tuomitseminen, uhkailu, uskon jättäminen, uskontokritiikki, vallankäyttö, vapaus, väkivalta, yhteisö, yksilöllisyys, yksinäisyys, YLE