Avainsana-arkisto: laestadianism

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…


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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

Stop the Victims of Laestadian Ban of Birth Control – NOW

There have been these kinds of occasions were the enemy has tempted some with practicing birth control.  It’s not according to God’s word – it’s not according to the teachings of God’s kingdom. – Pastor Eric Jurmu, a Mother’s Day sermon 2012, Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran Church.



Laestadianism’s rejection of contraception is an important topic, literally a matter of life and death for some women. There is no excuse for an institution to discourage its members from considering all viewpoints on such a grave matter, especially when it claims that those members are accepting life-threatening pregnancies in accordance with their individual consciences.

Laestadian people need to open their eyes and hearts, before any more of women and babies bleed to death on the sacrificial altar of a faith that requires their fertility for its survival. It’s about time.

Speak Up for the Children

A Laestadian woman in Phoenix was arrested Thursday for the suffocation death of her ninth child, a six-day old baby. Let your heart break for all the victims in this tragedy. Let yourself feel righteous anger at the authorities in her life that allowed this to happen, despite all the warning signs. [Tapauksesta uutinen suomeksi tässä.- Toim.huom.]
But please, stay angry. Let your anger motivate action. Talk to your relatives. Write to the preachers. Leave a comment on the news article. Write to the court. Do something. 

…Read more – Lue koko artikkeli…

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Kategoria(t): äitiys, ban of birth control, concept of sin, Conservative Laestadianism, eettisyys, fundamentalismi, identity, ihmisoikeudet, in English, kaksinaismoralismi, kuolema, laestadian, laestadianism, manipulointi, mielenterveys, naisen asema, normit, norms, painostaminen, perhe, puhujat, raskaudenpelko, sananjulistajat, sensuuri, sukupuolijärjestelmä, suru, suurperhe, syyllistäminen, vallankäyttö, vastuullisuus, väkivalta, yhteisö, yhteisöllisyys

Hanna Pylväinen, etninen lestadiolainen New Yorkissa

Vanhoillislestadiolaisen yhteisön jättäminen merkitsee käytännössä koko entisen elämän hylkäämistä. Nimi poistetaan puhelinluettelosta. – Kirjailija Hanna Pylväinen.

Hanna Pylväinen. Kuva: Tuukka Koski, HS-NYT 7.-13.9.2012.

Hanna Pylväinen. Kuva: Tuukka Koski, HS-NYT 7.-13.9.2012.

Näin toteaa palkittu amerikkalainen esikoiskirjailija Hanna Pylväinen. Pylväinen kasvoi Detroitin esikaupunkialueella vanhoillislestadiolaisessa suurperheessä.  Nyt hän on kiitetty esikoiskirjailija, Lue koko artikkeli…

6 kommenttia

Kategoria(t): 1990-luku, 2000-luku, 2010-luku, arvot, avioliitto, äitiys, ban of birth control, ban of television, bans, concept of sin, Conservative Laestadianism, ehkäisykielto, elämäntapa, erehtymättömyys, eroaminen uskosta, etniset vanhoillislestadiolaiset, forbidden things, fundamentalismi, häpeä, identiteetti, identity, irrottautuminen yhteisöstä, Jumala, kaksinaismoralismi, kasvatus, kiellot, kontrollointi, kulttuurikiellot, laestadianism, lähihistoria, lestadiolaisuuden suunnat, lisääntyminen, maallikkosaarnaajat, manipulointi, miehen asema, mielenterveys, naisen asema, normit, norms, painostaminen, pelko, pelot, perhe, puhujat, Raamattu, Raamatun tulkinta, secession, spiritualiteetti, suurperhe, synnit, televisiokielto, yhteisö, yhteisöllisyys, ystävyys

Rebekka Naatus: Laestadian Women Resist Big Family Pressure and Criticize the Ban on Contraception

The women rights have got a important step forward, when the  Finland’s First Conservative Laestadian Female Priest, Mrs. Mari Leppänen, was  secretly ordained as priest in 2012, in order to start her work in Lieto parish, near to Turku. Listen here the detalis of the issues in English (information on womens’ rights and bans in the Conservative Laestadian movement in general, too).

Also Mrs. Rebekka Naatus, a journalist, divorced Laestadian woman is making waves by speaking out against the treatment of women with the movement to which she belongs.

Rebekka Naatus, the PR and information officer of Evangelical Lutheran parishes in Oulu, has published an article about these questions in an  anthology Iloisen talon kellareissa (”In the Cellars of a Merry House”, not translated in English).  She has been interviewed in media on the womens’ situation in the biggest revival movement in the country, Conservative Laestadianism. Are their bodies really their own, or has the religious community colonised them to reproduction where no anyone is allowed to refuse?

The focus is in the problems following from the very tight and strict community of the religious or rather ”ethnic” group. The community has a strong power in the individual’s everyday life and in the choice of personal lifestyle.  …Read more…

1 kommentti

Kategoria(t): 2010-luku, avioliitto, äitiys, ban of birth control, bans, ehkäisykielto, erehtymättömyys, erottaminen yhteisöstä, forbidden things, hengellinen väkivalta, identity, in English, kiellot, lapset, lisääntyminen, naisen asema, normit, norms, painostaminen, pelko, pelot, perhe, suurperhe, vallankäyttö

Kun pyhästä paljastuu pahuus

Vaarallisinta on se paha, joka sokeasti uskoo itsensä hyväksi. Martti Lindqvist (1945-2004).

Lestadiolaisuudelle on melko vierasta avoin oman yhteisön epäkohtien käsittely, toteaa lastensuojelun tutkija, yhteiskuntatieteiden tohtori Johanna Hurtig tuoreessa haastattelussa Kirkonseutu-lehdessä (Laura Visapää: Pyhässäkin voi olla pahaa, 16.3.2011).

Hurtig tarkastelee varsin analyyttisesti sitä monikerroksista dynamiikkaa, jossa tiivis hengellinen yhteisö opetuksineen, yksilön ja erityisesti lapsen asema sekä väkivalta ja pedofilia väkivallan yhtenä muotona ovat kietoutuneet yhteen monimutkaiseksi vyyhdeksi. Lue koko artikkeli…

3 kommenttia

Kategoria(t): arvot, eettisyys, elämäntapa, erehtymättömyys, hengellinen väkivalta, ihmisoikeudet, insesti, itsesensuuri, johtajat, kaksinaismoralismi, kaksoisviestintä, kasvatus, keskustelu, keskusteluilmapiiri, kiellot, kontrollointi, Kotimaa, lapset, lapsuus, manipulointi, nettikeskustelu, normit, norms, nuoret, omatunto, opilliset kysymykset, painostaminen, Päivämies, pedofilia, pelko, pelot, perhe, rauhanyhdistys, retoriikka, Rippi, sananvapaus, sensuuri, seurakunta, seurakuntaoppi, synnit, syntien anteeksiantamus, syyllistäminen, totteleminen, tuomitseminen, uhkailu, uskon perusteet, uskontokritiikki, vallankäyttö, vastuullisuus, väkivalta, vihjailu, yhteisö, yhteisöllisyys, yksilöllisyys

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

Lestadiolaisuuden poliittinen valta tutkimuksen kohteeksi

Lapin yliopiston yhteiskuntatutkimuksen laitoksen johtajan, PhD, YTL Mika Luoma-ahon johtama tutkimushanke sai Suomen Akatemialta 375 000 euroa rahoitusta lestadiolaisuuden poliittista merkitystä koskevaan tutkimukseen. Tutkimuksen otsikkona on Lestadionismi: poliittinen teologia ja kansalaisuskonto. Tutkimushanke käynnistyy tammikuussa 2010 ja kestää kolme vuotta.

Lestadionismi – poliittinen teologia ja kansalaisuskonto

Tutkimuksen tarkoituksena on politisoida lestadiolaisuuden teologiaa ja toisaalta tehdä näkyväksi lestadiolaisen uskon harjoittamisen politiikkaa, todetaan tutkijoiden laatimassa tutkimushankkeen kuvauksessa.  Tutkijoiden olettama on, että kaikista suomalaisen kansanuskonnon muodoista lestadiolaisuus on puhtaan teologisin ja poliittisesti kaikkein julkilausutuin.

Lestadiolaisuuden poliittisuutta on tärkeää tutkia, koska herätysliikkeen rooli tietyillä alueilla ja tietyissä puolueissa saattaa olla erittäin merkittävä. 

Lestadiolaisuus on myös kiinnostava poliittinen liike, koska siinä missä maallinen politiikka sulkeistaa uskonnon usein henkilökohtaisten maailmankatsomusten piiriin, lestadiolaiset ajattelevat aivan toisin. Heille valtiolla on teologinen merkitys: se on ”esivalta”, joka merkitsee itse Jumalan valtaa ja auktoriteettia maan päällä. Tässä suhteessa lestadiolaisuutta voidaan verrata  islamin valtiokäsitykseen.

– Lestadiolaisuutta pitää tutkia tänään, koska liikkeestä ei ylipäätään ole ajankohtaista yhteiskuntatieteellistä tutkimusta eikä poliittista analyysia , Mika Luoma-aho sanoo. Tutkijoiden olettama on, että kaikista suomalaisen kansanuskonnon muodoista lestadiolaisuus on puhtaan teologisin ja poliittisesti kaikkein julkilausutuin.

Lestadiolaisuus on Suomessa merkittävä yhteiskunnallinen vaikuttaja, sillä luterilaisen kirkon suurimpana herätysliikkeenä sen vaikutus ulottuu noin 100 000 kannattajan lisäksi heidän lähipiiriinsä, kuten sukulaisiin, ystäviin, koulu-, opiskelu- ja työtovereihin sekä työyhteisöjen verkostoihin. Voidaan arvioida että liikkeen vaikutuspiirissä elää ainakin 300 000 – 600 000 suomalaista. uudella tutkimushankkeelle on sosiaalinen tilaus, sillä lestadiolaisuuden yhteiskunnallista merkitystä ja vaikutusta 1900-luvulta tälle vuosituhannelle ei ole  juuri lainkaan tutkittu. (Ks. esim. Lestadiolaisuus.info.)

Lestadiolaisuus ei ole tavanomaisessa mielessä poliittinen liike, sillä se ei ole organisoitunut omaksi puolueekseen, vaan liike toteuttaa tavoitteitaan parlamentaarisen poliittisen järjestelmän sisällä vaikuttamalla tiiviin yhteisöllisen uskonnollisen toimintansa rinnalla oikeisto-keskustaan lukeutuvissa puolueissa, valtion ja kuntien hallinnossa, muissa julkisen sektorin organisaatioissa, elinkeinoelämässä sekä erilaisissa talous- ja elinkeinoelämän järjestöissä. Erityisen merkittävä vaikutusvalta lestadiolaisella liikkeellä on seurakuntien päätöksenteossa ja kirkon hallinnossa. Aktiivinen yhteiskunnallinen vaikuttaminen on historiallisesti kuulunut liikkeen perinteeseen, mutta se ei ole koskaan pyrkinyt kumoamaan eikä kyseenalaistamaan vakiintuneen vallan asemia.

Tutkimushanketta voidaan pitää tervetulleena nykyisessä globaalissa tilanteessa, jossa uskonnollisen vallankäytön muodot ovat nousseet uudella tavalla keskeisiksi myös yhteiskunnallisessa ja poliittisessa mielessä.  Suomessa on juuri tänä vuonna käyty esimerkiksi vilkas kansalaiskeskustelu lestadiolaisuuden vallankäytöstä ihmisoikeuksian kannalta.

Lestadiolaisen herätysliikkeen vaikutusvalta ulottuu nykyisin varsin syvälle suomalaiseen poliittiseen päätöksentekoon, puoluekenttään ja muuhun yhteiskunta- ja  talouselämään, mutta täysin läpinäkymättömällä tavalla.  Tähän mennessä ei ole julkaistu tutkimustietoa lestadiolaisuuden vaiikutusvallasta ja merkityksestä suomalaisen yhteiskunnan vallankäytössä enempää teologisesta kuin yhteiskunnallisestakaan näkökulmasta. Suomen Akatemian rahoittama tutkimushanke vastaa siksi merkittävään yhteiskunnalliseen tarpeeseen.

Tutkimushankkeen blogi.

Tutkimussuunnitelmasta englanniksi:

Finland’s Christian Right  (Mika Luoma-aho)

Suomeksi: Lestadionismi: poliittinen teologia ja kansalaisuskonto maallistuvassa Suomessa

Mika Luoma-aho ja tutkijaryhmä: Lestadionismi-hanke ei ole teologinen, vaan yhteiskuntatieteellinen. Kotimaa24 18.3.2013. (Vastine uskonnonopettaja Valma Kukon tutkimushanketta koskevaan kritiikkiin.)

Lisää aiheesta:

Political dimensions of the Laestadianism in the research focus funded by Academy of Finland

Saarenpäälle ja Luoma-aholle Suomen Akatemian tutkimusrahoitus (Lapin yliopiston tiedote)

Tutkimusrahaa tietoyhteiskunnan ja lestadiolaisuuden tutkimiseen (Yle)

Jouko Talonen 1988. Pohjois-Suomen lestadiolaisuuden poliittis-yhteiskunnallinen profiili 1905–1929. The sociopolitical profile of the Laestadian movement in northern Finland between 1905-1929. Helsinki: Suomen Kirkkohistoriallinen seura. SKHS toimituksia, 144.  Väitöskirja.

Aini Linjakumpu: Lestadiolaisuus suomalaisena ääriliikkeenä. Kaltio 2000:1.

Lestadiolaisuus ja politiikka. Lestadiolaisuus.info.

Johanna Kouva: Laestadianism in Finland. University of Tampere.

Lestadiolaisuuden tutkimus. Lestadiolaisuus.info.

Keskustelua lähihistorian tutkimuksesta (Kuusamo 18.4.2009)

SRK:n johtokunta teki hengelliseksi naamioitua puoluepoliittista työtä

SRK.n kerjuukirje SYT:lle 12.2.1965

Mika-Luoma-aho  kertoo tutkimusintresseistään Lapin yliopiston esittelysivuilla.

Leena Vähäkylä: Lestadiolaisuus vaikuttaa kriiseistään huolimatta. Tietysti.fi: uutta tieteen ääreltä. 11.1.201. (Mika Luoma-ahon haastattelu tutkimushankkeen tuloksista.)

Mika Luoma-aho

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 2002;
  • Yhteiskuntatieteiden lisensiaatti, Lapin yliopisto, 2000;
  • Lapin yliopistossa vuodesta 1999 lähtien, kansainvälisten suhteiden yliassistenttina vuodesta 2002;
  • opettaa yleistä politiikan teoriaa ja poliittisen ajattelun historiaa kansainvälisten suhteiden pääaineopiskelijoille
  • tutkii protestanttista poliittista teologiaa ja Edmund Burkea sekä laatii julkaisua Martti Lutherin poliittisesta symboliikasta.

4 kommenttia

Kategoria(t): 2000-luku, Conservative Laestadianism, evankelis-luterilainen kirkko, fundamentalismi, historia, ihmisoikeudet, kiellot, kirkko, laestadian, laestadianism, lähihistoria, luterilaisuus, normit, norms, pietismi, politiikka, retoriikka, SRK ry., tutkimus, vallankäyttö, yhteisö

Political dimensions of the Laestadianism in the research focus funded by Academy of Finland

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Culture and Society has recently decided to fund a new research project on Laestadianism from the political point of view:  Laestadian-ism: Political Theology and Civil Religion in Secularizing Finland. The project  will be managed  by Dr. Mika Luoma-aho (Assistant Professor of International Relations, University of Lapland), to the tune of 375,000 Euro over the period 1 January 2010 through 31 December 2012.

The research project is welcome and important  in this global situation. We need more understanding about both national and international religional movements, especially about their societal and political roles and impacts.  It is expectable that the results of the project will be appreciated by the researcers and the field of the practice in the society, especially in Finland where the Laestadian movement is a largest, powerful separatistic movement in the The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

Project description: ”Laestadianism is a form of fundamentalism”

”Laestadianism is the largest revivalist movement within the Finnish Lutheran Church. Our project aims to provide current, empirically oriented and theoretically innovative analysis of the political aspects of laestadianism.

Laestadianism is a form of ’fundamentalism’ that poses no challenge to other Christian denominations or religions, just as it does not in any way aim to subvert the establishment. Quite the contrary: Laestadians have long practiced their religion within the confines of the national Lutheran Church; they have traditionally taken an active role in civil society; and they continue to organize themselves politically through the Finnish parliamentary system. What we see in laestadianism is Finland’s Christian Right: it embodies and represents much of what goes under Christian reaction in this country.

Laestadianism is not a political movement in the conventional sense of the term: it does not have its own party or a political platform. Our project will make the political aspects of laestadianism discernible by approaching it from two conceptual angles.

We will (I) politicize the history of Laestadian theology and (II) make explicit the politics of practicing the Laestadian religion today. This we will do (i) by approaching laestadianism as a tradition of political theology; and (ii) by framing laestadianism as a form of civil religion.

Our hypothesis is that among the varieties and intensities of civil religion we may identify in Finnish politics today, laestadianism embodies its purest theological expression and most explicit political articulation.

Laestadianism is important, because there are regions in this country, parties in its political system, where the role of the movement is noteworthy. It is also an interesting movement in itself, because while secular political life sees religion often in personal terms, there is a politically active and outspoken movement in this secular age that believes otherwise. The Laestadians believe that the state has a very specific theological meaning: it is government established by God and in its proper functioning his rule and reign are in stake [sic]. There is a sharp contrast between the world-views of laestadianism and that of the secular majority of ’Finns’.

There is a desperate need for political research on the Laestadian movement. Our project will provide up-to-date information on its political history, religiously structured view of social life, and political significance in Finland today. This information is needed to overcome prejudice in society. Furthermore: we will use this information ourselves in contributing to current debates on the relationship between organized religion and the institution of the secular, national state.

The project already has a blog, ”Laestadian-ism”:


According to it, Laestadianism is ”based on the heritage of a Sami botanist and preacher Lars Levi Laestadius” (1800-1861). ”In our research we combine current theoretical literatures on political theology and civil religion with an empirically oriented approach to the movement in Finnish society. This weblog will be updated with current information on project events and public relations, commentary and analysis on issues touching the laestadian movement in Finland and elsewhere, as well as debates on political theology and civil religion in general.”

About the research design in English:

Finland’s Christian Right  (Mika Luoma-aho)

In Finnish:

Lestadionismi: poliittinen teologia ja kansalaisuskonto maallistuvassa Suomessa

Read more:

Lestadiolaisuuden poliittinen valta tutkimuksen kohteeksi

Saarenpäälle ja Luoma-aholle Suomen Akatemian tutkimusrahoitus (The press release of the University of Lapland, 7.10.2009.)

Aini Linjakumpu: Lestadiolaisuus suomalaisena ääriliikkeenä. Kaltio 2000:1. (Laestadianism as the Extremist Movement in Finland.)

Lestadiolaisuus ja politiikka. Lestadiolaisuus.info. (Short summaries of some articles collected in the Finnish general and Laestadian media)

Johanna Kouva: Laestadianism in Finland. University of Tampere.

Mika-Luoma-aho  in the website of the University of Lapland.

Jätä kommentti

Kategoria(t): 2000-luku, evankelis-luterilainen kirkko, fundamentalismi, historia, in English, kirkko, laestadianism, luterilaisuus, norms, pietismi, politiikka, tutkimus

I left the Conservative Laestadian movement (in ten years)


Leaving the strict confines of Conservative Laestadianism can be a shock. 

A young woman who has abandoned her faith speaks of confusion at what happens next.

*    *    *

I can remember exactly how I felt on that day. The weather was very beautiful in Helsinki. I walked on the sunny street with my head held high, and smiled at people walking by. I felt incomprehensible joy.

It was me walking there, and nobody else. I was 25 years old, and it was my issue and nobody else’s what I was doing with my life and what I was thinking. The powerful feeling of liberation came from something that was very small, but which had great symbolic significance for me. I was wearing makeup for the first time in my life.
The feeling came back to me when I saw Kielletty hedelmä (“Forbidden Fruit”), a film by Dome Karukoski, which tells about the departure of two young girls from the Conservative Laestadian movement.
My own departure lasted ten years.
I grew up in a Conservative Laestadian family in North Ostrobothnia (Finland). Our everyday lives did not actually differ much from those of our non-Laestadian neighbours, except that we had no television, we did not run our lawn mowers in Sunday, and on Sundays we attended services with the other Laestadians of the village.
At the services speakers read the Bible and interpreted it. The sermon usually took an hour. Then we sang hymns and Songs of Zion. After the singing we got refreshments.
The lectures repeated that the Kingdom of God is a good and safe place to be. The “Kingdom of God” is a term with which the Laestadian community calls itself. The outside world is corrupt and insecure. We were warned not to establish very close relations with “people of the world” because they might jeopardise our faith. Losing one’s faith was the worst thing that could happen, because then you would go to hell.
Contrary to what some other children said, I never took hell very seriously. However, I did feel that losing the faith would be very sad. On the other hand, there were many advantages to living as a person with faith, the biggest of which was that you got to go to heaven.
It was a good idea to preserve the faith by staying away from alcohol, dancing, movies, competitive sport, makeup, hair dye, sex, and so on. There was no official list of things that were not appropriate for a person of faith, but I gradually learned from what adults were saying what the things were that I was expected to stay away from.
Abstinence was not especially difficult, when there were many people around you living the same way. I did not actually refuse anything, I simply stayed far away from things that did not apply to me. In retrospect I thought that the Laestadians largely visualised their faith on the basis of what they do not do.
At school I would have liked to go to dance lessons, but the physical education teacher guided the Laestadian girls to go for a walk. I saw this as self-evident.
The third and most important way to protect the faith was not use one’s own sense of reason. We were told that reason can take our faith away. If one’s reason or experiences conflict with faith, one needed to become humble and to see the blessings of the common line of the congregation.
At about the age of 15 I noticed that I had started to think differently from what had been taught.
For instance, I began to wonder why Laestadians would go to heaven and others would go to hell. I also wondered why I should not enjoy the music of Aretha Franklin. It seemed unlikely that God would appreciate only the classics.
However, it was very important for me not to hurt the feelings of any other Laestadian with my views. It was emphasised at services that those who violate the unity of the congregation act against God. This is why I shared my thoughts with very few people.
I tried to clarify to myself what the Laestadian way of life was based on. Other practices, such as total abstinence from alcohol, had emerged in the late 19th century. Negative views toward television and popular music, for instance, had come up in the 1950s and 1960s. The linkage of these practices with God, faith, and morality began to feel inconceivable to me. I wanted to distinguish between cultural habits and faith.
For me, faith meant Christian thoughts of how a person can experience redemption through faith. I thought that I could be a Laestadian as long as I believed that. Even in sermons it was emphasised that a desire for faith was enough.
At the same time I was quite knowledgeable that on the practical level it was not possible to separate practice from faith. If I were to go to a service with makeup on, my friends would be shocked. The makeup would communicate to the others that I am no longer a Laestadian.
As I did not want to leave the Laestadian community, I committed to observing practices that I felt were without foundation.
I was headed for a great conflict.
No open discussion had been held within the movement about the true significance of cultural practices, and it is not happening even now. Privately, Laestadians have many opinions about lifestyles, but according to the public Laestadian line, things like not having a television is a “fruit of the spirit”, or a sign that a person is a believer of the right kind.
It was emphasised at services that it is not about rules, but rather the fact that a Laestadian wants to operate in a certain way. I recall how I preferred to speak about desires, rather than rules. I was pained to read newspaper articles about things that Laestadians “were not allowed to do”. The question was about what I wanted to do or to choose!
But whose desire was it really all about?
I was not asked what I wanted, or what I felt was important. For instance, the negative stance on birth control was taken in the late 1960s at a meeting of preachers, where only men were present.
I knew already at the age of 13 that I did not want to be the mother of a big family. It was not until I was over the age of 20 that I said out loud that I cannot stand the idea of a big family. My friends answered that “you can’t know in advance what it will be like”.
I was supposed to simply trust that God would give me exactly the right number of children, even if I did not use birth control.
I knew that my mind could not handle such an experiment. I simply did not want to become pregnant reluctantly. My thoughts did not find resonance, because they resounded with the voice of reason, not that of faith.
Some felt that faith is that people are encouraged to push their reason aside in big matters. For me rejecting reason would have been an abandonment of my own psyche.
I was not ready to bend at all in the birth control question, or to hide my opinions. The security of the Laestadian community began to turn into insecurity.
At the age of 25 I decided to leave the community. it was the most honest and most sustainable solution.
However, the most difficult days were still ahead. Leaving Laestadianism takes place by telling about it to one’s family and friends. I had the words of the father of my friend in my mind: “For one’s own child to leave the faith is worse than the child’s death.”
I could not cause such great sorrow to people close to me without going into a state of protective shock. Emotionally numb, I told my family and my friends: “I no longer have the faith.”
I will never forget those moments. I remember the expressions on the people’s faces, the silence, the first words.
My decision briefly shook the basic sense of security of people close to me. A few of them were also in shock.
It is a few years since the event, and I have good relations with my family. My decision nevertheless raises such deep emotions in my family that I cannot write about it under my own name. I also want to protect my family from the talk that the publication of this article will raise in the Laestadian community.
Leaving a religious movement is often described as a liberation from stressful rules. That is certainly the case to some degree. I was liberated from representing people other than myself. I was able to go to an Alko to buy a bottle of rum for a cake, and I didn’t have to explain to other Laestadians why I was doing it.
I was also able to think freely whether or not I believe in God, and if so, what kind of a God I believe in.
The film Kielletty hedelmä describes well how liberation is not merely a positive experience.
Instead of liberation I mainly experienced confusion. When nobody was defining my limits on my behalf, then where are those limits, and do they exist at all. This phase included some comical excesses.
I took full advantage of being able to have a different opinion about things. I might tell my colleague at work that her idea was “complete crap”. At times I would hurt people, and at other times amuse them by being rude and blunt.
In many situations I felt like an outsider. Maria, one of the main characters of Kielletty hedelmä, orders her first drink in a bar, saying “Two … something with alcohol in it”. The scene is as if it were straight from my life. I still have to concentrate in a bar to remember what kinds of drinks actually exist.
Maria, the more reckless of the girls in the film, is eager to break through the boundaries set up by Laestadianism (concerning alcohol, makeup, sex, dance) but finally, in the grip of great emotion, she wants to reform.
The more cautious Raakel observes Maria’s experiments from a distance. Raakel is like I am. Like Raakel, I first went through disengagement from Laestadianism in my mind. I lost my faith in the ways of thinking that maintained the boundaries.
I have many Laestadian friends who have thought the same thoughts that I did, but who do not want to leave the community. For some of them, the mystery of the faith is important, and for others, it is the sense of community. Some, for their part, say that they are there out of force of habit, or because they do not want to disappoint their parents. These are all understandable reasons.
I also know one person who claims to be part of the “leftist wing of Laestadianism”, women who define themselves as “Laestadian feminists”, and even one “Conservative Laestadian atheist”.
The subcultures are not seen in public. The old men who speak in the name of the revival movement, on the other hand, appear to be blissfully ignorant of the diversity that exists inside Laestadianism. For that reason, they can give statements leaning on sharp polarisations, and claim that the Laestadian community is a a unified group of people who think alike.
Kielletty hedelmä depicts the unravelling of a world picture focussing on duality. Maria urges Raakel to drink alcohol, saying “you have to understand what all of this is”.
When Raakel asks what it all is, Maria says “Nothing, Just ordinary!”
According to Conservative Laestadian doctrine, Maria has lost the ability to recognise what is sin.
Recognising the ordinary was a relief for me. The Laestadian world was not inherently good, and the rest of the world was not inherently evil. It was also not the case that the Laestadian world would have been insignificant, and that life outside would have been exciting to the point of intoxication.
There is just one world common to us all. Some things are good, and some things are bad. Most of them are somewhere in between.
*     *      *
Author: Anna-Stina Nykänen, Helsingin Sanomat.
First published in Finnish; in print 22.3.2009. (Exceptionally, this article was published anonymously in Finnish.)
Comments welcome, please contact the Freepathways network: verkosto@luukku.com, or you can also write your comment in the blog.
Artikkeli julkaistiin alkuaan Helsingin Sanomien sunnuntainumerossa 22.3.2009, suomenkielisen tekstin löydät täältä.
Read more:
Leanne Waldal: How does “sweetie” become shunned? (On ostracism after leaving Leastadian church; also interesting comments)
Bible_Warning PIEN

6 kommenttia

Kategoria(t): concept of sin, Conservative Laestadianism, forbidden things, get rid of, Helsingin Sanomat, identiteetti, identity, in English, irrottautuminen yhteisöstä, laestadian, laestadianism, norms, secession, sin