Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fifty to Five-thousand

Maybe there were a few more than 50 worshiping at 8:30 at our church this morning. Maybe there were slightly fewer than 5,000 at the Laestadian Lutheran "Summer Services." But I had to park a long way from the door and had a hard time finding a seat in the quadruple size high school gym where the "Summer Services" were being held -- and lots more people were milling about and gathering in other rooms where video feeds were playing the same sermons. I left intern Paul Gustafson to lead our 10:30 contemporary worship and went to what must be described as a cross-cultural experience.

I heard three sermons and four hymns between 10:30 and 1:00 at the "summer services." The sermons were based on the Prodigal Son (Luke 15), Jesus coming to the disciples in the storm (Matthew 14:22-34) and God's providing for Elijah when he was ready to give up (First Kings 19). I'd guess the sermons lasted 45 minutes and the hymns (except the last one) had about 10 verses each.

At the Laestadian summer services, there was a great emphasis faith and on God's grace for sinners. The huge emphasis seemed to be on staying together in God's kingdom. God's kingdom was described as a congregation where at least 2-3 of "God's children" are gathered to hear and believe God's Word. The final preacher wept as he said how he knew some would drift away before the 2009 "summer services." The people were warned against listening to the preaching of the "threefold enemy"--our sinful self, the "world," and the devil.

A lot more could be said about the "Apostolic" or "Laestadian" Lutherans. All this is pretty new to me as I've only been in the Cokato area for 3 years. There was a pretty good article you could access by clicking here (on Wikipedia). "Apostolic" Lutherans are those who follow the teachings and belief of Lars Levi Laestadius, a pastor who served on the border of Sweden and Finland in the mid 1800s.

So why so few at our church and so many at the Laestadian "Summer Services"? What do you think? Let me know by emailing me at or by making a "comment" below. Thanks.

* corrected email address as of April 9, 2012
From the article on the Apostolic Lutherans in America on Wikipedia, retrieved today.
I have replaced the term "Laestadian" with Apostolic Lutheran in italics because in the Cokato area that is more commonly used. In our area "Laestadian" is used only for certain Apostolic Lutherans that are members of a particular local Apostolic Lutheran congregation.
Beliefs and Characteristics
American Apostolic Lutherans practice varied degrees of fundamentalist Christian belief. Most avoid alcohol; varying numbers of adherents avoid a number of "worldly" practices, including dancing, card-playing, cinema, television, high-school sports, popular music, and the performing arts (listed in approximate order of avoidance). However, caffeine is widely consumed and tobacco is generally tolerated. Family size tends to be large compared to the American average; most families in non-urban congregations have between 4 and 10 children, while most churches have a few families with 12 or 15 children. Birth control is generally not practiced, and some consider it a sin (although as on most issues, urbanites tend to be more liberal than rural adherents).
Apostolic Lutheran asceticism is distinguished from other American fundamentalist Christians in that none of the above-mentioned pastimes is officially proscribed; rather, Apostolic Lutherans counsel each other and employ a reinforcing system of social feedback to encourage abstention. Active congregations provide social outlets in keeping with the beliefs of the church; nearly every weekend evening will find Apostolic Lutheran teenagers congregating at one or another's home (get-together).
Apostolic Lutheran churches teach that every human is a sinner and that every sin can be forgiven; forgiveness stems from the hearts of Apostolic Lutherans, not from ceremony or hierarchy. Some Apostolic Lutherans practice lay confession whereby a member confesses to another member; in the Heidemanian** tradition, some vestige of this practice remains in the liturgy but confession is not widely practiced.
Some Apostolic Lutheran congregations consider themselves the one, true Christian church, and preach that all other Christian churches (including other branches of the Apostolic Lutheran tradition) are not true Christians.

Ceremony and Service in the Heidemanian** tradition
American Apostolic Lutheran churches provide services in Finnish to varying degrees; in some churches circa 2000, every service is bilingual, while in others only special occasions merit translation, and in yet others all preaching is done in English. In any case, an Apostolic Lutheran
may request to receive Communion in Finnish; another lay member of the congregation can deliver Communion if the pastor is not fluent. Communion is the only regularly practiced ceremony (performed once or twice a month, or every week, depending on congregation), and consists of unleavened wafers and wine (sometimes grape juice), delivered assembly-line fashion at a communion rail at the conclusion of Sunday services.
Teenagers undergo Confirmation around age 13 to 15, after which they are eligible for communion. Other significant life ceremonies are baptism (performed during the first months of life, and rarely for adult converts) and marriage.
...Apostolic Lutheran bodies hold "big services," in which members of multiple congregations gather in one location to hear speakers from the United States and from Scandinavia (if they have a cooperating European counterpart).
The Laestadian church arrived in North America with Nordic (especially Finnish) immigrants in the latter half of the 19th century, many of whom arrived to work in the copper mines of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Some of these new immigrants found themselves in conflict with older, established immigrants from the same countries, being generally poorer and less established, and hewing to the new, fundamentalist teachings of Lars Levi Laestadius. As a result, Apostolic Lutheran congregations separate from the extant Scandinavian Lutheran churches were formed in Cokato, Minnesota, in 1872 and in Calumet, Michigan, in 1873.
As of 2000, the following Apostolic Lutheran church bodies are believed to be active in the United States: First Apostolic Lutheran Church, Laestadian Lutheran Church, Apostolic Lutheran Church of America, Old Apostolic Lutheran Church, Finnish Apostolic-Lutheran Congregation, Independent Apostolic Lutheran Church.
**What is the
Heidemanian tradition?
The following quote is from a paper on Disputes and Divisions (page 50) among Apostolic Lutherans. The article talks about how strict obedience to the decisions of its meetings as the “decisions of the Holy Spirit" is demanded by Apostolic Lutherans known as "Heidemanians."
"...The humility of children is the acceptance of all things from the hand of God, who in the fellowship of His kingdom cares for His own. The humility of a child of God is total acceptance of the voice of His Spirit, which speaks through the mouths of the previously believing. ‘He that heareth thee, heareth me.’ The true humility of a child is realized obedience to the voice of the congregation, the kingdom, and ‘Mother’ of us all. ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God among men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God’ Rev. 21:3. This is why Paul calls the kingdom, the congregation, ‘the ground and pillar of truth.’ The Spirit of God, which dwells in the kingdom, the communion of saints, the holy congregation, is an unerring, infallible Teacher; for Jesus says: ‘It shall lead you unto all truth.’"
Revised Monday, 9:30 a.m.


  1. As a member and particpant of the group hosting the summer services, I found your comments interesting. I suspect, indeed, if you haven't been exposed to Laestadianism previously, it was truely a cross cultural experience. Given you've only been here a few years, it is impossible for you to grasp the sentiments. 50 to 5000 is an interesting title... and may contain a significant message with respect to Cokato. emplated.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment and I'd love to talk or email or whatever to learn more. I didn't quite get the last word of your comment... "emplated"?

  3. Sorry, "emplated" was apparently a typo remaining of the partially deleted word "contemplated".

    Over the past few generations we have had at least 4 splits/divisions among the Finnish Lutherans (almost all have common roots). Today, as far as I know, there are the Apostolic Lutherans of Kingston; First Apostolics of Dassel; Laestadian Lutherans of Cokato [church is in Stockholm]; and the Grace Apostles Lutheran, Cokato. Perhaps about 50+ years ago the Kingston group split; In 1972 the First Apostolics and the Laestadian Lutherans split; within the past few years the Grace Apostles split from the First Apostolics group. A few families with Finn background joined the Good Shepard group that built SE of Cokato about 20 years ago.

    The basis and reason for the splits varies (depending upon the source). However, I think most who have lived through a heresy (common and rather crass term used for splits) would concur that they wouldn't wish the experience upon anyone. These splits have divided husbands and wives, parents and kids, brothers and sisters... speaking nothing of cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents. The effects have been emotionally draining and spiritually haunting. I think its fair to say that most members of the respective groups believe the others are eternally damned unless they repent (rejoin the prior group). This places immense voids between them; each fervently hoping/praying the other would return. As a practical matter, there are essentially no social connections between the members of the respective groups - no matter how close they are related. The exception to this is that the kids meet at school when they are about 5 and seem to have an uncanny magnetism toward each other (given the strong genetic similarities, and oft-times rather close family relationship it is no wonder). However, the parents seem to discourage such friendships (in favor of having their respective kid hang with their own group - lest they be led astray). As a consequence, budding friendships usually end or a "safe" distance is established before the kids get out of elementary school.

    On one hand, the result is closely knit groups that try to believe/live in like manner and support each other. On the other hand, group decision making and adhering to same can be cumbersome and difficult...

    In terms of your '50 to 5000' title, I suspect it is easily explained by two principals. (1) The Finns, at least most of them, do not believe in birth control, and (2)The kids are taught that faith is the most important part of life - bar none. As a result, the vast majority of the young remain. The result is exponetial growth.

    Conversely, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the other area churches have a much less compelling mandate and are fast running out of youth; the future of all organizations...

  4. Thank you for sharing the background. It haunts me that there is a terrible sense of fear among my Finnish Lutheran brothers and sisters. Do you know on what basis that some, from one group or another, believe that others are damned unless they are a part of their group? That is really frightening to me. I'd love to talk more about what is going on with youth ministry and passing on the faith to children and youth in our church and others in families and through the church itself, but this "haunting" or condemning of brothers and sisters seems really damaging. What is the basis for that teaching? Or is it mostly a folk belief that doesn't come from the Apostolic/Laestadian leadership?

  5. I’m not so sure it is a constant and terrible sense of fear; remember, each is confident they are believing correctly and are in a saved condition. However, they are just as sure that the other is not believing correctly and is in an unsaved condition.

    The basis, as I understand it, is the biblical passage that says, "...and upon this rock I will build my church." The word "church" being singular; not plural. I think each Finn group, at least in this area, fervently believes that there is only one saving faith [church] on this earth. Where the dissonance arises, of course, is that each respective group is convinced they are the only ones believing correctly.

    As to the teaching of the youth, it starts at home; each parent assumes an essentially sacred duty. That duty is taken seriously and with joy. The parents regularly discuss, advise, admonish, and direct their kids as to the fundamentals of living as “believers”. When difficulties [sin] arises, as it routinely does, a special form of forgiveness is utilized among family and others believers. That forgiveness provides assurance, one to the other, that the matters have been cleansed away; both as to the person(s) involved and as to God. Anyone privy to the matter(s) is instructed not to mention or spread it to anyone else. Ideally, there is no ‘wise doubting’ and the forgiven person receives new strength and goes forward in life with joy and optimism.

    Kids are taught fundamentals of apology and forgiveness from infancy. By the time they are preschoolers they not only know pretty well what sin is (which varies somewhat from one Finn group to another), but they know how to obtain forgiveness if they have fallen into [committed] sin. Kids are especially receptive to this teaching and often seek this regular assurance that their sins and faults are forgiven – even if they aren’t mindful of a particular “name” sin that day or week.

    The same basic fundamentals apply to the adults and the Church essentially supports what the parents and kids are doing at home. The respective Finn Churches, as near as I can tell, have a whole host of various formal and informal supportive mechanisms. For now, suffice it to say, common denominators appear to be that they have “fellowship” among others of the same group and refrain from “yoking” with anyone else. The main concern again, is that they might be led astray if they start talking about faith matters with “unbelievers” (anyone that is not from their own group).

    1. in response to "kjmonkey13" who commented here on June 12, 2013, I will pray that you will find caring Christian sisters and brothers who you can share with and pray with. "Father God, grant grace and healing and the full assurance of your love for those who have been hurt to this precious one who needs to experience your peace, in Jesus' name and by the Holy Spirit."

  6. If I were to teach that all people in other churches were condemned, and if the people of my church believed me, I'm sure we'd have a pretty high retention rate among our families and youth. I tell my people what I believe is the Lutheran principle "Don't Trust Your Pastor." The same thing would be true for trusting any kind of spiritual leader. If a spiritual leader, whether that is a parent or an elder or a pastor, teaches the young that all others are condemned by God, that is close to spiritual abuse I fear. I know I am speaking in strong language here, and I wish we could talk face to face as brothers, but it's hard for me to get past that teaching which seems to contradict, for example, Revelation 7:9 when it talks about people from EVERY nation, tribe and language standing before the throne of God in a crowd that NO ONE can count. I'm sorry if I speak strongly and seem to be insulting, but I am very concerned about this. The church that is built on the rock is international and, I believe, hidden in all kinds of churches of most every denomination that preaches Jesus on earth. I think there is a lot of good in the Apostolic/Laestadian tradition, but if people are being kept in the church because they think everyone in other Christian groups is damned, that's a HUGE issue that is really hard for me to get past. Perhaps there is still more I don't understand and I apologize if I am being rude or unfair.

  7. Be free - I appreciate the candor as well as the Rev. 7:9 reference. Although I tend to agree with you that it is important the parishioners appreciate that their ministers are also faulty as humans, if we instruct them not to trust their pastor, as you suggest, who can we advise them to trust? (If you are suggesting this somewhat ‘tongue-in-cheek’, I understand. But if you are serious, my question remains.)

    In terms of youth retention rates, what is typical these days in the Lutheran churches? Some years ago, I heard only 5 percent of Europeans regularly attend church services while about 50 percent of Americans do. Having traveled/studied somewhat is Europe, I got the impression that church was passé. Occasionally I’ve wondered, which comes first, the ecumenical sentiments you suggest, or general malaise? If it really doesn’t matter what one believes or what church one attends, isn’t the question begged as to whether it really matters if one attends at all?

    I think many in this area believe non-believers are at the root of ecumenical teachings as an initial step toward religious indifference, agnosticism, and finally atheism. However, I concur as you suggest that when one believes that everyone else is damned, it is awfully hard to establish any kind of meaningful relations. Some argue fairly persuasively, that religious differences are the origin of more wars than any other. Do you think that’s true?

    Some time ago, one of our local business leaders observed aloud to me that we had about a dozen or more Lutheran churches in this small area – he was confounded as to why. Do you know why?

    You have been thought-provoking for me and I want to renew my hope/prayer that, if not all of us, at least the Finns who have so much common heritage, could bury their differences, focus on their similarities, and reunite in peace and harmony. I realize this is an unwieldy task that is nigh unto impossible when considered with the human mind, but with God anything is possible, correct?

    Finally, having read the whole chapter, I have to admit I don’t have a sense of the context of Rev. 7:9 and do not understand it. Perhaps in time I will.

  8. Thank you again for sharing. I hope someday we can meet.

    As regards my point about "don't trust your pastor," Martin Luther, I think, said something similar when he said he could not trust church authority because his conscience had "been taken captive by the Word of God." We always need to have a somewhat skeptical attitude about what someone says, and, like the the Jews in Acts 17:11, we ought to examine the scriptures to check the truth of what is preached. That's the sense of "not trusting your pastor" I had in mind.

    Putting aside our differences for the moment, I think we have a lot to learn from the Laestadian tradition as far as parents teaching their youth. I just said this in today's (Nov. 3) post on this blog. Our church's youth director was on a retreat with 30 some of our teens this weekend, and though it was a very good weekend in many ways, spiritually and personally for the kids and the adults, our youth director came back saying that in many of the homes of our youth the Christian faith seems to not be discussed. The tragedy of the "state church," which my denomination is heir to, is that people tended to delegate to the church the parents sacred duty to teach their children. This is in spite of the fact that, at the time of baptism if at no other time, parents promise to teach and raise their children in the faith.

    I haven't thought about the idea that ecumenism is at the root of malaise. I have never thought about your idea that "ecumenical teachings" might be an "initial step" toward the loss of faith. When we gather, however, for pastors' prayer, as we do every Wednesday morning, there is a common fervor for bringing the lost to Christ. At least in this area I don't see that our relationships with others is problematic. I think I am in good company when I say that there is an "invisible church" which exists among believers in many denominations and local congregations, and that somewhat in spite of the denominational-ism that often rips us apart.

    You asked about the many Lutheran congregations in our area. There is a long history there and I don't think that they are all profoundly at odds with one another. But, then again, I am a member of probably the most liberal of the Lutheran churches, though myself theologically and biblically more conservative than most of my ELCA colleagues. There is a wide range of belief, I think, *within* most Lutheran congregations and denominations as much as between them.

    Yes, I pray that all of us who trust Jesus Christ for life and salvation would be united someday. But, until then, I hope we can pray together, share together, and unite together on those things which we do share in common. The most important being the Lord Jesus, his sacrificial death and glorious resurrection!

  9. The portion of Scriptures you reference, Acts 17, is instructive and appears to address REASON as it relates to salvation (17:2); Paul’s identification of Jesus and the implausible (on any rational level) concept that Jesus arose from the dead (17:3). Interestingly, it suggests, as always, some believed and some didn’t – and those that didn’t were jealous and wreaked havoc (17:4, 5).

    Isn’t that typical today – even in the secular world? If there is a trend or an idea that we are not a part of, but others around us are, don’t we feel left out? As humans, don’t we often harbor resentment, envy and as a result sometimes lash out in vengeance against those we disagree with by word, thought, and deed? Even when such conduct is against the law of the land? (17:7) Isn’t it common that when we are stymied and unable to communicate persuasively that we seek persons wiser than us to explain/debate the subject? (17:10)

    This background, I think, puts into context your 17:11 reference where persons more learned in the scriptures explained it and as a result many more believed (17:11, 12). But, does this portion stand for being suspicious of our church leaders? I don’t know… Certainly on a rational level it is prudent and I concur that we must take others’ assertions with a ‘grain-of-salt’ – perhaps the more certain they are the more we need to wonder. But on a spiritual level, aren’t we supposed to be receptive to the teachings and ‘in no wise-doubting’?

    When Luther departed from the Catholic Church, weren’t the persons he debated with among the wisest and most accomplished men of that time? If so, could their falling have been prevented by more suspicious and recalcitrant parishioners? Do each of us have a sacred duty to care for and admonish our church leaders as necessary? Wasn’t Luther in fact, a life-long dedicated student of theology? But, in establishing Lutheranism, didn’t Luther end up taking mostly the lower class and unlearned with him? Those that felt abused by the Catholics and disenfranchised?

    Perhaps you’re right – we need healthy suspicions. . . I don't know.

    You mention your youth leader’s observation that the young, by and large, aren’t being instructed in religion by their parents. Speaking nothing of active and diligent instruction, ask honestly what kind of example the adults are setting for the kids. If persons hold themselves out in public and at church as Christians, but in their private lives act differently, kids see through the hypocrisy at a glance - kids are not dumb. It is those dawning moments when the kid realizes that Dad, or Mom, based on their conduct, really doesn’t believe. Those are life-altering moments that undermine, often forever, the kid’s youthful bliss and security of faith. To avoid the catastrophic outcome of such events, many of us begin to admit/acknowledge our weaknesses/failings to our kids at a young age and beg forgiveness/understanding. Not as an excuse or permissiveness of sin; but as a recognition of our human side. This seems to placate the predictable uneasiness of a child as he matures and comprehends that Mom and Dad are not perfect but failing believers… and that faith is still worth it.

    As to your pastor’s prayer and common fervor, I don’t doubt that it is sincere; but again, do you think a high percentage of the local parishioners conduct their own regular quiet moments of prayer? Or, are most of them so swept up in daily life, that prayerful thoughts get left somewhere in the background? I don’t know – I’m simply commenting. I’ve mentioned your blog to a few friends, but I’m aware there is a great reluctance to engage in such conversation; we have a long history of keeping to ourselves.

  10. This continues to be a fascinating conversation. You challenge me and that's good. It's this sort of back and forth that I believe is the best for Christian growth.

    1. The "in no wise doubting" is not scriptural, but is in the catechism, and it applies specifically to the absolution. Is there something in the scripture where you see that we ought to uncritically believe whatever our spiritual leaders teach? I see signs, for example, in Paul's epistles, where the Lord cautions us and tells us that there is a need for discernment in regard to what is taught by fallible human teachers. Certainly my comment about "not trusting your pastor" was too glib. When the pastor is preaching the basics of Jesus' work on the cross and what he did for us there, the pastor is always on solid ground and should not be "doubted" for the sake of doubting! That's dangerous!

    2. The need for parents to be an example of confession and repentance, serious about their faith -- that's something we more liberal Lutheran should be learning from you. I was reading today called "The Perspective of Evil in Understanding and Treating Child Abuse." Too often we brush off evil as if it were a "lifestyle option" or something we can excuse people for without repentance. Family life needs to be the incubator for full and loving Christian disciples. I am so thankful for my parents, and my wife's parents, who were very loving and very intentional about how they raised us. Their prayer life was genuine as was their worship. But I know that is very different in many families. There is always a need for repentance when we do wrong. I will continue to challenge my people about that.

  11. I haven't logged on for awhile and appreciate your thoughtful comments. Indeed, those of us with parents/grandparents that taught by example are truly fortunate. As to 'no wise doubting' you're right, that was Luther's phrase (I think in connection with confession to provide assurance/comfort/relief to the sinner).

    As to being too glib, don't worry. I think we need candor and even a little 'lightness' in discussing religion. Moreover, I think you are right; it's okay to think critically about what our pastors say (and I think it's refreshing to have a pastor suggest the same).

    I sincerely appreciate your comments at paragraph 2 and believe they are on-target. The popular adage ‘Life-style-choices’ almost always translates to tolerance and leniency toward an unhealthy and liberal lifestyle that used to be known as sin.

    Best Regards

  12. The article you mentioned a comment or two ago sounds interesting. I've wondered if child abuse is increasing or if as a society we are becoming more aware of it (i.e. through inquisitive teachers). You mentionioned, in a disapproving manner, a tendancy to 'brush off evil as a lifestyle option or something we can excuse people for without repentance'. I think you're right. When you say 'without repentance' what does that mean? How do you and/or your church deal with such issues?

  13. I'll write more later. It's my wife's birthday tomorrow and we're going to her parents' home overnight... leaving town very soon now.

  14. No problem - whenever it works for you.

  15. I'm getting ready to preach tomorrow. I've been looking at Galatians 5:19-21 "the works of the flesh" that are sometimes brushed off by more sophisticated and liberal people... These things affect families as well as people's personal lives and their relationship with the Lord. Are these things increasing? No, probably not! Look at Genesis 6 and 8 - both before and after the flood the Lord diagnosed human beings as absolutely full of sin.

  16. Hoping to keep in touch, my Anonymous friend. You're in my thoughts and prayer tonight. I was out bicycling and rode by Temperance Corner and the former Apostolic church on Cty Rd 100 and thought of you this afternoon. The wind was against me as I pedaled that way but it was very quick and easy getting back to Cokato.

  17. Hello! I'm going back over blog posts, checking to see if links still function, etc., and thought I'd check to see if anything else had been written. Hope you and yours are well.

  18. There is a web site devoted to people who have left this movement for various reasons.

    Learning to Live Free: Life as a Former Laestadian

  19. For those who would be interested in situation in Finland and discussion inside of the Conservative laestadians (SRK Laestadians), might be interested also in a team blog Freepathways

    Some posts are in English, and you may get the Finnish texts translated via Google Translation. We have been happy to see that the blog has many subscribers in the States as well.

    Kind regards

    Team Freepathways

  20. I am from the IALC. I have left the church mostly, but occasionally relapse and claim that you are all damned, because I was programmed young and cannot escape the guilt. In most ways they are healthy people, but in order to preserve their "faith" they instruct eachother not to "follow your brain" as it is the devil's sinful flesh. A member can make NO argument, because arguing (or stating a thought even) is the result of THINKING which is EVIL. It's okay to think about math or language as part of our material lives, but we are instructed to never mix the material and spiritual. In cases like these, it is impossible to even question a myth when the person following the myth sees and hears everything through the eyes of the myth. Anything that is said is what they have learned to expect from "unbelievers". I, and many like me have lost our families, friends and entire social communities simply because we are not sure that EVERYONE outside a group of spiritually elite Finlanders who have the faith are DAMNED. I could recover if I could get over the guilt, but just like others like myself, we will always feel like we are the lost sheep whose conscience is seared with a hot Iron. I was led away from them by the Bible, which they say is because I was reading it with my brain. Apparently my "heart" failed at twisting every word into their message.

  21. Wow! I was amazed at how few comments there are when there have been over 21,000 visitors to this site. I feel this is not a very effective form of communicating because ideas and thoughts can be understood differently than intended. If a person is really looking for answers it would be better to visit with someone who you know really is a part of the group you are interested in. The comments on here could be from any random person. A Laestadian belives so simply .... all beliefs are based on God's Word ... we are pardoned sinners.

  22. To the person who commented this morning at 10:46 - If you or someone from the Laestadian or Apostolic Lutheran group would like to leave their contact information that would be most helpful!

  23. If you are still interested in learning about the history of these churches there is a great book that explains it perfectly. Its main focus is the split in 1973 but it also expains the earlier splits and the causes and differences in faith that led to them, it explains the history of laestadism. The book is called UNTO THIS DAY THE LORD HAS HELPED it is written by PEter l. Nevala im sure you can get it from the LLC website or from one of the local llc churches i do know there is one in cokato or one of the surrounding areas its about 300 something pages long and was

  24. The book also has written accounts, letters from both sides to and from the srk,it has pictures and it truly explains it perefectly, its not a book of accusations or any thing like that, its a study that is unbiased and tells the point of views of all sides and the reasons for the splits

  25. Thank you to whoever wrote the comments above very early last Saturday morning. I apologize for not posting them before today. I assume this is the website you mentioned? Could you check and see if that is correct?

  26. Thank you for your interesting observations in the summer services. The Conservative Laestadian revival movement (LLC in the USA)is one group of the nearly 20 different laestadian sub-movements. The Laestadian movement was founded by a Swedish priest Lars Levi laaestadius in the middle of 19th century in Lapland, Sweden (Scandinavia). From there the movement has moved with immigrants to America, too. Laestadianism is one of the most disagreed, contentious, and divided faith in Christianity. The different groups don't accept each others and they strictly exclude each others out of the salvation of Christ and heaven.

    In Finland the biggest revival movement pf the Lutheran Church of Finland is the Conservative Laestadians with about 80 000 members. The movement has been in serious troubles with police and church because of the crimes of child sexual abuse and mutual psychologic violence in the "care meetings" or "healing meetings". Also questions of women rights and the ban of the female priests has given problems inside of the Laestadian congregation and with the cooperation in the Lutheran church. See more e.g. :