Year of Sundays

Year of Sundays

Today’s Entertainment: Finnish Bunheads*

Thanks to a comment and a few e-mails with “Former Bunhead” (who wishes to remain anonymous, but who “left the Old Aps when [she] was 18 (as soon as [she] could without taking to the streets) and has spent the decades since trying to recover), I learned that “Clark County, is home to the largest concentration of Laestadians (aka “bunheads”) outside of Finland.” So today we’re visiting the Old Apastolic Lutheran Church in Brush Prairie.

I have no idea what this religion is all about with the exception of knowing that they have dozens of children. My only exposure to them has been via an Apostolic Lutheran construction worker who was 25 years old and already had seven children. I remember him telling me how sad it was that his wife had to have a hysterectomy because they wanted to have at least five more. They lived in a double wide.

I’ve been advised to dress as shockingly sexy as possible, so there’s that too.

*Bunhead is not my word! I borrowed it from my lovely anonymous commenter.

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victim of OFALC abuse

posted February 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

The crucial story to investigate is sexual abuse within the Old Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church and most of its spin offs. It’s rampant, it’s continuously “forgiven” and most of the men/young boys are pedophiles.

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Joel Gunz

posted October 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Hi Neighbor! We do plan on going to the OLD APOSTOLIC! watch this space for details. 😉

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posted October 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Do you plan on attending the OLD APOSTOLIC CHURCH in Brush Prairie and reporting on it?
This blog is about the HOCKINSON APOSTOLIC LUTHERAN CHURCH in Hockinson Washington. I have lived here for more than 40 years and were for the most part the only family on our street that did not go to church. The Hockinson and the Vancouver Apostolic Lutheran Church families were always friendly and great neighbors. We attended the churches for Christmas programs and funerals and had the same reaction as you did. We were an unusual sight to them.

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posted June 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I come from a completely different angle about apostolic lutherans. You see my daughter married one. I had my concerns but her husband to be assured me that he didn’t expect her to convert, adopt their rituals, etc. however, seven years later, the disapproval of his parents toward my daughter have definitely influenced him and they are now separated ((seven years of marriage, 4 kids, and a miscarriage and only 27) I could go on and on as to why I am opposed to their teachings, however, most people know what they aspire to. What I haven’t heard mentioned is this…They do not like their children to marry outside of their faith, however, if you do the math, there are only about 7000 apostolic lutherans in the United states. The church started small and was made up of fins (finnish). It is still made of up Fins and if they are not marrying outside of the church, aren’t they having to marry relatives. It makes me wonder about inbreeding.

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posted March 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

The address to the church you thought you were at 16603 NE 142nd Ave, Brush Prairie, WA 98606 or 32320 NE Lewisville Hwy Battle Ground, WA 98604 both are Old Apostolic Lutheran Church’s. You should visit one of them. I think it will be a total different experience.

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Amanda P. Westmont

posted March 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Right you are, Angela. We were shocked by how modern the service was!

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Amanda P. Westmont

posted March 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Ha! I wore the same dress I’ve worn nearly every Sunday. The one in the masthead photo.

Is bunheads derogatory? I didn’t think so…

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Amanda P. Westmont

posted March 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Val, Let’s just say there were LOTS of children there. They must have to get married that young just so their uteri work long enough to have the full dozen.

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posted March 27, 2011 at 9:25 pm

The church in Brush Prairie actually isn’t and Old Ap. church, but just an Apostolic Lutheran Church. They are actually two different churches. Going to an Old Ap. church is a completely different experience.

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posted March 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Ooh, I am so excited to read how it went! I want to hear what it’s like on the inside. It’s fascinating to get inside that kind of hive mind.

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posted March 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm

So, you claim that you have the utmost respect for all these churches and religions and that you are on some sort of spiritual journey yada, yada… That’s not what I see here. Calling these people names (“bun heads”) and disrespecting their beliefs of modesty by making a point to crash their services dressed “as shockingly sexy as possible” just screams respect for these people and their beliefs doesn’t it? Obviously you have no intention to become a member since your core beliefs are the polar opposite of theirs. So to go dressed provocatively and to call them names is really wrong.

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posted March 27, 2011 at 11:01 am

Why the ” * “…after bunheads?

I went to high school in Battle Ground, where there is a high density of Apostolic Lutherans. It was very interesting to me to watch how the girls went thru the motions with school, most did not do sports or activities, knowing I guess that all they needed to do was finish high school so they could get married and be baby factories.

The boys were humored, silently encouraged to get out of their system the things boys do when they are randy teenagers…as long as it was with non-Apostolic girls. I guess being a virgin is only important if you’re in possession of a vagina.

That being said, I do admire their community. They have a broad network of friends and family to draw from. The children tend to be well behaved.

I’ve waxed Apostolic girls right before their weddings. And by “girls” I mean girls….18 year olds that look at their upcoming nuptials as the fulfillment of their birthright; a husband, family. I ask if they plan to go on to college and often I get a strange look, like the thought never even dawned on them before. And I think to myself that these 18 yr old girls are going off to marry 20 yr old BOYS. My mind aches trying to wrap its self around that thought….but who am I to judge. In fact, I am a bit in awe of the faith they have that this is the right path for them.

I ask one how many people were invited to the wedding. She said “we invited 200, but expect close to 700″. OMG! My mind started doing the math for the catering alone…then it dawned on me that there wouldn’t be alcohol, so I cut the number in half, but still! I asked…”How do you feed that many people?” So evidently everyone is invited to the wedding…she invited me…and genuinely meant it. So the whole church shows up. A group of women is charged with cooking a simple lunch for the masses, which is facilitated by the church kitchen (which are awesome btw…church kitchens are always awesome, something cool about cooking for Christ.) The ceremony is short, only about 15 mins and then everyone goes and eats! The wedding party sits together and friends serve them their meal while everyone else goes thru the buffet. Which makes total sense to me. None of this “I paid for all this food and all I got was a left over meatball and some wilted caesar salad”. Nope, they don’t even have to go thru the line…

Anyway…I hope you enjoy your experience…Ask me about the gay Apostolic I waxed once….

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