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As Dr. Phil says, "People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing,"

Thank you for this post. I had wondered about the same thing regarding their blogs & decided if they want control of who reads them then they are not worth my attention.

It takes great courage to be open about abuse & many people don't want to hear about it because their conscience may start to trouble them. Or, their rose colored glasses may no longer shield the ugliness that comes with all forms of abuse and control. People controlled by religion and one group's interpretation of it always fear outsiders or anything different from their own limited experience. It's why strict rules and distinctions are made to distinguish the "faithful" from sinners. It's also why sinners within the so-called "faithful" can continue their abuse. Exposing sinners (abusers) within the FALC is viewed as an attack on the entire church while the real culprit is left to continue his/her abuse. It's evident even in the way the law dealt with your father. Instead of him serving a sentence locally, despite what the victim's family asked for, he was banned to another area where he can continue his behavior. And, the local FALC can continue continue on as usual with the abuser out of sight. Unfortunately, he is not out of mind as the other half of that old saying goes.

I applaud your courage and continued sharing of your journey. I'm sure there are plenty of people who never comment but who have been helped by your blog.

I too grew up in the 1st Apostolic Lutheran Church. I, however, never once heard of abuse among any families from this church, and I know quite a number of people from the church. Sexual abuse is considered highly taboo within this church and culture; in fact, having sexual relations outside of marriage or before marriage is taboo as well. It is quite unfortunate that you experienced this from your own father. This was indeed a rare, abnormal occurrence. However, linking your perverse familial abuse with the church is really unfair and defamatory, as this personal experience of yours shows up when you Google the First Apostolic Lutheran Church. If you had been abused by other members within the church, it would be fair to defame the church; however, it seems you only have your father to blame.

While I appreciate your viewpoint, I am not coloring the whole religion based upon my father; but rather from the conversations I have had with many many victims. They come from so many different family trees, you would be quite shocked.

It is not a rare and abnormal occurrence within the church. What is more rare is for there NOT to be abuse.

The victims I have spoken to come from our local area, Minnesota and Zion Illinois. I have also spoken to many members of splits from the church such as The Old Apostolic church, and it too has a lot of abuse.

While it may be taboo, it doesn't stop it from happening.

I too, at one time, thought it was only my family. Only to find out, bit by bit, it was so far spread, it was completely overwhelming. It is rapidly spreading exponentially.

If only the members within the church would be a bit more concerned and work towards exposing the abuse and work less in trying to keep up the 'reputation of being a culture where it is a rare and abnormal occurrence, the children of the next generation may have a chance.

I am happy that if you google, the church, it sends you to a blog about the abuse. That is the truth that lies within its pews.

Oh, and Rim. While you say, "you have never heard of abuse among the families" I am here to say just that. Now, you can no longer say, "You haven't heard."

I am a young member of the FALC and your account of abuse is the first I have ever heard of within the FALC. I'm curious if your father is still part of the FALC. I'm a bit confused on how your relating your abuse to the FALC. What I can come up with is that you think behind the "walls" of the FALC a "sick disease is lurking". I'm assuming you mean abuse. You said in your post "A voice in the silence...speaking up about the abuse and the FALC". You keep mentioning this so called abuse going on rampantly within the "walls" of the FALC but you fail to mention anything about it beside your very brief statement about you which I am very sorry for. You talk a lot about Jim and Judy's blog and why they would dare have a private blog and no comments section. First off I don't know if this is true I have never visited these blogs but of course they are private. Can you imagine the comments that would be made on them if they were open. It actually sounds to me like you are nosy and want to get a peek into Judy's blog and behind the "walls" of the FALC. We both know everyone is welcome to come through the "walls" and join us.

Jim only had a few posts. Judy's was erased and ended. She still has a general blog, but it isn't about healing from abuse or even commenting on it. So, they are no longer relevant to the conversation of blogs, abuse and the FALC.

My blog is about my experience and my knowledge is based on conversations I have had with many other members (EX-members) of the FALC.

My father passed away.

How can there be a conversation if only one side is allowed to speak. The reason I keep mine open, IS i do want to hear from others.

Your experience "Anonymous" is yours. I am not even eager to speak with anonymous folks.
I much prefer to know who I am speaking to. Your failure to show your face, makes your comment less interesting.

I like transparency.

I do understand, that most are unwilling, unaware, or even uninterested in the darker side of a strict religion and the effects of unhealed abuses. Most are only interested in religion as being the end game of Heaven. Not the cost of what the structure leaves upon the lives of those who try and live under it.

The reason, in my opinion, that abuse is so rampant in the church is its inability to look at it. Even in your comment, you are more concerned about the blogs than the nature of the blogs.

You can't afford to believe that abuse is rampant. For your avenue to heaven then will be closed.

Interestingly, I most hear voices defending the church and the LACK of abuse.
When, my experiences are of victims sharing their stories.

I however, know that most will not share to those who are unwilling to listen to their 'church' religion be smeared.

You seem to just keep throwing out this word abuse. So tell me because apparently you know all about while I haven't heard of a single account.

Again, you are faceless to me. Your account means nothing without a face. What you are saying to me, is all who have shared are meaningless, because you yourself with your own ears and perhaps eyes haven't seen it. Is it then only true, IF it is true for you.

An interesting view of reality.

I'm a young male there is nothing more you need to know about me. I have no idea who you are, you are also faceless to me. The only reason I even visited and commented on this blog is because recently I wanted to call in and listen to church on the phone so I googled first apostolic lutheran church looking for a phone number and this was the second website that showed up so I visited it. It saddened me to see someone saying to my knowledge false accusation's about my faith. Your account with abuse is still the only one I have heard of. Was your's brushed under the rug because I would have never heard of it if it were not from this blog? I guess I will ask around to see if anyone else knew about your account and the infinite amount of other accounts of abuse apparebtly happeing constantly right under my nose behind these so called "walls" which is actually a open door. Because you won't tell me. I don't worship the church or the people in it. I follow the faith that I belive in that lives within the church that so many others even people who had no relation to others within the church or "outsiders" as Suzanne called them above do. We're still humans you will still always be let down by somthing or someone.

I heard on a podcast today, by the Professor who did the Prison Experiments at Stanford in the 60's. That if there isn't more than one shouting out what is wrong, most will see the One as fanatical.

Sadly, while I have heard many stories, few (if any) will stand with me speaking up about the abuse in the church.

Speak to the Mission Board Members in Calumet. Start with Carl Torola.

My father was arrested and tried in Houghton County.

What isn't said out loud, is real, whether you believe or not believe.

Oh, and I also heard, on the same podcast, that those who want to remain anonymous, don't want to be responsible for their actions/or non actions. Makes sense to me.

I just never have understood the disempowered stance of anonymous.

Dear Imperfect Lady,

I would be careful to use the First Apostolic Lutheran Church as a scapegoat for your father's crimes. Are you familiar with libel laws in this country? If you publish something defamatory, it's considered libel. I would hesitate to link the FALC to abuse you personally endured by your own father. You refer to cases by deviant individuals who happened to belong to the church-- this is NOT a case of priests or leaders committing crimes against members or children.

Is Bill Cosby being held accountable for the crimes he committed or is the church he attended at fault? Obviously, it would be absurd to blame his church for his crimes--or to in any way insinuate that they are responsible because they couldn't stop him.

Since the vast majority of FALC members may never see the libel you posted about them online, I feel compelled to defend this defenseless group of mainly good, honest people. When you link their group to your own sexual abuse, this is an unfair assault on their beliefs, way of life, and character. In no way do they advocate or protect this sort of deviant behavior.

Sure, freedom of speech is a blessing and it is good you speak out. But please, out the abusers, even out them by name rather than the innocent organization in which they happen to belong.

Please seriously consider removing the libel and defamation from your blog or you will add fuel to my fire. I feel the need to further defend this innocent organization--perhaps in court.

RIM, I am not even sure where to start; but perhaps contact David Taivalkoski, the preacher in Calumet. For, he has from the pulpit, preached about sexual abuse within the church.

I am sorry that my blog about abuse within the church members is upsetting to you. It is not my intent to upset; but rather to shed light upon a troubling issue.

Also, contact Carl Torola a mission board member. He may offer you some insights.

And, Please begin a fact finding mission. Start the conversations to prove me wrong. I would love there to be a formal investigation upon how the mandating reporters are not reporting. For Churches are like schools, if they hear of such abusers, they need to report to the laws of the land, and not just 'deal' in house.

Further, I am saying there is abuse with in the church community or FALC. I know this first hand....my own father didn't just abuse his daughters, but other little girls in the neighborhood, who the detective spoke to. These are in the records. These are church families.

Outing the members has been done. I have given many names to the Houghton County Detectives office. As for the innocence of the church, it is only as innocent as its members. That is the way of it. Not my rules.

I can't in truth say, that the church was helpful in my case of abuse. The detective was appalled by how many knew and did nothing.

In order to file a case of defamation, does it not have to be lies?
A formal investigation would be helpful in exposing much.

You speak for the majority and you are one.
Again, I apologize.

Dear Imperfect Lady,

I see you have read my post, but you refuse to listen to my message. The truth is often difficult to digest. What I say is true: Linking the 1st Apostolic Lutheran church to your father's crimes is indeed unfair and defamatory.

It would be right and fair for you to remove the church's name from your blog as the church had nothing to do with the abuse you endured by your father. Perhaps you fear doing so would make your blog less visible online? Maybe so, but isn't it more important to do what's right?

Because there's so little information online about the FALC, your blog posting regarding the church and sexual abuse is unduly prominent. It gives the impression to anyone who Googles the church that it's a haven for pedophilia or that sexual abuse is rampant "within your hallowed walls". Perhaps because it happened to you, it feels rampant to you. However, yours is the experience of a rare few.

I don't see that you have publicly outed any of the perpetrators on your blog; you have only publicly damaged this church. Since the church is not responsible for the perpetrator's crimes, this is libel. This falls under the category of defamation and libel which are: "Publishing or broadcasting said false statements as fact; allegations or imputations injurious to another; acts of malice."

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Report Sexual Abuse

Books, signposts along the way.

  • Annie Rogers: A Shining Affliction: A Story of Harm and Healing in Psychotherapy
  • Elizabeth Gilbert: Big Magic - Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • Brene Brown: Daring Greatly
  • Martha Beck: Leaving the Saints
  • Glennon Doyle Melton: Love Warrior
  • Byron Katie: Loving What Is
  • Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor: My Stroke Of Insight
  • Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant: Option B - Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
  • Brene Brown: Rising Strong
  • Patrick J. Carnes Ph.D: The Betrayal Bond
  • Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.: The Body Keeps Score
  • Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.: The Body Keeps Score - Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
  • Alice Miller: The Body Never Lies
  • Dr. Shefalie Tsabary: The Conscious Parent
  • Laura Landgraf: The Fifth Sister- From Victim to Victor
  • Brene Brown: The Gifts of Imperfection
  • Christina Enevoldsen: The Rescued Soul - A writing journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal
  • Annie Rogers: The Unsayable: The hidden language of trauma
  • Steven Pressfield: The War of Art
  • Alice Miller: Thou Shalt Not Be Aware
  • Rythea Lee: Trauma into Truth - Gutsy Healing and Why Its Worth It
  • Iyanla Vanzant: Trust
  • Rob Bell: Velvet Elvis
  • Norah Vincent: Voluntary Madness- Lost and Found in the Mental Healthcare System
  • Terry L. Wise: Waking Up: Climbing through the Darkness
  • Dr. Karyl McBride: Will I Ever Be Good Enough
  • Shonda Rhimes: Year of Yes


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