Representatives of all religious communities replied to the HS that coercion or coercion into marriage was not permitted in the Community.
Eleven a Finn told HS about his experiences of pressuring marriage in a religious community.
Read more: Henna and Juhan punished for premarital sex – People living in Finnish religious communities tell how they have been pressured to marry young and what has followed
Interviewees said they experienced strong and distressing community pressure in their twenties to get married as soon as possible after starting dating. Some also said that religious community leaders had ordered them to marry.
These are past and present members of the Mormon Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Old Believers, and the Pentecostal movement.
Representatives of all religious communities replied to the HS that coercion or coercion into marriage is not allowed in the community, but each member of a religious community must be allowed to choose the time and manner of marriage.
The Mormon Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Orthodox Lestadian community denied that such pressure or coercion was taking place.
The Pentecostal Church, on the other hand, was told that there have been situations in the Pentecostal movement in recent decades where members have been pressured to marry.
HS: n the story was about a 30-year-old case in which a young Mormon couple confessed to a stake president that they had premarital sex. The stake president, a high-ranking leader of the Church, ordered the couple to marry two weeks later.
HS asked the communications director of the Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From Timo Koponen, whether the situation has been acted upon in accordance with the official line of the Church. Koponen replied by e-mail.
“It hasn’t been followed as directed, even in the 80s. A clearly arbitrary way or interpretation, either by giving or receiving instructions, ”Koponen writes.
HS also asked how to act in a church if a community member engages in premarital sex and confesses his or her actions to a community member or a church representative.
“There is no standard formula for how to proceed. The representative of the church is urged to deal with those who have confessed the matter tactfully and they are urged to avoid repeating the mistake, ”Koponen writes.
Koponen also says that there are no special rules for dating, but emphasizes that sex is considered to belong only to marriage.
Mormon Church on their own website however, instruct socializing young people, for example, to avoid spending time dating two people, spending the night together and passionately kissing. Socializing is reminded to always aim for marriage.
The website also states that the so-called “sex sins” are more serious than any other sins, with the exception of murder and denial of the Holy Spirit.
Jehovah spokesperson for witnesses Jukka Palonen writes by e-mail that the individual cases described in the article are difficult to comment on.
“The idea that there are some kind of“ spiritual cops ”in our congregations to monitor the privacy of parishioners is not true. On the other hand, every Jehovah’s Witness acknowledges his or her responsibility to live up to the high standards of morality set forth above. ”
“In the event that one does not wish to do so, one would, of course, have to decide whether the person is willing and able to continue to be a Jehovah’s Witness.”
Such a moral norm is, for example, that sex belongs only to marriage.
Palonen does not directly answer the question of what happens if it becomes apparent that a Jehovah’s Witness has had premarital sex.
“However, it is good to note that no one is separated from the congregation automatically or on light grounds,” Palonen writes.
Pentecostal Church executive director Esko Matikainen according to the experiences of pressure or coercion on marriage described in the article are not in accordance with the teachings of the Pentecostal Church.
“However, this is not a strange thing to me, such cases have unfortunately been encountered in the Pentecostal movement, especially in the past decades,” Matikainen says by phone.
Matikainen also reminds that there are Pentecostal communities and congregations in Finland that do not operate directly under the Pentecostal Church.
According to him, especially over such communities, over the years, various problems have emerged – including pressure on marriage. According to him, efforts have been made to address the situation as much as possible.
The Pentecostal movement means the entire network of Pentecostal churches. The Pentecostal Church, on the other hand, is the official part of the Pentecostal movement.
Matikainen thinks that the Pentecostal Discipleship School mentioned in the article has been a private community with no direct connection to the Pentecostal Church.
According to Matikainen, the Pentecostal Church does not teach that a socializing couple should get married as soon as possible. Even in Pentecostal Church, it is thought that sex only belongs to marriage.
If a church member admits to the pastor, for example, that he or she had premarital sex, there will be a confidential pastoral discussion with the person, Matikainen says. According to Matikainen, however, no pressure should be put on marriage.
“Socializing is naturally part of human life and socializing is also encouraged. Sex is not part of dating. Socializing couples are not patted to get married quickly on the part of the community, ”says Matikainen.
An old-fashioned Lestadian community communications manager Harri Vähäjylkkä states by e – mail that there is no guidance in the religious community on the time of socializing or the time of marriage.
Socializing is also seen in old-fashioned lestadianism aimed at marriage.
“Getting married is, of course, a private matter for each couple. Some marry at the end of a shorter date, others at the end of a longer date. According to the teaching of the Bible, sex belongs to marriage, ”Vähäjylkkä writes.
HS also asked Vähäjylkä how to act in the community if a socializing couple admits to having premarital sex.
“In such a situation, man feels that he has violated God’s will, that is, he has sinned. The example of Jesus teaches to deal graciously with the fallen. When confronted with a man who had committed adultery, Jesus did not condemn this man, but pardoned him. However, Jesus exhorted this person not to sin any more. ”
“From the community’s point of view, it is not a matter of controlling or observing others, but of encouraging living according to God’s word,” Vähäjylkkä writes.