I recently left a message for friends of my parents. They go way back in the FALC about 50 years. I wanted to know how they came to know them and how they were so close in church and in their social lives and not "know" about my father Ray Huhta.
My father worked as a logger with church members. He also worked with church ministers. They went deer hunting together. He blended right in. They spoke Finnish together. It was a mans world.
I am still waiting for her to call me back.
I am also the one who heard about sexual abuse still happening in the FALC recently and then I started making phone calls. I did not "know" anybody in Cokato, Zion, Minneapolis and have left the Copper Country and the FALC about 28 years ago.
I let this all flow organically. I had no other "mission" and my only concern was to investigate and be a "voice" for someone like me who had been sexually abused. I was familiar with some of the last names. I did not always have a face with a name. I did find a name of a young boy and others.
I called people who were blood relatives and ministers. I called and sent emails and letters to anybody who would listen to me. I did not question their "faith" and I did not "doubt" their stories. Victims came forward. I kept talking to the people who were willing to talk.
Nobody apologized from within the FALC organization for not doing anything for my family. We had zero value to them. Nobody went to the authorities when all 14 of us Huhta's were growing up. Victims told my mother. Neighbors told my mother. She went to church. He kept on molesting. It went on for generations. Victims told their parents. Their parents did nothing. Victims told the main minister in Calumet. He did a meek attempt at "confronting" my father. My mother did not ask what the minister came to "visit" about. He never went to the authorities. He got "involved" when it became personal to him. And that was years later. And it was not for my family.
I was met with "indifference" from the blood relatives and the FALC Chairman of the Board said he will not investigate their own. Keep in mind most of these people have known me and my family since I was born. They watched our family come in and out of Sunday School, Bible Class and Church.
Year after Year.
They also "blessed" my "parents" year after year. I too, was "blessed" with these kind people who did nothing. Said nothing. Still say nothing. I was stunned at the lack of "concern" from the people who could make a difference within the FALC.
Stunned at the reaction when I asked about the welfare of their grandson. Stunned at the reaction from within the FALC. Stunned that the list of pedophiles grew and grew. Stunned at the amount of damage that had been going on for years. Family trees had names going back for generations that were "known" abusers. New ones kept popping up. Old ones had died and had left a wake of devastation buried after them.
Never arrested. Never investigated.
Allowed to roam the pews and basements of the FALC. Allowed to preach and to have access to children. Allowed to do whatever they wanted to.
Sometimes I wonder if this is really happening. Sometimes I wonder if this is all a bad dream. I keep waiting for the people I thought I knew as a kid to wake up and listen. Sometimes I just wonder. Sometimes.
I wonder about the little boy in Cokato. I wonder if he is scared shit less like I was when I was molested. I wonder if he is safe. I wonder if he cries at night hoping somebody will "guess" what is wrong. I wonder if I am wrong. I hope I am. My gut instinct says I am not. Too much has been said to me. I cannot pretend to pretend that all is well. Other victims have told me they were molested by the same man. I want to believe he was somehow spared. It never works out like that in my experience. They spare nobody given the chance to abuse.
I also wonder how many other victims there are still in their organization. I wonder if they will get help. I wonder if anybody believes them. I wonder if they are left with the burden of an "untold" story. Forgiven and forgotten.
I wonder how the ones who say they will do "something" when and if they hear about it. I wonder how I can find so much information in so little time with minimal effort. I wonder why they cannot find it themselves. I wonder why when they hear of the abuse it is called a "rumor". I wonder.
I am starting to see "comments" on the Ex-toots Blog https://extoots.blogspot.com/ and others. They sound the same as the voices on the line and in emails. They sound like the grandparents. Their words fall out and lie flat. Empty.
They protect and defend. They talk and they talk. On a blog that goes nowhere. To people who have already left their church. To people who have been deeply affected by the sexual abuse. They comment anonomously mostly.
They abuse with their words. Perhaps they don't mean it. My father didn't mean it either. He said he couldn't help it. Maybe they cannot help it either. I wonder how people who abuse can have so many people "talking" for them. My father never said anything. He just kept asking for a "blessing" and they kept talking about their "faith".
I wish I was bitter. I wish I didn't care about any of this. I wish it was really about their "faith". Then I could just walk away. Like I did many years ago. Believing it was just bad fate for our screwed up family and me. But its not. It's personal.
It gets personal when you hear of the sexual abuse of children. Anywhere. It gets personal when you hear details so horrid that I could not even begin to make it up. It gets personal when you get to know the walk of the victims. It gets personal when you feel and sense the injustice of it all. It just does.
So you can question me. Question my past. Friend me on Facebook. Call me. Read my blog. It's all there for you to pull apart. Say what you need to say. Call me names. I kinda like that. Ask me what I now know. Ask a question. Any question. I hope that you really care about this issue and bring this to people that can do something about it. Your members have tried the Board. They don't know what to do either. Literally. They are lost too. They will not "confront" anybody.
Anywhere. They are scared. And have no tools or training.
Please do it.
For a kid.
Who only wanted for somebody to notice.
That I was not "normal".
Its your life.
You will live to know what I am saying is true.
I wish it wasn't.
For your sake.
Carl A. Huhta