No wonder Prairie became a prison.
It reminds them of home.
People think they are arguing about different brands of Lutheranism when they compare synods. That is why "WELS and Other Lutherans" is the most popular post on this blog.
The various Lutheran groups are forms of Pietism. ELCA is radical Pietism - the legalism of Antinomianism. Anyone who opposes gay marriage and gay ordination should be kicked out. ELCA has already publicly branded them as unworthy of the name.
The key agenda item for Pietism is shunning, not doctrine. Shunning comes from the Mennonites, whose discipline means that a shunned person becomes invisible and cannot do anything with the elect. Nor will they even do business with him. Better to be a non-Mennonite than a shunned Mennonite.
Lutherans in America do not give a hoot about sound doctrine. If they did, their seminary faculties would be laughed off the stage at graduation. US Lutherans are devoted to the cult of shunning.
All the so-called fellowship rules among the conservatives are guidance for shunning. One family had questions about the dreadful Tiefel Christian Worship book. They were excommunicated for thought-crimes against the proposed hymnal. That is shunning at its best.
WELS and Missouri are just about the same in Pietistic doctrine, just as devoted to straying. Both must shun the other. Notice that WELS allowed the Leonard Sweet conference, Martin Marty lectures, and Archbishop Weakland gay lectures, but they banned the LCMS Hunter-Werning conference hosted by WELS Shrinkers. One could argue that Sweet is many times worse than Hunter or Werning, who are both copycats from Fuller, but marginal Lutherans. Even more could be said about publicly sponsoring the archfiend Weakland, who represented the worst in Romanism. But that is not the point. Missouri raises hackles that the others cannot.
The ELS and WELS shun each other, in spite of their pious statements otherwise.
Shunning--like voodoo--only works when someone takes it seriously. For instance, one WELS seminary professor made a big point of looking through me and avoiding eye contact. At my next opportunity, I went to him, shook his hand, and greeted him by name. He responded like a Hasidic rabbi touched by a Muslim (unclean! unclean!).
Here is a doctrinal debate in the synods:
Innocent - "This is false doctrine."
Synod Drone - "You are a bad person."
Innocent's Friend - "Innocent has some questions."
Synod Drone - "You are a bad person for listening to him."