78. Swedish Witch Trials & My Ancestors’ Religious Conversions

Swedish Witch Trials & My Ancestors' Religious Conversions The Earth Keepers Podcast with Amy Dempster from Following HawksSeason 3 of The Earth Keepers podcast continues as we discuss the Swedish Witch Trials and the circumstances that likely led to my ancestors' conversion first to Christianity and then to Mormonism.

In this season, I'm taking us on a journey to explore what happens when an entire society of people lose their connection to the only land they’ve ever known.

And I'll be exploring this question by following just one branch of my family tree back through the Mormon Pioneer days in Utah and Idaho and then back to my ancestors who left Sweden for America.

In this episode, I discuss what happened in the Swedish witch trials and how my ancestors were likely affected, how the rural farm villages were broken up, completely changing the Swedish way of life, and the reason that 1.2 million Swedes ended up leaving their country to immigrate to America.

If you've done any genealogy research into your own family origins, want to know more about how organized religion influenced your ancestor's beliefs, are curious about how plant medicine and shamanic ritual was integrated into early religion, and want some ideas about how you can reconnect with the land in a place and time your ancestors wouldn't recognize, you're going to love this season of The Earth Keepers podcast.

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Here's what I share in this episode:

  • A recent dream I had with my ancestors
  • Why I have records of my Swedish ancestors that go back to the 1600's
  • How the Church of Sweden became the national church
  • The story behind the beginning of the Swedish witch trials or “The Great Noise”
  • What circumstances led to a parish killing one fifth of their population as witches
  • How likely it was that my ancestors were interrogated or tortured
  • The events that led me to learn about the Swedish witch trials
  • What happened in Sweden between the end of the witch trials and the start of the mass immigration
  • How the Swedish government created mass upheaval in the traditional farming systems
  • The events that led to a population boom in Sweden in the late 1800s
  • The details surrounding my ancestor's departure from Sweden for the United States
  • What happened to the early Mormon missionaries in Sweden
  • Brigham Young's call for all Mormon's to gather in Zion
  • Questioning whether polygamy was happening in the Mormon church in Sweden
  • What Salt Lake City was like when my ancestors arrived
  • How Mormon missionaries were able to convince so many Europeans to convert to the religion

Links & Resources

Transcript for this episode

History of the Church of Sweden

Haxan (The Witch) movie on YouTube

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