I stumbled across this fascinating article about Mor Greta, a cousin and contemporary of Lars Levi Laestadius. It helps contextualize the distrust of authority in the North.
Margareta Sophia better known as "Mor Greta" (1804-1883) . . . took part in the movement against the Swedish state church. Mor Greta and the group the “New Readers” protested against usage of the new church books that were introduced in 1819. These manuals gave the priests monopoly on preaching and other church ceremonies, something that was very impractical when emergency baptism was sometimes needed in the north of Sweden and the priest could be miles away. Those who did not obey the law were persecuted; and if it was repeated they were banished for two years.
Mor Greta and the New Readers protested against that . . . were punished, and the police force tried to imprison them. Mor Greta, being a woman, was not imprisoned, but taken to Umeå hospital for the insane as punishment. But the doctor at the hospital did not find anything wrong with her, refused to hospitalize her, and released her immediately.
How did a woman in the north of Sweden dare to oppose the powerful Swedish state church in the 1830s?
One explanation is that Mor Greta and Nils had eleven children, but five died before the age of one. That must have been a trauma and the family had need for emergency baptism. Before they had been able to do that without a priest present, but after the new churchbooks, that became illegal. The families had to take the newborn from the mother and go (by ski in winter) 10 kilometers to the church and then back for the baptism. Not many newborns survived those journeys.Read the rest of the article here, and another, in Swedish, here.
A personal note: according to geni.com, Mor Greta is my "third cousin once removed's husband's first cousin twice removed" and it would not surprise me to find a genetic connection as well. I am deeply moved by her suffering, and the suffering of all our foremothers for whom childbearing, often begun in adolescence, was such a relentless, painful burden, so frequently ending in death. Five babies? Had it been me, I'm sure I would have lost my mind.