The informant is 77 years old. She was born in Minnesota and is of Swedish and Finnish decent. She was raised as a Lutheran but converted to Catholicism when she got married.
I interviewed the informant during Easter Brunch. She gave me a piece of family folk speech:
“‘No one goes to heaven except a Finnish Lutheran.’” This was something my grandmother used to say all the time. Eventually my mother and my aunt picked it up, too—my aunt especially. She used to tell me this all the time. She really believed that Finnish Lutherans were the only ones to go to heaven so when I converted to Catholicism, this was a big issue for everyone. My aunt thought I had damned myself! I never really believed that kind of stuff, but I think it was such a big deal in the family because they really identified themselves as Finnish Lutherans. They considered themselves a part of that close-knit community and took religion very seriously.”
This is a really interesting piece of folk speech, particularly because it appears that the informant’s family really did believe it and placed a lot of faith in it. Even though my informant didn’t necessarily believe in it herself, she still felt the effects of the belief when she converted to Catholicism. While she didn’t mention this specifically, this piece of folklore could also have been her family’s way of instilling a type of fear in the children, trying to get them to be good and to abide by religious doctrine.