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Jansson, Eric (19 December 1808–13 May 1850), founder of the Janssonist religious sect and Bishop Hill utopian community, was born in Biskopskulla, Sweden, the son of Johannes Mattson, a landowner, and Sara Ersdotter. Jansson was born into and raised as a member of the Swedish Lutheran church. At age twenty-two, however, Jansson felt a personal call from God and was miraculously relieved of recurring bouts of rheumatism. Because his healing had occurred without the benefit of clergy, Jansson indicted the state church. “It dawned on me,” he noted, “that I had been deceived in the faith which I had received from the so-called evangelical Lutheran teaching,” and he concluded that “all the preachers and teachers were blind leaders” (quoted in Elmen, p. 3). These ideas festered within Jansson over the next decade as he became a ...