Anna Johansdotter Norbäck
Anna Johansdotter Norbäck (1804 – 3 January 1879), also known as Mor Anna (Mother Anna) and Annamora, was a Swedish religious leader, the founder and leader of the religious movement Annaniterna (The Annanites), who was named after her; however, they referred to themselves as the Evangelic-Lutheran Free Church. The movement was founded in Ångermanland in the 1830s, was separated from the Swedish church in 1854 and lasted until the late 19th-century.
Annamora was born to boatswain Johan Norbäck in Norrvästansjö village in Ångermanland, and worked as a domestic before her marriage to the torpare Kristoffer Kristoffersson in 1838, and settled with him in Nordanås village. She had no children.
Annamora is described as a physically robust and dominant woman with a powerful and melodic voice. In about 1834, she had a religious crisis and started to preach, eventually travelling far from her base in Nordanås. She was a believer in Biblical infallibility and spoke in favor of literary belief in the words of the Bible, in combination with equally literary belief in the words of Luther, in particular the Postil of Luther. As such, she was opposed to the revised Luther's Small Catechism of 1810, the Agenda (liturgy) of 1811 and the Swedish Book of Psalms of 1819, and criticized the church of the state for practicing them.
She was a successful preacher who gathered her own congregation of followers, lead their sermons herself, and met opposing views with hostility. She was a strict authoritarian who controlled the lives of her followers in detail, and her approval was necessary if anyone of them wished to marry. In 1854, her congregation was formally excluded from the state church and became officially autonomous. Annamora did not like children, excluded them from participating in the religious practices and normally preferred them not to be seen, and showed no interest in the school of her congregation; this is considered to have been a reason to why her movement remained a one generation-congregation, which did not last long after her death.
Annamora had a stroke in 1877, which partially deprived her of her ability to speak, and died in 1879.
- Svensk Uppslagsbok, 2:a utgåvan 1947, band 2, s. 1105[permanent dead link]
- ”Annaniter”. Nationalencyklopedin. Höganäs: Bokförlaget Bra Böcker AB. 2000. ISBN 91-7133-749-0
- Strindberg, J. (1926). Annaniterna i norra Ångermanland. Örnsköldsvik: Ågrens Boktryckeri