The Protestant Reformation was introduced into the Nordic kingdoms in the middle of the sixteenth century. Lutheranism became the state-bearing religion in these countries, and has remained so, although the tight connections between church and state have been loosened in Sweden and Norway now, at the turn of the third millennium. 1 The Lutheran faith brought about, inter alia, a significant break in the attitudes toward childbearing and family life. The new ideals, communicated in legislation, education, and preaching, came to have a massive normative impact on the Nordic societies for at least three centuries. During this long period, the Lutheran family ethos was embodied in the figure of the royally appointed parish clergyman and his family, whose task it was to be an authoritative role model for the laity.