First, a brief recap of my history. What it was like – I was raised as a half-hearted Lutheran mostly by my mother, who later voiced atheist beliefs. My father died when I was six. He had been raised Roman Catholic, but, according to my mother, was fairly anti-religious and, when he was hospitalized for alcoholism over and over, he refused to list a religion and refused to be visited by a priest. Hindsight being 20/20, I can easily see now that a priest could only have helped him. There was no more harm to be done than he did to himself, as he died from drinking at the young age of 33.
The other religious influence in my life was my grandparents, who combined different kinds of superstition. My grandmother was from Scotland, and she was raised in the Episcopal church. She was superstitious about all the clichéd things: umbrellas in the house, spilling salt, walking under a ladder. If your palm itched, you were getting money. If you dropped silverware, company was coming (gender based on cutlery).
My grandfather, who passed on the Lutheran religion to us, was from Germany. They were Lutheran in Germany but somehow, a long time ago, my grandfather’s mother’s sister was a Lutheran nun. Anyway his superstitions said, bottom line, that you had to belong to a church to go to heaven. When he failed to attend the church or give any money, he would get very insulted when they tried from time to time to get him off of their membership records. He had given the church two daughters to marry off, and he had made donations at that time. When my grandparents died, and the Lutheran pastor spoke at their services, I think it’s safe to say the pastors probably had no first-hand knowledge of the deceased.
To be continued.