When a new eldership was ordained at Berry’s Chapel November 19, 1995, none of them had ever served before. Every issue was new. They couldn’t ask, “How have you usually handled this?” to the older elders because there weren’t any. Read: Starting from Scratch
On April 27 the following year, the elders, five members, and I received a stinging anonymous letter. This eldership had never dealt with that. One of the elders called. He asked me to meet with them and discuss the best way to respond.
We met and discussed options. After a good discussion, looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each possibility, they decided to do nothing.
[tweetthis]How can you answer an anonymous letter? To whom would you address your reply?[/tweetthis]
They followed the plan, doing nothing. Threats and prophecies in the letter never materialized.
I have a similar, but a slightly modified rule. I don’t respond to anonymous letters…unless they have money in them.
About this time, in the early 1990’s, I was driving to speak in Lewisburg, Tennessee. Gail paged me. I called. She told me about an unusual letter we received. Inside an envelope was a postal money order for $200.00. A sticky note was attached with the message, “For all you do in Him,” signed, Anon E. Mous. There was a return address on the envelope: Anon E. Mouse, with a street address in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I’d never received this type of letter. I went to the bank with the money order and asked if it were worth anything. The teller replied, “It’s a postal money order. It’s worth $200.00.” I deposited it. I wrote a thank-you note to Anon E. Mous in Cincinnati, Ohio.
A few months went by. I received a similar letter with a $200.00 money order. This time it was from East Ellijay, Georgia. I wrote a thank-you note.
After some more months had passed, I received an envelope with a $100.00 money order from California. I wrote a thank-you note.
More time passed, and I received the fourth, and final, money order for $200.00 with a return address at David Lipscomb University. I wrote a thank-you note.
Of all the anonymous letters I’ve received, those are the only ones to whom I’ve written a response.
The general rule: anonymous letters aren’t a good way to communicate. If you want to write an anonymous letter without getting caught, let somebody else write it. People usually write the way they talk. The night of the discussion about how to handle anonymous letters, every elder and I came to the same conclusion about the letter we received. It sounded just like _____ ______ .
[tweetthis]The best way to deal with an unsigned letter is to do nothing.[/tweetthis]
However, if anyone reading this post would like me to respond to an anonymous letter: write a letter, place money in the envelope, give a return address, and I’ll write a thank-you note.
How have you dealt with anonymous communication?
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