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by W. John Walsh
As the All about Mormons web site has continued to attract more and more visitors, we have received a corresponding increase in mail. Unfortunately, as much as we would like, it has become impossible for us to engage in correspondence with every person who writes to us. We simply don't have enough hours in the day. Therefore, we have standard replies to some of the more common comments that we receive below:
I wrote you several months ago. How come you haven't answered my letter? Doesn't your lack of response prove that I'm right and you are wrong?
We are sorry you did not get a response. You should be aware that All About Mormons is just a hobby for us. I hold a full-time job to support my family. I am in graduate school full-time pursuing a doctorate degree. In addition, we have two small children that we are trying to raise. I am sure that you can see that it would be ludicrous for every single person who writes us to expect an immediate response to their query. Our in-box rarely goes below a thousand letters and we do our best to process them as we are able.
If it has been considerable time since you wrote to us, then you might ponder possible reasons that you have not received a reply. If your letter was disrespectful, threatening, or prejudiced, then it probably went right into the trash can since we typically don't answer those type of letters. Jesus taught us that some people are not worthy of a response:
"And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long [season], because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing." (The Holy Bible, Luke Luke 23:7-9)
"And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly." (The Holy Bible, Matthew 27:11-14)
If your letter asked a really obscure question that requires research, then it might be some time before you receive an answer. On the All About Mormons web site, we have always tried to quote authoritative sources when explaining the teachings of the Church. Therefore, we try not to give an answer before we have adequate documentation available. If your question requires us to locate some reference hidden in a document from the 1800's, you will not receive a reply as quickly as someone who just wanted to know basic Latter-day Saint teachings about a subject.
You might ask yourself exactly what you asked. Were you trying to solicit a quick question or engage in a lengthy dialogue? As noted above, we have very severe restraints on our time. If a letter is only asking for something that will take five minutes to answer, it might get a quick reply. If the letter requires several hours to address, it might be months or years before I actually have those hours available. Holding a full-time job, performing full-time graduate study, and raising my children is simply a higher priority for me, as I am sure you can understand. So if you have lots of questions, then send separate emails. Otherwise, you have to wait until I have enough time to answer them all together.
Finally, let me say that the idea that if I am not willing to rearrange my life to fit your schedule, then my religious beliefs are inferior to your own is more than a little silly and worth no further reply.
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All About Mormons