My dear brother Elder:

I have heard you often complain about many of the writings in this paper. You take strong exception to the indictments made against many elders. You say that these "abuses" do exist but that the cases are few and isolated. You protest that you and your fellow-elders are not lords. You protest that you are not a Board of Directors. You protest that you do not believe that you have decision-making authority as many others believe. You protest that you do lead others by example as the scriptures instruct.

Could it be that like Lady MacBeth you protest too much? If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it! Should you not rejoice that these errors are being pointed out to those who are guilty? If you are not being described, why do you feel indicted?

Please, for God's sake and your own, dig deep into yourself. After saying that you have no authority and do not believe in making decisions for the congregation, have you actually behaved in ways opposite to that belief? Have you prevented prospective "members" from entering because some part of their past did not meet your criteria? Have you prevented men from participating in the assemblies because they have expressed certain views with which you disagree? Did you consult the congregation before making these decisions? Do you become defensive when reading about elders who are abusive. If so, why? One who is not charged has no need of a defense.

I know, dear brother, that you consider abuse of the role of elder to be rare. I disagree. I believe it is the norm.

However, I know that we all tend to view the world with glasses tinted by our own experience. I implore you, therefore, to take a look at the claims you make about yourself and hold them up against the actual actions you have taken. Are they consistent with each other? Are they consistent with the scriptures? If not, conform yourself to the scriptures today. Countless souls are looking to you for their example. Please, rejoice that the thoughts expressed in this paper are pointing out the abuses of others so that we can all be more pleasing to the Chief Shepherd.

A loving sister,

A.R.