From Mr Alan Boycott: Sir, I find myself responding once again to remarks made by Brian Brindley in his column reviewing the book Anne the Wort The Life of Ann Lee, Mother of the Shakers (CH Aug 25). In the course of this review, which is after all simply an opinion, Mr Brindley cannot resist having a go at other contemporaneous Native American religions.
For instance his remark: "I do not believe that Mother Ann was a fraud, in the way that Joe Smith with his Book of Mormon or `Judge' Rutherford of the Jehovah's Witnesses clearly were..." and the disgraceful asseveration "what I mean is that she genuinely believed the nonsense that she professed to believe, and did not engage in it for profit", to be particularly patronising and offensive.
How does he know these things? Clearly Mr Brindley is demonstrating in this review a blatant prejudice and an irrational bigotry toward religious movements that are extremely successful today and which have not suffered the fate of the Shakers, i.e. almost extinction.
When we consider the precarious state that the Anglican and Catholic Churches are in today and I take no delight in having to say so — perhaps Mr Brindley should be investigating why other movements are harvesting thousands of converts year on year whilst the mainstream Christian churches languish on the vine. Mormonism is enjoying phenomenal success and has become a truly global, multi-national faith. More than 50 per cent of this church's 11 million members live outside the USA, and the Book of Mormon is now printed in many foreign languages.
In closing may I add that I will not allow Mr Brindley's recent article to cloud my good opinion of Roman Catholics or The Catholic Herald and the majority of its contributors.
Yours faithfully. ALAN BOYCOTT
Long Stratton, Norfolk