After Hannah Taylor came home from her classes at BYU and read a hateful letter taped to her door, she tweeted, "I legitimately had to sit on the floor so that I could cry without falling over."
The anonymous letter was "completely rude for no reason at all," Taylor told LDS Living. "It was weird because it was kind of out of the blue."
The writer personally attacked Taylor for the way she handled her relationships with her friends, her church calling as a Relief Society president, and her life choices.
"I recently decided to go on a mission, and this person said, 'You're going on a mission for the completely wrong reasons,'" Taylor says, summarizing a portion of the note. "I don't know where that came from because this person doesn't know my reasons."
But instead of reacting in a negative way to this letter, Taylor sent out a tweet that was the perfect response:
The things I felt in those few minutes are indescribable, but it's how I felt after that really matters: I remembered my testimony of Heavenly Father's love for me, and that His opinion of me is the only one that matters, and He is the only one who can determine my worth. While this letter did hurt me a TON, I am grateful that this letter was written to me rather than someone who does not have a testimony of these things. I would rather the letter not be written at all, but I'm glad it was to me because I have a testimony of these things, and I cannot let the words of another person determine my worth. I am extremely grateful for God's love today, and I am grateful that I now have a testimony of having a testimony prepared for hard times.
But Taylor wasn't the only one who handled the note in a positive way. A neighbor saw the letter and gathered her own roommates as well as Taylor's roommates to write positive notes. On the very same day Taylor received that one hateful letter, she had multiple positive ones spanning the length of her apartment wall—an act she says she was very grateful for.
(image courtesy Hannah Taylor)
And while Taylor responded with positivity toward the letter, she says her the letter could have had a far more devasting impact had it come at a different period in her life. Earlier this year, Taylor says she was struggling with depression, something the writer of the letter probably didn't know, and the letter attacked a lot of the things she says she struggled with at the time.
"I didn't experience suicidal thoughts through my depression, but the actions that I could have taken had I had those thoughts when I received this letter could have been irreversible," Taylor tweeted. "Please, 'be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,' and you never know what that could be."
While Taylor says that receiving hateful letters like this is unusual, it does happen, and it's important for people to know they don't have to respond with negativity.
"As the person who received it, I think it's important to not react the way the person wants you to react," Taylor says. "They want you to react with hatred and with hatred toward yourself and I think it's important to not do that and to remember that you are loved and that you are an incredible person no matter what anybody else says."