Monday, May 14, 2007

Anti Mormon...Since When is Truth Anti?

The Chicago Tribune article about the NCVC showed up in Deseret News (online) today.
Isn't it interesting that only a picture of the Nauvoo temple is in the article? The Deseret News must be Mormon faith promoting only (hmmm? No photos that were in the original Chicago Tribune article April 15, 2007 of the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center, Rocky and Helen or the billboard, that reads "Defending Christianity From Mormon Doctrine."


Deseret Morning News, Monday, May 14, 2007

Anti-LDS evangelists rile Nauvoo faithful

By E.A. Torriero
Chicago Tribune

NAUVOO, Ill. — Towering over a Mississippi River bluff, the recently built Mormon temple symbolizes the central role this town played in Mormon history.



The LDS temple in Nauvoo, Ill. Nauvoo is a hallowed place for Mormons, who settled the town in 1839.

Deseret Morning News Archives
And the arrival of two Christian evangelists from the Chicago area, proclaiming an anti-Mormonism message to the world, recalls the troubled history of those early Mormons with neighbors of other faiths.


Operating from a white stucco storefront called the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center, Rocky Hulse, a former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife, Helen, are bent on portraying Mormonism as a false religion with fabricated histories.


And though the Christian Visitors Center predates their arrival, the Hulses have taken its confrontational message to a new level, with an active public presence and a weekly television show broadcast internationally on a Christian network.


It's no wonder, locals say, the Hulses are facing blowback.


The couple reported they had received two veiled written threats late last year. Then, two days before Christmas, the couple received an e-mail that was traced to an address in Utah.


"id love to watch you all die," it read, "then witness the looks on your faces when you realize how stupid and counterproductive your fight really was."


Shaken, the Hulses installed deadbolts on their doors and floodlights around their storefront. They began checking their car's gas cap for any sign of tampering. And they called police, triggering an investigation from Nauvoo to Utah.


"This town is to the Mormons what Mecca is for the Muslims," Helen Hulse said. "Of course they don't want us here."


Mormon leaders scoff at any suggestion of conspiracy. Still, they have a dim view of the Hulses' work.


"It ought to be called a non-Christian center or anti-Mormon center," said Bishop David Wright, a top LDS Church leader in Nauvoo. "I don't see anything Christian about it."


Nauvoo is a hallowed place for Mormons, who settled the town in 1839. Their prophet, Joseph Smith, received his last revelations here, where the first great temple was built and temple rituals were instituted. Smith was killed by locals nearby in 1844, and within two years, the main body of believers had begun heading west in search of a home beyond the reach of their persecutors.


The largest descendant church, the LDS Church, has spent millions in recent years on the temple and shrines to Smith. It created a budding Mormon renaissance in this town of 1,100 residents, 270 miles southwest of Chicago, that rankles some locals.


The tensions in Nauvoo, which Smith named after an Old Testament verse describing beautiful mountains, reflect a broader uneasiness with the Mormon faith among some people. A Gallup poll in March suggested "something about the Mormon religion apparently disturbs a significant portion of the American population," pollsters said.


The poll showed 46 percent of Americans "have an unfavorable opinion of the Mormon religion." And a third of the respondents said they would not vote for a qualified presidential candidate of the Mormon faith, a question triggered by the Republican candidacy of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.


In the last decade, the church began buying up property in Nauvoo and its $30 million temple opened in 2002.


Today, the town's Chamber of Commerce and Nauvoo's aldermanic government have a Mormon majority. Some locals say Mormons tend to hire from among their own, leaving others feeling left out.


"It's like Microsoft or Disney coming in and taking over the place," said Marilyn Candido, who recently lost a Web-consulting contract with the local chamber, which replaced her with a Mormon operator. Chamber officials say the move had to do with performance, not religion.


But many residents said the different factions in town have maintained a detente, one threatened by the Hulses' stance.


Last month the Hulses decried an annual nondenominational Passion play held at a Mormon-owned auditorium. The Mormon site is inappropriate because Mormons do not subscribe to Christian beliefs of Jesus Christ dying on the cross of Calvary for their sins, Rocky Hulse said, calling it a heresy for other denominations to join the event.


Nonetheless, several local Christian churches encouraged their congregations to participate, not only to promote harmony in town but also to spread the Gospel message of Christ.


"We live with the Mormon people and work alongside them," said Pastor Gayle Pope of the Christ Lutheran Church, who participated in the play. "We have differences with the Mormon belief but choose to do our evangelism by living out our faith."


Coming from a Mormon family of six generations, Rocky Hulse met his wife, Helen, while serving in the Navy in California. At first he tried to convert her to Mormonism, and she looked into it, though she held off joining the church.


The couple married in 1980 against his family's wishes. Later, Helen Hulse became an evangelical Christian, enraging her husband.


But on New Year's Day 1986, after hearing a cowboy preacher at a rodeo, Rocky Hulse says he became a Christian. The Lord put a burden on his heart, he says, to teach Christians about the ills of Mormonism and convert Mormons.


The couple moved to Indiana in 1999 and began a ministry targeting Mormons in the Midwest. Stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Chicago's North Shore, the couple preached at Christian churches across the Midwest about Mormonism. On a visit to Nauvoo in 2002, Mormons barred Hulse from attending a temple open house because they deemed him disruptive.


The couple moved to Nauvoo in late 2005 to take over the Christian center. The storefront is filled with boards, pamphlets and literature such as "the troubling story of a self-proclaimed prophet" Smith.


Last fall, as their Christian television ministry "Truth Proclaimed" spread internationally, the Hulses say threats came. The couple now fear the threatening e-mail received before Christmas is being ignored by Utah investigators who they say want to protect Mormons.


Authorities traced the e-mail to an address belonging to a Mormon, Phil Rogers, of Farmington, Utah, a few miles north of Salt Lake City.


In a telephone interview with the Chicago Tribune, Rogers repeated what he told investigators: Someone hacked into his Internet account while he was using an open router. Internet security experts contacted by the Chicago Tribune said if Rogers allowed access to his router, tampering could be easily done by anyone in his neighborhood.


Bill McGuire, the Utah assistant county attorney investigating the case, said he is awaiting further police reports to determine if criminal charges will be filed and against whom.


"We prosecute Mormons all this time," said McGuire, a Mormon, who chuckled at the Hulses' accusation of a cover-up.


Still, Rocky Hulse doesn't trust the Mormons.


"Look at their history full of lies and deceit," he said. "We are a voice of truth, and they will do anything to silence it."





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© 2007 Deseret News Publishing Company

19 comments:

  1. What a hoot this is. Well, whenever you have to twist truth to cover things it will sound good, but is it?

    I had received a call from the reporter who wrote this article and find it interesting that my comments were not included in it. So here is basically what I told him.

    I support the ministry of the Rocky and Helen Hulse because of their desire to reach out and educate the Christian community about the doctrines of Mormonism. I agree with their continued presence and outreach not only to the city of Nauvoo, but to all churches who have a desire to learn what the LDS church teaches when compared with the Bible.

    Funny how that happened to miss the intent of the article.

    I also what to correct a piece of misinformation that the article reports. Nauvoo was NOT settled by Joseph Smith and the early Mormons. The town started out with the name Venus, which was changed to Commerce, before the Mormons arrived in the area. Their insistence that they settled Nauvoo is a misrepresentation of the the history of this area. But who needs to do the research anyway?

    Yours in Christ,

    Martin Pitcher, Pastor
    Nauvoo Baptist Church

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  2. Fellow laborers for Christ,

    >>"It ought to be called a non-Christian center or anti-Mormon center," said Bishop David Wright, a top LDS Church leader in Nauvoo. "I don't see anything Christian about it."<<

    Two brief points about those statements...

    A. As a non-Christian himself, Wright seems unqualified to determine what being Christian looks like. Isn't that what Christians talking about mormon beliefs hear all the time, don't tell us what we believe?

    B. The depth of the hypocrisy is incredible, that witnessing to mormons is hateful and mean, but mormon missionaries spreading a false gospel to Christians is merely "sharing".

    My church and I will pray for your ministry this evening. If God saved me out of mormonism, he can save anyone, even those who send cowardly threats because they cannot defends their false belief system.

    Arthur

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  3. Arthur,

    A. Yeah, isn't it silly, to say that about the faith of someone else? Interesting, how that aggravates you!

    B. You have to admit though that there is a difference. While mormon missionaries go out inviting everyone to hear more about the mormon faith (without critizising other people's faith), you go about critizising a specific believe system. Calling someone not christian is, of course, offensive to that perticular group, if they consider themselves to be christian. You yourself show in comment A. that it aggravates you if someone says you are not christian.

    Jens

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  4. It is an interesting piece.. :)
    and I am glad to see that there is some local support as well.
    *tips hat to Martin*

    mark

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  5. First thank you and God bless to those of you who have posted on this blog. Thank you to those who have called and written to us also!
    The Chicago Tribune article of April 15, 2007 has appeared in numerous newspapers across the US and has finally made its way to the Mormon Church owned Deseret News in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 14, 2007. The responses to the artice we have received have be overwhelming in enouragement and prayers for the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center and the two of us, to stand firm in Nauvoo. Now that the article was reprinted in the Deseret New we have begun to receive some Mormon "FROM THE HEART" responses. So we will be printing a few of those for all to read.

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  6. Mormons speak "FROM THE HEART" Adam says: "Just another testament of your eternal damnation that you will see in the afterlife. Congratulations, my sympathies go out to you...."

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  7. "FROM THE HEART" Mormon Adam says: "ha ha ha ha, look in the mirror hypocrite, nice respone. Luckily I saved a ton of your congregation on my own mission. How many have you converted? Now I am talking lucid converts, good luck, because God is obviously not on your side."

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  8. "FROM THE HEART" Mormon Stephen says "What goes around, comes round. I pray that your efforts fail that your sheeps clothing is stripped and your bloody fangs revealed. Here's an idea. You know those Civil War re-enactors? You could re-enact the murder of Joseph Smith. It's just across the river there. It could be your own little pageant. You could pass the plate. You could get the thrill of actually pulling the trigger. Of course it wouldn't be quite the same, but you could really get that adrenaline rush from imagining drawing blood from that wretched fraud. And you could pretend that your blood letting would finally rid the world of evil. And you good Christians, could then feed off each others evil. Maybe you could be the last man standing. All smiles and stuff. You could puff up your chest and feel really important. But I guess you already feel that way..Nevermind."

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  9. "FROM THE HEART" Mormon Stephen continues in next PS contact "Now I see that you are so f....... important that you are revealing the temple ordinance's. Now I'm p...... You self righteous, self important jerk..."

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  10. Jens,

    A. Actually I find it irrelevant that someone else claims I am not a Christian. The only one who I care about my standing with is Christ. I am aggravated not by his assertion, but by his hypocrisy.

    B. What is different about it? Mormon missionaries are sent out with the intent to convert Christians and others, in large part by asserting that Christian churches, like the one I pastor and my family attends, are apostate. More disturbing are the heretical claims regarding the nature of God. The goal is the same, mormons seeks to draw people into mormonism, Christians seek to keep people out of mormonism or draw them out if they are already in.

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  11. at least he admits that you have got the temple ordinances right.. :)

    mark

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  12. Arthur,

    A. Great, we have something in common then!

    B. What is the difference? Well, personally I just feel that there is a difference in tone and approach. Let's just take this thread as an example. They quote some angry mormon guy, who said something stupid, and why do they have it on here? To make mormons look bad. I have never observed the mormon church to use this practise. Also, I find some of the information that is distributed about mormonsism inacurate and distorted and hence unfair. (Or just imagine for example, mormons opening up a center, dedicated specifically to the prupose of denouncing baptists or methodists. It just sounds weird.)

    When I meet a catholic or a protestant I look for the good in their religion and not for what some member or leader of their church may have done or said in the past. When I meet a catholic or a protestant, I wanna feel like I have something in common with them, because we both believe in the New Testament and in similar principals and morals. And I want to feel that way because I think it is something special to be religious and to have good morals in nowadays world.

    Other than that I am actually grateful for your response, because I think it made me understand your point of view better. But maybe keep in mind, that just like you care about your family, mormons also care about theirs. They might feel it is offensive, too, if you say that their family will go to hell, just because they are mormon. (I don't know if you actually say that, but you know, I have heard that before).

    Sorry, I made that so long. And I honestly hope I didn't offend you in any way.

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  13. Jens,
    I know you were writing to Arthur, however, I hope you don't mind if I answer since part of your comment was really directed at my husband and me. Your statement about our tone... etc., leads me to think you have totally lost sight of the Chicago Tribune Article and reprint in the Mormon owned Deseret News that started this thread. What do you think brought a reporter all the way from Chicago to Nauvoo? Let me remind you, just in case you didn't read that part or have forgotten. It was a "death threat" sent to us from Utah! One serious enough that the Nauvoo Police, Illionis State Police, Farmington, Utah Police and most likely the FBI will become involved before charges are brought against this person. I would be really careful, if I were you, since you do not know this person (calling him stupid) or any other Mormon stupid for that matter. We do not call people names, we just present the unedited history of Mormonism. As for the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center, it has been in the same location for 19 years. We didn't come here and set up a center. We became the Directors of the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center in Oct. 2005, when my husband having served on active duty for 33 years in the Navy, retired. Here in Nauvoo, there are two other Visitor Centers besides this one. One is the RLDS-now known as the Community of Christ and the other is LDS-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or commonly known as Mormons. (Does that make both of them weird also, for coming to Nauvoo and setting up their Centers?) For you to say that they do not speak out against any other churches, is to deny the offical first vision account of Mormonism. Just what did Joseph Smith claim Jesus Christ said to him in the grove of trees? (Maybe I missed the part where Jesus told Joseph, to find the good part of Christian abominable creeds and how their profession of Christianity wasn't corrupt.) If you take away that offical first vision, then you take away the Mormon Prophet Joesph Smith and the foundation of Mormonism . Just a thought for you to ponder on! And as you do so, may you look closer into the history of your church. Our prayer for you and any other Mormon, whether born into the Church or a convert, is that they will come to know the Jesus Christ of the Bible who is God, not just a god.

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  14. Dear Mrs. Hulse,


    Let me just clarify one or two things. First of all, I do feel terribly sorry that someone uttered a death threat against you and I do take that serious and, of course, I think it is very, very wrong! However, when I said that thing about "the angry mormon guy, saying something stupid", I actually was not referring to that at all, but to your reprint on this thread, of what "Mormon Stephen" said. Further, it is not my opinion that "Mormon Stephen" is stupid, but that what he said was rather unfortunate, because in my opinion, anger is never the right answer. All I meant was that you used those comments to make mormons look bad, even though I think most mormons wouldn't react in such a way at all.

    Neither did I suggest that you call people names (and as far as I remember, I didn't do that either). In fact, I even didn't have you in mind at all, except when I referred to "Mormon Stephen". I was speaking generally.

    Also it doesn't represent my opinion that your visitor's center is weird. What I meant was that it would feel very weird to me, if the mormon church opens up a center with the sole purpose of targeting a specific religious group, e.g. the baptists, or buddhists. (that's why I think our approach is different).

    I am sorry that I lost sight of the article of the Chicago tribune (and also, sorry for me being poorly informed about the history of your visitor's center). But all I did was answering the question Arthur asked me. I even didn't say which approach is better, I just named some of the differences I have observed.

    Best wishes,

    Jens

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  15. Jens, You tactfully avoided any mention of the first vision, which doesn't single out any one demonation, it attacks them one and all. So the first volly of Mormonism is an all out attack on ALL demonations. Here at the Nauvoo Chrisitan Visitors Center we are defending Christianity from the attacks levied against it by Mormonism.

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  16. Tactfully, but not on purose:)

    Mrs. Hulse, I get your point and I understand how the account of the first vision can be offensive to you. I feel sorry for that. However, almost every church or religion professes to have the truth. Else, why would you follow it? Way back when, even the different christian denominations were fighting with each other about that, and the catholic church e.g. still teaches today that it is the only church with Christ's true teachings and with apostolic authority.

    But as I said, all I wanted to do is, to answer Arthur's question, and that I did.

    All the best to you.
    Jens

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  17. Jens,

    That is really the crux of the issue. I absolutely believe that Biblical Christianity is the only true religion, and in witnessing to others the doctrine of Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life is a frequent point. I make no bones about it, but to many mormons the claim is that they don't seek to tell others that their religion is wrong but rather that they simply wish to share. The mormon missionaries are out to convert, to baptize people as mormons, nothing else. The whole issue of witnessing one way being loving and witnessing the other way as hateful is inconsistent. Let the claims of Christianity and mormonism be compared, without hiding behind the charge of hatefulness.

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  18. I suppose that the Hulmes' ran into a crazy Mormon that threatened them with physical harm. I don't blame them for protecting yourselves against such a person. Many people have had to protect themselves from orthodox Christians as well, even in modern times (There are a few crazies in every religion). However, to paint all LDS members, as this article seems to do, with a broad brush of zealous protectors of the faith is too much.

    I am sad too see that so much tension has arisen in Nauvoo between LDS and some non-LDS Christians. On my many visits I have not been aware of this situation. I have never heard an unkind word spoken about long time residents by local LDS members.

    My experience has always been a pleasant one. I enjoy the local restaurants and businesses and it appears they like the extra business. I know that LDS Christians differ in many ways from orthodox Christians, but I respect their beliefs as I hope they do mine.
    May God be with you.

    Jason

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  19. Jason, if I were you I would be careful calling another Mormon crazy since you don't know this person. Next, I do agree with you that there are those in other religions who do things they should not, just as there are those that aren't a part of any religion that also do such things. I don't think that Rocky and I paint all Mormons by this one person and for you to think that it would take a huge leap! ( Also you might remember that we didn't write the article). As for the tension here in Nauvoo between Christians and Mormons, it is sad but it is true. This town is not Mormon Nauvoo. But there are plenty Mormons who come here that the attitude, this is our town. As for your statement about never hearing unkind words. You either do not live here or you don't visit often. Read what Kris (Mormon) and Jeff (Mormon) thinks of Nauvoo locals and Chrisitans.

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Rocky and Helen Hulse

Rocky and Helen Hulse
Defending Christianity From Mormon Doctrine