Saturday, December 22, 2007

Nauvoo man authors book about Mormonism

Chris Faulkner
Staff Writer
Fort Madison Daily Democrat


Rocky Hulse has been speaking and writing about the Church of Jesus Christ-Latter Day Saints - the church he was baptized and raised in - for quite a few years now.
That's often followed by charges of bigotry or hatefulness or, at best, stirring up unnecessary dissension between faith groups.
Undaunted, Hulse has written a book about the subject of the Mormon faith and how it relates to church members in public office. Once again, he puts in numerous disclaimers to his being bigoted.
The book is: When Salt Lake City Calls: Is there a conflict between Mormonism and the public trust? It's published by Christian publishing company Xulon Press.
Although Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not named specifically, the timing of the book's release is no coincidence, with the 2008 presidential election looming on the horizon.
The back cover, however, shows that Hulse is not just focusing on the office of the president. “From the White House ... to the local school board ... the principle remains the same! Can Americans trust Mormons in public office?”
The central premise of Hulse's book is that in order to be a Latter-Day Saint in good standing a person - in this case a candidate for public office - must cast his allegiance first and foremost to the church and its Prophets. (The Prophet is the current leader of the Church.)
From Chapter 7, Page 224, in what is a regular end-of-chapter summary feature, Hulse writes, “This book is about a principle: absolute allegiance/obedience to the Mormon Church through its governing agent, the Priesthood. As has been amply chronicled in previous chapters, the dogma to “Follow the Prophet” is the primary tenet of Mormonism. However, under the agent of the Priesthood the local level Priesthood leaders are to be followed as well or the Mormon could be ‘endangering their own salvation.' This brings the conflict between Mormonism and the political arena to the local level.”
Hulse took the first three chapters to give an overview and outline of the Church of Jesus Christ-Latter Day Saints. Despite his critics' claims, Hulse wrote that in writing about and evaluating the church he's simply taking doctrinal statements and proclamations from actual Mormon sources - both in the early days of the church founded by Joseph Smith and in more recent times.
He then took the next five chapters to discuss the LDS Church's views on its heirarchy and its teachings and spiritual doctrines and how they relate to the political world.
It is Hulse's contention - and his claims are heavily footnoted and documented - that LDS members are to place their primary source of guidance on church leaders, who are anointed by God.
Hulse addressed the question that has been brought up, comparing the fears about a Mormon president with the fear in 1963 that John F. Kennedy - the first Catholic to run for president - would take his marching orders from the Pope.
Hulse reprints Kennedy's speech to a Baptist group and said that is in stark contrast to the Mormon Church's beliefs about political activity.
As for the concept of separation of church and state, the third Mormon Prophet, John Taylor, wrote in 1867 that Mormons are to be led politically by their Priesthood. “We used to have a difference between church and state, but it is all one now,” Taylor wrote.
Hulse finished the book with two chapters on historical tragedies: one in the early days of the Church and one in the mid-1980s. Space prevents a detailed accounting of the Mountain Meadows Massacre 150 years ago (1857) and the Mark Hoffman Murders (1985). But Hulse brought those events in to show how the LDS church covered up heinous crimes and circumvented current laws to protect the church. Hulse expressed concern that a Mormon in public office would have a greater loyalty to the many oaths and covenants of his church than to the laws of the land and the people who elected him.
“The fully documented position of the book,” Hulse said, “is that a Mormon is bound by oath and covenants to the Mormon Church above all other obligations in this life. Any oath of office they may take is secondary to the oaths and covenants of Mormonism.
“In that context, the requirements of Mormonism place Mormons squarely in opposition to the American democratic ideal of independent representation,” Hulse said.
“The Mormon Church is the ultimate lobbyist and cannot be legislated away.”

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Rocky and Helen Hulse

Rocky and Helen Hulse
Defending Christianity From Mormon Doctrine