Moses Hull (1836-1907) was a prominent minister among the Seventh-day Adventists
in the early days, and one of the few that they had. But he eventually left the
Adventists and became a prominent leader in spiritualism, a movement that
advocates communicating with the spirits of the dead.
Hull first joined the United Brethren and then the First Day
Adventists in the early 1850's, and soon started preaching. In 1857 he accepted the
Seventh-day Adventist message and began preaching for them.
Moses Hull was an able and convincing debater, and he successfully debated those
of many persuasions, including spiritualism. In October of 1862, confident of his abilities,
Hull found himself alone in a community of spiritualists in Paw Paw, Michigan. Here is
how he described that debate when he wrote the following account in January of 1863:
It is true that I held a discussion . . .
with a trance speaker, or rather, with some demon professing to be the
spirit of Mr. Downing, speaking through W. F. Jamieson. . . . It
is also true that
I went to engage in that discussion without the counsel of my preaching
brethren: that I went alone, and too much in my own strength, into a
community where we have no church, but where Spiritualism has a strong
hold. This I now regard as very imprudent in me. God's holy Spirit
was grieved, and I was left in a measure to fall under the power of
the Devil, and the seducing charms of Spiritualism. . . .
In this state of mind I made some concessions to certain friendly
Spiritualists, which I now very much regret.—Adventist Review,
January 27, 1863.
For a short time Hull continued preaching for the Adventists,
but he made his sermon of September
20, 1863, his last, and a short time later became a lecturer and writer for the
Ellen White had several things to say about Moses Hull just after that
October 1862 debate:
November 5, 1862, I was shown the condition of Brother
Hull. He was in an alarming state. His lack of consecration
and vital piety left him subject to Satan's suggestions. He has
relied upon his own strength instead of the strong arm of the
Lord, and that mighty arm has been partially removed.—Testimonies
for the Church, vol. 1, p. 426.
It would be hard to argue that this was not the case, since Moses Hull admitted as much in
the quotation we cited above.
He was presented to
me as standing upon the brink of an awful gulf, ready to leap.
If he takes the leap, it will be final; his eternal destiny will be
fixed.—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 427.
What Took Place
After Moses Hull joined the spiritualists in 1863, we have no record that he ever
returned to Christianity. The average Bible-believing Christian would therefore
agree that this prediction came true.
44 years later Hull traveled to San Jose, California, speaking to the
Spiritualist Union on January 6, 1907. Three days later he was stricken on the way to
the post office, and died that Friday (Biography of Moses Hull).
Thus to his dying day, he went about promoting Spiritualism all he could.
Brother Hull . . . has felt
that he was too much restrained, that he could not act out his
nature. While the power of the truth, in all its force, influenced
him, he was comparatively safe; but break the force
and power of truth upon the mind, and there is no restraint,
the natural propensities take the lead, and there is no stopping
place. He has become tired of the conflict, and has for some
time wished that he could more freely act himself
. . . .—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 427, bold supplied.
Given Hull's later course, "no stopping place" is quite an interesting phrase when
combined with her counsel to him during the following June:
When among the sisters, be reserved. No matter if they
think you lack courtesy. If sisters, married or unmarried,
show any familiarity, repulse them. Be abrupt and decided,
that they may ever understand that you give no countenance
to such weakness.—Ibid., p. 437.
What Took Place
Hull's scandalous promotion of flagrant immorality resulted in his
being ostracized by most spiritualist organizations for almost two decades.
It all began with his letter
that was published in the August 23, 1873, issue of Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly:
Many think they are improved
physically and spiritually by a change of climate and scene, when their
principal improvement is caused by a separation from their old sexual mate,
and sometimes by the substitution of a new one.
No one need to tell me this is heterodoxy.
I know it. If it had not been, I would not have written it. . . .
I believe that what is good to practice is good to preach, and vice
versa. . . .
Allow me, then, to say, I lived years
"in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity." Especially
the bond that said: "Forsaking all others, I will cleave unto thee." . . .
Several years have passed since . . . and I have never regretted the
step, but have continued to repeat the offense against man-made institutions
. . . .
In these and other words, Moses Hull declared to the world that for several years he
had been committing adultery while traveling about lecturing, and that this was good
and right. He declared that when he previously refused to commit adultery, he
actually "violated God's law." In fact, he redefined "adultery" in this letter
to include the union of a lawfully wedded man and wife, and denied that
free-lovism was adultery!
To Hull, the lustful, carnal desires of his evil heart were "God's command,"
and had to be obeyed, even if that meant violating the laws of the land.
It is no wonder that he and his wife Elvira separated shortly after this letter
was published. Hull then moved in with Mattie Brown Sawyer, one of the women he
had been associating with, and they eventually married, sort of. Many spiritualists
wanted nothing to do with Hull for nearly twenty years. Other "lecturers refused
to appear on the same platform with him." And how did Hull feel
about the matter? "Mostly unrepentant"
If you go down, you will not go alone; for Satan will employ
you as his agent to lead souls to death.—Testimonies
for the Church, vol. 1, p. 430.
What Took Place
Moses Hull quit preaching for Seventh-day Adventists in 1863. He then began lecturing
for Spiritualism, and continued supporting that cause till his death in 1907.
Even if he had never gotten into "free love," a Bible-believing Christian
would say that he was used by Satan to lead souls to hell—for a long, long time.
And the free-love seeds that he planted, though at first rejected, bore evil fruit
across the country (T.J. Hudson, The Law of Psychic Phenomena, p. 335,
quoted in Uriah Smith,
Modern Spiritualism, pp. 109, 110).
If you proceed in the way you
have started, misery and woe are before you. God's hand will
arrest you in a manner that will not suit you. His wrath will
not slumber. But now He invites you.—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 427.
Misery and woe? Arrested? This is true of every sinner in a final sense, for wrath is
what they will receive in the judgment before the great white throne. But was Ellen White
speaking of something else? Hull's sudden collapse and death in 1907? All the turmoil
and domestic strife that
followed his infamous foray into immorality? Unfortunately, because the statement lacks
additional context, and we lack additional historical details, we can't say more about this
One thing is fairly certain: Hull did not escape his share of misery.
While he stated in the published letter cited above that
Elvira and he "were made more happy" by his unfaithfulness, the fact that they
soon separated says otherwise. The same letter admits,
"I told my wife all; the scene which immediately followed I will not
relate . . . ."
|What do you think about Moses Hull?