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Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2)

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    Moses Hull Yields to Spiritualism

    The war, with its insatiable demand for men, was only one of the concerns of church leaders through much of 1863. The wavering and then the final apostasy of Moses Hull, a prominent evangelist who in the fall surrendered to the agents of Satan, was a difficult and sad experience. He preached an evangelistic sermon on the night of September 20, 1863, and then within a few weeks joined the forces of the Spiritualists.2BIO 53.4

    There are many lessons in the account of the experience of Moses Hull, especially when we have before us the insights given through vision to Ellen White. Hull began preaching for Seventh-day Adventists in 1858, and for five years was accounted among the ministry of the church. Through dedicated and effective service he worked himself into the respect and confidence of his fellow ministers. The harboring of doubts, selfish interest, covetousness, lack of management ability, and undue trust in self were weaknesses that Ellen White, through the last two years of his ministry, pointed out as being the foundation of his problems (Testimonies for the Church, 1:441, 442; Testimonies for the Church, 2:625; Ibid., 3:212). Added to this was a negative home influence, for his wife did not give him proper support.2BIO 53.5

    The name Moses Hull appears occasionally in the Review and Herald in 1861 and 1862 as he reported on his work, attended conferences, and worked on committees. In the spring of 1862 the Michigan Conference Committee recommended that Hull work with J. N. Loughborough with the Michigan tent. Of this Loughborough reported:2BIO 54.1

    This we did, using our tent in three places—in Charlotte, June 5 to July 13; in Ionia, July 15 to August 12, and in Lowell from August 16 to September 7. Brother I. D. Van Horn was our tentmaster, it being his first experience with the tent. In each of these places some souls were won to the truth.2BIO 54.2

    Moses Hull had a debate with a Methodist minister in the tent at Charlotte, on the immortality question, which aided in settling many minds on that question. At both Ionia and Lowell he had debates with Spiritualists.—Pacific Union Recorder, June 6, 1912.2BIO 54.3

    Loughborough recognized that the Lord blessed Hull in these efforts for the truth:2BIO 54.4

    The doctor with whom he debated in Ionia expected to meet someone who believed in the immortality of the soul. He was not prepared to meet the doctrine of the unconscious state of the dead. He stated publicly at the close of the debate that he was defeated, but said it was because the spirits left him and helped Hull.2BIO 54.5

    The debate at Lowell was with S. P. Leland, a Spiritualist lecturer. This was a complete triumph for the truth, and resulted, shortly after, in Leland's renouncing Spiritualism and becoming a Christian. The Lord surely helped Hull in the debate. But afterward it seemed to “turn his head,” and he thought he would be a match for the Spiritualists anywhere.—Ibid.2BIO 54.6

    But there was another factor that contributed to Hull's apostasy. This was disclosed in vision to Ellen White—he had doubts as a result of seeds carelessly and unwittingly sown by some of his fellow ministers. While, as Ellen White declared, “he needed all the strength and help from his brethren he could get,” some of the more experienced brethren told some of “their difficulties and perplexities to him.”2BIO 54.7

    It seemed they had no particular object, only to talk out what was on their minds—unbelief and darkness. They passed on, but Brother Hull was just in that weak condition where the words of his brethren whom he had confidence in could take root and spring up and bear fruit. Some few difficult passages of Scripture were thrown into his mind. He came to meeting and honestly told his feelings....2BIO 55.1

    He gravely told James and the brethren he could not preach, for he did not believe the Bible anymore. They thought him merely under the influence of temptation and tried to turn his mind, but it was of no avail. In this state Brother Hull went some miles distant to discuss with a Spiritualist.—Letter 11, 1862.2BIO 55.2

    Loughborough reported of this discussion:2BIO 55.3

    He engaged to debate with one Jamieson, at Paw Paw, Michigan, a strong Spiritualist center, where there was no interest in the truth, and not one of our people to stand by him. On the other hand, the Spiritualists got some of their strongest mediums and sat in a circle around the speakers.

    Hull admitted to me afterward how he went into that debate. He said, “I thought: Let them bring on their devils. I am enough for the whole of them. But when I arose to make my second speech, my tongue was seemingly as thick as my hand, and what I had often used before as an argument seemed to me like nonsense. I was defeated.”2BIO 55.4

    Jamieson, who has since renounced Spiritualism, and resides in Colorado, said of that debate, to Brother States: “Hull was mesmerized, and I told him so there; for before the first day of the debate was over he came to me and said, “I am all ready to go out and advocate Spiritualism.”—Pacific Union Recorder, June 6, 1912.2BIO 55.5

    Ellen White stated, “He came back charmed with the man and was as much fascinated as ever a bird was fascinated by a rattlesnake. He was a changed man. He looked so strange, talked so strange. He had got far ahead of us all—far beyond us, almost out of sight of us. We could not help him. Oh, no.”—Letter 11, 1862.2BIO 55.6

    Loughborough picks up the account of this strange story that was taking place right before the eyes of the church in Battle Creek, for Paw Paw was only thirty-five miles away:2BIO 56.1

    For two weeks after the Hull and Jamieson debate at Paw Paw, Michigan, Hull, in Battle Creek, seemed like a man half “off his base.” Finally he seemed to arouse to some sense of his condition. He got Brother and Sister White and Elder Cornell to come with him to my house in Battle Creek for a talk and a praying season for him. This was on November 5, 1862. In the praying season Sister White was given a vision on his case.—Pacific Union Recorder, June 13, 1912.2BIO 56.2

    Writing immediately after the event, Ellen White reported:2BIO 56.3

    The object of our meeting Wednesday night [November 5, 1862] was to pray for Brother Hull, he being present. I had been very sick for above a week, threatened with fever, but I went to the meeting. In that meeting I was taken off in vision and shown many things. And the case of Brother Hull was shown me—that he had been mesmerized, charmed by a special agent of Satan.2BIO 56.4

    Already had Satan, I saw, claimed him as his prey. Already had evil angels telegraphed to Satan's agents upon earth that Brother Hull would soon leave the Seventh-day Adventists and join their ranks, and the Spiritualist medium with whom he discussed must be all gentleness, and charm him and fascinate him. He was almost continually in the company of this Spiritualist medium, and Satan exulted at the conquest he had made.2BIO 56.5

    Then I saw how cruel, how dishonoring to God, to have ministers or private members talk out or lisp their unbelief and infidel feelings to other minds, and by so doing have Satan use them as agents to transmit his fiery darts through them to others. I saw that there was much of this done, and Satan exults that he works unperceived in this way. Much more I saw which I cannot write; it would take so much time.—Letter 11, 1862.2BIO 56.6

    She continued:2BIO 57.1

    I related the vision to Brother Hull. He remained unmoved. I wrote it the next day and read it to him. He manifested some feeling while I was writing the testimony. All the females who had faith met to pray for Brother Hull. All worked with energy.

    The Spiritualists flocked around him, and wanted to visit and talk with him. We tried to prevent an interview and did. Wednesday evening I took George Amadon, Martha, and Brother and Sister Myron Cornell, and I read distinctly and emphatically the testimony the Lord had given me. [See Testimonies for the Church, 1:426-443.] He there promised me he would try to arouse and make an effort again. He had so given up to the powers of darkness that there was no collision of spirits. He was at perfect rest and peace.—Ibid.2BIO 57.2

    After the vision was read, it was then and there decided that Hull should go with James and Ellen White to hold meetings with the churches in Michigan. Hull promised to go with them, and left that night for Monterey. Then the Amadons, the Cornells, and James and Ellen White, as described by Ellen White, “had a long and ...powerful prayer meeting for him.” She picks up the story:2BIO 57.3

    Early the next morn we started for Monterey. Sabbath morn at family prayers the Lord led me out to pray for Brother Hull. I felt that I had got hold of the arm of God and I would not let go until the power of Satan had broken and His servant delivered. Prayer was heard and Brother Hull was set free and he labored with us through the conference at Monterey. We dare not leave him yet. He will stay with us until he is free and rooted and grounded in the truth.2BIO 57.4

    I saw that when ministers talked unbelief and doubts they attracted evil angels in crowds around them while the angels of God stood back in sorrow, and everywhere these ministers go they carry that darkness until they with fortitude resist the devil and he flees from them.—Ibid.2BIO 57.5

    While laboring at Wright, Michigan, Ellen White continued the account. She reported that “Brother Hull has told me recently what the Spiritualist medium told him (also a lady medium), that the spirits had informed them that Brother Hull would soon leave the Adventists and become a Spiritualist, confirming what had been shown me in vision.”—Ibid. James and Ellen White were exerting every energy to prevent this; that is why they were where they were, and Hull with them. “The good work is being carried on here at Wright,” she wrote.2BIO 57.6

    Meetings will continue here for a day or two, then we shall go to Greenville. Brother Hull is quite free again, for which we feel very thankful. He will accompany us to Greenville, and then will return to Wright to give a course of lectures.—Ibid.2BIO 58.1

    On November 5, 1862, Ellen White wrote on the background of Hull's distressing experience:2BIO 58.2

    Just as long as Brother Hull maintained a conflict, his mind was reined up, and there was a collision of spirits. He has now ceased the conflict, and the collision ceases. His mind is at rest, and Satan lets him have peace. Oh, how dangerous was the position in which he was shown me! His case is nearly hopeless, because he makes no effort to resist Satan and extricate himself from his dreadful snare.2BIO 58.3

    Brother Hull has been dealt with faithfully. He 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, and 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, and has felt hurt at the reproofs of his brethren.2BIO 58.4

    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. He is doing work and making decisions for eternity.... If he leaves the ranks of those who bear the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel, and joins the company who bear the black banner, it will be his own loss, his own eternal destruction.—Ibid., 1:427.2BIO 58.5

    Hull chose to take that leap into the ranks of the Spiritualists.2BIO 58.6

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