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Moses Hull
Moses Hull

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 spiritualists.

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.

Prediction #1

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.

Prediction #2

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" (www.spirithistory.com/freelov.html). How sad!

Prediction #3

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).

Prediction #4

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.

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?
Hull was better off leaving Christianity and becoming a Spiritualist than remaining an Adventist.
Hull would have been better off remaining an Adventist than leaving Christianity and becoming a Spiritualist.
Hull was right about free love, and about lust being God's law within.
Ugh! This guy was a kook. Too bad Ellen White and her friends weren't able to help him.
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