NAUVOO INTERFAITH SYMPOSIUM

by Rocky Hulse

July 2006

On Thursday March 2, 2006 the Ministerial Association of Nauvoo held an "Interfaith Symposium" at the Mormon Church's " Joseph Smith Academy." There were seven representatives on the platform: Presbyterian, Lutheran, two Methodists, Catholic, LDS and RLDS (Community of Christ). Each participant was given eight minutes to answer the following: "How do you discern truth in religious experience, from the standpoint of your denomination teachings and your own personal reflection." When each had answered the above, questions were taken from the audience to be answered by the panel.

All questions were answered except three questions that Helen and I presented to the panel. After the symposium was over, I approached Bishop David H. Wright, the LDS representative to ask why our questions hadn't been answered. Before I could get a word out, Bishop Wright said, "Rocky we didn't take your questions because they were too technical."

LETTER TO BISHOP WRIGHT:

So, I wrote a letter to Bishop Wright and invited him to come on our TV show "Truth Outreach" to answer the questions. Here is a copy of the letter I sent to Bishop Wright:

Dear Bishop David Wright,

As you know Helen and I were in attendance at the Interfaith Symposium on March 2, 2006, held at the Joseph Smith Academy in Nauvoo. During the second half of the symposium questions were taken from the audience and answered by the panel members. All questions were answered except the questions offered by Helen and I. When I approached you after the symposium was over, to introduce myself, you stated to me "Rocky we didn't take your questions because they were too technical."

Helen and I fully complied with the advertised requirement to state our questions, and I believe we were the only people to fully comply by putting our names on our questions as requested. When the last question was answered and the symposium closed, the audience was still fully engaged and people weren't leaving, so I'm sure they would have remained for the questions to be answered. Nevertheless, since you stated the questions were too technical for the forum the symposium provided, I am now extending to you an invitation to be a guest on our television program, Truth Outreach, filmed at WTJR in Quincy, and take the time you need to answer the questions. There will simply be you and I on the set. You can provide your answers and we'll discuss them. We can work out a filming opportunity that will comply with your schedule; simply contact me and let me know what your schedule is and we'll work out a mutually agreeable time to film the program.

I will provide, as an addendum to this letter, the three questions that were not answered for your review. I look forward to hearing from you and providing to you the opportunity to address the viewing audience of WTJR with the LDS perspective relative to these questions.

Sincerely,

Rocky Hulse

Director Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center

LETTER FROM BISHOP WRIGHT:

Dear Rocky,

Thanks for your kind and exciting invitation to participate on your program. Unfortunately I must decline. My expertise and assignment does not qualify or authorize me to represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in such a fashion.

Elder Jon Larson of our Public Affairs Department might be able to help you. Your questions are intriguing and I think you would enjoy hearing the answers. It was nice to meet you and your lovely wife at the Interfaith Symposium.

Best Wishes,

David H. Wright Jr.

Bishop - Nauvoo 1st Ward

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I found several sentences of that letter quite interesting. First, the following sentence: "My expertise and assignment does not qualify or authorize me to represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in such a fashion." This is a rare admission by Mormon Leadership of their lack of authority. This man is a Bishop, the equivalent of a Pastor in a Christian church; yet, he's not "qualified or authorized" to say what Mormonism believes for a church that touts that they, and they alone, have the authority to act in God's name on this earth through their "priesthood." Bishop Wright must hold their Melchizedek Priesthood (the highest priesthood in Mormonism) or he couldn't be a Bishop - but he, by his own admission, isn't "qualified or authorized" to say what his denomination believes. Where's the authority?

Well, if Bishop Wright isn't "qualified or authorized" to answer questions about his denominations' beliefs, why is he the Bishop? Get someone in there who is qualified - that's the point: No one in Mormonism is qualified to answer such questions except their prophet and you'll never get a chance to ask him!

About six months ago Helen and I did a program on our TV show "Truth Outreach" titled "12 Common Characteristics of Cults." Characteristic number eight was: "8. Authoritarian Government." That is exactly what we have here. This Mormon Bishop is afraid to come on our TV show and talk about Mormonism because the "authoritarian government" of Mormonism in Salt Lake City would probably reprimand him for saying something that might make the Mormon Church look bad - no matter the truthfulness of the statement! What's the big deal? Why won't he come on our TV show and simply answer the questions? The reason is: Mormonism is so complicated with contradictions galore, by their previous prophets, that the authoritarian government in Salt Lake City wants total control of what is said so they can try and control the hemorrage of their false doctrines.

The next statement that I really enjoyed in his letter was this one: "Your questions are intriguing and I think you would enjoy hearing the answers." Yes Bishop Wright, yes I would enjoy hearing the answers; but, you as the Bishop in Nauvoo won't answer them!!

As you saw in Bishop Wright's letter, he referred me to Elder Jon Larson of their Public Affairs Department. So, I wrote him a letter saying virtually the same thing as I put in the letter to Bishop Wright, and I forwarded him a copy of the letter I sent to Bishop Wright and his reply. I received a very quick answer from Elder Larson the Public Affairs spokesman for the Mormon Church in Nauvoo.

LETTER FROM ELDER LARSON:

Dear Rocky,

Thank you for the invitation. We are not interested in participating.

Respectfully,

Jon W. Larson

Truly a short and sweet response; however, he cc'd (carbon copied) Neal C. Lewis, the Mission President - the senior ecclesiastical leader of the Mormon Church in the Nauvoo area. So, I wrote Mission President, Neal C. Lewis, offering him the same invitation and enclosed copies of the letters I had written to Bishop Wright and Elder Larson and their respones. It's now been three months and he hasn't even bothered to respond.

THE THREE QUESTIONS:

Question 1: In keeping with the theme of this symposium, "How do you discern truth in religious experience, from the standpoint of your denomination teachings and your own personal reflection," realizing that objective evidence is not the sole reason for belief, however, the objective textual, historical and archaeological evidence for the validity of the Bible does give us strong grounds for belief in it as the Word of God. Given this overwhelming evidence that supports the Bible textually, historically, and archaeologically, and the fact that there is absolutely no objective evidence to support the Book of Mormon, how then do you believe it also to be God's Word, other than by praying about it and having a subjective personal feeling?

Question 2: In keeping with the theme of this symposium, "How do you discern truth in religious experience, from the standpoint of your denomination teachings and your own personal reflection," in light of the fact that we have over 24,000 copies of surviving manuscripts for the New Testament alone, which only makes sense as believers wanted to read and study God's word. How do you square your belief on the Book of Mormon when there are no surviving manuscripts of any of its text? If it was scripture as the Bible is, why wouldn't the American believers want, and make, copies of God's Word to read and study as the rest of the world did with the Bible?

Question 3: In keeping with the theme of this symposium, "How do you discern truth in religious experience, from the standpoint of your denomination teachings and your own personal reflection," in light of the fact that the Bible was written in three different languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and those languages are without question found throughout the region from which the Bible was written, how do you square your belief in the Book of Mormon, which was purported to be written in "Reformed Egyptian" and no one knows anything about it, nor has it ever been found or identified in the Americas, or the rest of the world at large?

THE ANSWERS TO THE THREE QUESTIONS:

Question 1: There is NO evidence to support the Book of Mormon. The "ONLY" validation is to pray for a subjective, personal feeling that it is true. God left us His word, the "Bible", with overwhelming evidence to back-up and validate it. Why would the same God leave us nothing to back-up and validate the "Book of Mormon"? The answer is simple: It is not of God!!

Question 2: The reason no ancient texts of the Book of Mormon have ever been found is because there aren't any. The Book of Mormon is fiction, it never existed prior to Joseph Smith writing it in the 1820's and publishing it in 1830.

Question 3: The reason the language "Reformed Egyptian" has never been found is because it never existed!!