NAUVOO, Ill. – A Nauvoo ministry received a death threat via e-mail last month, according to Rocky Hulse of the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center.
He and his wife, Helen, have been in charge of the Christian Visitors Center since 2005, taking over for Colleen Ralston.
The Illinois State Police are working on the case, as well as local authorities. Hulse said a criminal analyst was supposed to come Monday or Tuesday to check the center’s computer hard drive.
“I’ve been told the fellow has been located,” Hulse said Wednesday. “The guy didn’t block his name or his e-mail address.”
Hulse said the message is believed to have come from Utah, but, “Until they come and validate the electronic trail via our computer, they can’t be certain who the perpetrator is.”
On Dec. 23, Helen was checking the center’s e-mail when she saw the first line of a short message: “I’d love to watch you all die.” Rocky was working downstairs, and Helen paged him on their intercom.
“She said, €˜Lock the door and come upstairs right now!” Hulse remembered. “She was very shaken by it. This was right on the heels of the letter that was left on the desk Dec. 2.”
During a Christmas walk event at Nauvoo, the visitors center had many people come and go through the building. When everyone had gone, the Hulses discovered a hand-delivered envelope addressed to “Truth Outreach, Rocky and Helen Hulse,” which is the name of the couple’s television show, aired on WTJR out of Quincy, Ill.
“It’s evident that the letter left here was specifically directed as intimidation at our TV show,” Hulse said.
Although the letter isn’t traceable, Hulse said, “it has specific quotations which can only come from a Mormon. It references the Kirkland Temple and the Restored Church.”
After receiving the e-mail, Rocky Hulse called Nauvoo Chief of Police Don Faulkner. He sent an officer to pick up a printed copy of the e-mail.
“You can try and hide your e-mail address, your identity,” Hulse said. “However, for those that understand the mechanics of the Internet, you can’t hide.”
There’s still the wait, however.
“As this point, until they close the loop with us, they can’t go and make an arrest,” Hulse said. “They can’t pursue it with the perpetrator.”
If the sender is indeed from Utah, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will get involved. “It may even fall under the Hate Crimes Act,” Hulse said.
For now, Hulse has installed security lighting and deadbolt locks on all the entrances to the center.
At Monday’s Chamber of Commerce meeting, Hulse made the threat public, and Mayor John McCarty made a motion to issue a statement of condemnation of the threat. The motion passed unanimously. Hulse said the Nauvoo Chamber has a mix of Mormons and non-Mormons.
Hulse is an ex-Mormon
That’s the reason behind the critics of their ministry, but Hulse said he has legitimate credentials.
“I was born and raised as a Mormon, sixth generation on Dad’s side, fourth on my Mom’s,” Hulse said.
“My great-great-great grandfather lived in Nauvoo. He had his Temple Work done in the original Nauvoo temple.” After the Mormons left for the West, it was burned. Then a tornado hit it and destroyed the rest.
When Rocky and Helen met, he asked her to take Mormon missionary lessons. Instead, she became a Christian. “I set out to prove she was wrong,” Rocky said.
In doing so, however, “I found that the foundations of Mormonism were false. They (the foundations) were altered, changed, deleted and falsified.
“That’s the kind of stuff we present on our TV show,” he said. “That’s the kind of stuff that angers Mormons. But 95 percent of where we get our information comes from Mormon materials.”
Threats aren’t new to the Hulses.
In January of 2002, before they were working for the Visitors Center and when they were living in Wever, “We began Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach. We received a letter that was postmarked Burlington, and it a whole diatribe against us.”
Hulse said the note essentially said, “You found your way into Iowa, now find your way out.” The letter was turned over to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, but nothing ever came of it.
“During this last summer, we received a letter postmarked Salt Lake City. It was full of cursing at us and the last words of that letter were “Leave Nauvoo.” The letter was not signed.
We appreciate your support
One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at Amazon.com.
Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.