Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Do “M2C intellectuals” refuse to engage with Heartlanders?

As I wrote about earlier this month, Jonathan Neville has a formulaic habit of simply repeating the same thing over and over again, only in slightly different ways. This remains true in his April 22, 2019, blog post, “The M2C hoax – off the rails.” Practically everything Neville writes in this post is the same old threadbare Heartlander talking points, only repackaged with a snarky new comic.

To be sure, these talking points are entirely bogus. No, “M2C intellectuals”* are not driven by a superiority complex to put themselves above the prophets, as Neville claims. Rather, they recognize that the Church has no official position on Book of Mormon geography and so they do not fallaciously appeal to authority to settle their pet theories, as Neville and other Heartlanders do.

But there’s one statement in his post that is especially galling: Neville actually claims with a straight face that “M2C” proponents “refuse to engage with anyone who question[s] their cartel.”

I legitimately cannot tell if Neville is joking or serious. He surely can’t be that wantonly and willfully ignorant of what sort of publications have emerged in the past decade or so that respond to the Heartland hoax and engage with its proponents.

Here are just a few of the publications from “M2C intellectuals” that respond to or otherwise engage with the Heartland hoax:


Perhaps what Neville meant to say is that “M2C intellectuals”—otherwise known as real scholars—don’t accept and recognize the conspiracy-mongering, pseudo-science, and junk history that is the Heartland hoax. But that’s not nearly the same as claiming they refuse to engage the Heartland hoax.

—Captain Hook

Editor’s note: Shortly after Captain Hook published this post, Jonathan Neville wrote that Mesoamericanist Book of Mormon scholars “claimed” to have “carefully consider[ed]…and explain[ed] the reasons for rejecting” his alternative explanations of Book of Mormon geography, but “their treatment consists of one or two brief outcome-oriented articles.” You read that correctly—“one or two” articles. The Captain has listed fifteen articles, above, to which could be added at least several others, including Joe V. Anderson’s review of Neville’s books, Moroni’s America and Letter VII. — Peter

* “M2C” is Jonathan Neville’s acronym for the theory that the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica and that the hill Cumorah in the Book of Mormon is not the same hill in New York where Joseph Smith received the plates of Mormon.

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