Examining the claims of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland movement

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Just how clueless is Jonathan Neville?

The Captain and I have both been busy and unable to find time to blog this week (I with a busy church calling and he with work), but I wanted to take a moment to notice a few of Jonathan Neville’s recent blog posts.

In a post that varies between unintentionally hilarious and vaguely disturbing, entitled “We love Book of Mormon Central (90%)” (May 28, 2019), Neville writes:
On a personal level, I like everyone I’ve met who participates in the M2C* citation cartel.

Most of the Church members I know who still believe the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah feel the same way about the people in the M2C citation cartel. We stipulate that everyone involved with the cartel is faithful, devoted, educated, intelligent, loving, wonderful, etc.

If we didn’t love them, we wouldn’t care enough to offer constructive criticism. None of our criticisms are personal in nature.
Yes, Neville likes everyone very much who participates in the “cartel” that he believes is trying to deceive the Brethren and destroy the faith of Latter-day Saints, specially the youth of the Church and investigators.

Neville’s statement makes as much sense as saying, “I love everyone I’ve met who participates in the Gadianton band of robbers.”

And claiming that “none of our criticisms are personal in nature” is belied by how he continually refers to those who disagree with him using derogatory and offensive terms like “Book of Mormon Central Censor” and “FairlyMormon,” and calling BMC’s KnoWhy series of articles “No-Wise.” His blog is littered with taunts and slurs that a third-grader would be embarrassed to use, yet he seriously claims that his criticisms aren’t “personal”? Good grief.

Next, in what could be the most bizarre thing he’s yet written, Neville took a passage he read in personal scripture study—the Parable of the Wicket Tenants (Luke 20:9–19)—and retitled it “the parable of Cumorah” (May 29, 2019). In this post, he makes numerous damnably false claims without presenting any evidence for them, including:

  • “The M2C intellectuals teach their followers that President Oliver Cowdery and all the other prophets and apostles had no authority to teach the New York Cumorah.”
  • The M2C intellectuals reason among themselves, saying ‘If we shall say the prophets are inspired, Church members will ask, why don’t you believe them?’”
  • “After observing how intellectuals in the Church have repudiated the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah, current Church leaders have left it to each member of the Church to decide for ourselves whether to believe the prophets or the intellectuals.”
  • “The Lord sent his prophets to teach the New York Cumorah, starting with Moroni teaching Joseph Smith, President Oliver Cowdery teaching the Church, and all the subsequent prophets and apostles reaffirming these teachings.Intellectuals in the Church have cast out these prophets, one after the other. Their followers likewise cast out the prophets, preferring the wisdom of men as taught by CES and BYU.”

And perhaps Neville’s most revealing statement of all was this:
Those members of the Church who still believe the prophets can be confident that soon enough, “the stone which the builders rejected, the same will become the head of the corner.”
That quote—spoken by Jesus in Luke 20:17, quoting Psalm 118:22—is supposed to refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, but Neville has literally reinterpreted it to apply to his god, the New York Cumorah.

Finally, in his bonus weekend blog post, “BMC, 43, and the future” (June 1, 2019), Neville apparently dashed off the following paragraph without bothering to consider its broader implications:
A couple of years ago, representatives of Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter Foundation, and FairMormon spent a day with the Quorum of the Twelve, persuading the Brethren that they could provide faithful answers. That’s why you see these M2C advocates everywhere in Church materials, including the Gospel Topics Essays, the notes in the Joseph Smith Papers, the Saints book, etc. It’s all M2C, all the time. But despite the efforts of the M2C intellectuals, none of the Brethren have ever repudiated their predecessors’ teachings about the New York Cumorah.)
It is absolutely stunning that he can mention that Book of Mormon Central, the Interpreter Foundation, and FairMormon are having meetings with the Brethren and still claim, multiple times in the same blog post, that these organizations are “repudiating the prophets.” Jonathan Neville must truly believe that the the members of the Quorum of the Twelve are so stupid that they can’t see what these organizations are doing.

Or perhaps it is Neville who is the ignoramus for being unable to grasp that the Brethren have confidence in these organizations and agree with the approach they’re taking to gospel study, including Book of Mormon geography.

Who’s “repudiating the prophets” now, Brother Neville?

—Peter Pan

* “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.


  1. You boys are falling into the contention trap!!This is an old and tired LDS brother putting in his 2 cents worth concerning the heartland discussion.I personally know many of the combatants and appreciate their zeal and enthusiasm.The thing that is disconcerting to me is the childish name calling and the ego based one upmanship practised on both sides of the argument.Each side clinging to their greater knowledge delighting in the fact that they are having the last word.The fact is most people don't care much about the minutiae ,Instead of writing another insulting blog entry I would gently suggest that both sides try somehow to get along helping each other rather than sparring continually .Perhaps an arm wrestling event or pie eating contest could lead to better feelings.Remember that he who so shall ,so shall he who! Steve Glenn Provo.Utah

    1. Thanks for your comment, Steve. If only Jonathan Neville and other Heartlanders wanted to “get along” and help each other instead of writing nastygrams about how intellectually dishonest those who disagree with them are and how there is a (supposed) massive conspiracy in the Church to keep their views from being seen and heard.

      This blog exists solely because Neville has, for years, been making false claims and misrepresenting those who disagree with him. Until recently, he was doing so unchallenged. Captain Hook and I firmly believe that he’s gone uncontested far too long. We intend to push back and demonstrate how inexcusable his falsehoods are. Our hope is to warn the saints before they fall for the Heartland hoax.

      — Peter


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