Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Topics Jonathan Neville can’t tell the truth about

Walt Disney's Pinocchio
Over on Book of Mormon Central America, one of his (dozens of) blogs, Jonathan Neville has been throwing David Whitmer, Martin Harris, and Emma Smith under the bus to defend his eccentric, singular views on the translation of the Book of Mormon (here and here.) We’ll post a review when he’s finished with that series of blog posts.

In the meantime, today we’ll look at a short post on another of his (dozens of) blogs, Book of Mormon Wars (are over). In “Topics we can't talk about” (July 30, 2019), Neville continues to misrepresent what the Church has said in its Gospel Topics essay on Book of Mormon geography. He writes:
I, along with many other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, notice that there are elephants in the room that no one can talk about.

It's unfortunate because many of these elephants exist because of past mistakes, and these mistakes can be resolved fairly easily be refocusing on the teachings of the prophets instead of the teachings of modern intellectuals.

For example, there is a lot of confusion about Church history and Book of Mormon historicity that people don't feel free to discuss. The recent Gospel Topics Essay on Book of Mormon geography expressly prohibits discussing the topic in Church settings.
FALSE. The Gospel Topics essay does not “expressly prohibit discussing [Book of Mormon geography] in Church settings.” This blog has pointed out several times that it actually says:
Individuals may have their own opinions regarding Book of Mormon geography and other such matters about which the Lord has not spoken. However, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles urge leaders and members not to advocate those personal theories in any setting or manner that would imply either prophetic or Church support for those theories. All parties should strive to avoid contention on these matters. [Italics added.]
It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to see that the First Presidency and the Twelve want Jonathan Neville and other Heartlanders to stop claiming that their theories of Book of Mormon geography are supported by “the teachings of the prophets,” while other theories (including the Mesoamerican geography) disregard or disrespect the prophets.

Outside of Church settings, like on Neville’s (dozens of) blogs, he’s free to make any claims he wants. However, I would suggest that following the counsel of the First Presidency and the Twelve in every setting would be the wisest course of action.

—Peter Pan


  1. It is interesting that you point out that the Gospel Topics Essay on Book of Mormon states, "All parties should strive to avoid contention on these matters." and yet the entire purpose of your blog is to cause contention.

    I'm not saying that I disagree with your viewpoints, I agree with them. I'm just pointing out some possible hypocrisy.

    1. Hi, Anonymous!

      I must point out that it’s Jonathan Neville who’s firing the shots; I’m merely pointing out what he writes. He’s the one who is stirring up contention by accusing virtually everyone who works for the Church of being part of a massive conspiracy.

      Critics of the Church, like Neville, should not be permitted to make what the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Twelve sometimes called “uncontested slam dunks.” Hence this blog.

      Yours truly,



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