Examining the claims of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland movement

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

How to work together, and not to

On August 14, 2019, Jonathan Neville published a blog post whose title asks, “How can we work together?” In it, he reflects on the difficulty he’s had getting along with those he has labeled “M2C”*:
I understand that M2C is important to the M2C intellectuals and their followers. So I’m wondering, how can everyone work together to advance the cause of the Book of Mormon, despite differences of opinion about how to interpret and apply the text to issues of historicity and geography?

[In other words], how can everyone work together?
I’m going to assume that Neville is sincere in asking this question.

Let me give you a few suggestions on how to work together with people on the other side, Brother Neville:

1. Stop calling people names. Referring to those you disagree with as the “M2C citation cartel” and their views as “Mesomania” are examples of the ongoing ridicule you lay upon people who hold different views than you do.

You demand respect, but you’re unwilling to give respect. Changing that would be a big first step.

2. Stop misrepresenting the people you disagree with and their beliefs. This blog has numerous examples of the way you misrepresent people who believe the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica. The very blog post in which you ask how can everyone work together misrepresents those who disagree with you:
[The “M2C citation cartel] believe only they are qualified to interpret the scriptures (hence, Dan P[eterson]’s Interpreter), and they don’t even want members of the Church to know about alternatives.
Brother Peterson has already corrected this misrepresentation numerous times (see here, here, and here, for example), but you continue to persist in making it. (And Peterson responded again today.)

Being truthful is a critical character trait for Latter-day Saints and all believers in Christ.

3. Stop claiming that those you disagree with are unfaithful. Accusing Church employees, professors, and scholars of “rejecting the prophets,” withholding information from the Brethren, and leading members of the Church astray is deeply offensive, and yet you persist in doing these things, week after week, month after month, year after year.

As I wrote last month, “The sad apparent truth is that Jonathan Neville is not self-aware enough to understand how his rhetoric is perceived by others. He views himself as being on a righteous mission to get people to ‘accept the teachings of the prophets’ that he considers to be divinely inspired, but his name-calling, his accusations of unfaithfulness, and his misrepresentation of the beliefs and arguments of those with whom he disagrees is the root cause of this entire conflict.”

—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.


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