Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Monday, August 26, 2019

“Whosoever loveth and maketh a lie”

Jonathan Neville is back at it again—repeating claims that have been specifically demonstrated to him to be untrue.

This time he’s again making the false claim that he made on August 9, 2019, that Ben Spackman, speaking at the 2019 FairMormon Conference, called Heartlanders “crazy fundamentalists”:
The second funny incident was during another Q&A. The speaker was asked what he thought about the Heartland movement. I’m told he replied, ”They’re a bunch of crazy fundamentalists.”

That comment says it all. Now, if you still believe what the prophets have taught, you’re ridiculed by the FairMormon intellectuals as a “fundamentalist.”
That same day I corrected Neville in a blog post in which I quoted Spackman’s comments directly from the video recording of the event. This is what Spackman said when he was asked to identify a group that was “pushing fundamentalism”:
There is a group that goes by the name the Heartlanders. They marry a particular geographic interpretation of the Book of Mormon—which is absolutely fine; you can think whatever you want about Book of Mormon geography—but they marry it with right-wing constitutionalist politics, young-earth creationism, an authoritarian view of prophets that is absolutely absolutist—it’s a “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”—and they claim that anyone who disagrees with them is apostate. They have taken to naming Church History [Department] employees and BYU professors who are “off base.” I think the Heartlanders are dangerous fundamentalists. (pause) Bottom line.
Note that Spackman did not call Heartlanders “crazy fundamentalists,” as Neville quoted him saying; he called them “dangerous fundamentalists.”

And he didn’t call them that for “believing what the prophets have taught,” as Neville further claims. He called them that for combining their views on Book of Mormon geography with “right-wing constitutionalist politics, young-earth creationism, an authoritarian view of prophets…[and] claim[ing] that anyone who disagrees with them is apostate.”

Since it seems Neville heard Spackman’s comment secondhand, I thought that correcting his mistaken quotation would put an end to the matter. Sadly, I was wrong.

On August 26, 2019, Neville repeated his misquotation of Spackman, only this time moving the quotation mark to indicate that “crazy” wasn’t in Spackman’s original statement:
Members of the Church, as well as people everywhere, deserve to know that there are still many members who believe the teachings of the prophets, starting with Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, regarding such basic ideas as the New York Cumorah and the translation of the plates. These aren’t crazy “fundamentalists” as some LDS intellectuals claim (such as one of the speakers at the recent FairMormon conference), but these are rational, faithful, spiritual people who are well informed and have made decisions based on all the facts.

[emphasis added]
Moving the question mark doesn’t change the fact that Neville is misstating and distorting what Spackman said.

Neville claims, in that very blog post and many others he’s published, to hate “censorship.” He states in that post, “I object to the ongoing practice of so many LDS intellectuals to portray their own opinions at the only truth” [emphasis his].

You know what I hate, Brother Neville? Lies. And the liars who tell them.

Based on my reading of Revelation 22:15, 2 Nephi 9:34, and D&C 63:17, it seems that the Lord agrees with me about that.

—Peter Pan

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