Examining the claims of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland movement

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, SITH intellectual

It’s becoming more abundantly clear with each passing day that Jonathan Neville and other Heartlanders reject the teachings and beliefs of living prophets and apostles. Instead, they cling to a particular strain of conservative thinking represented in the writings of a select handful of dead prophets.

Jonathan Neville, James and Hannah Stoddard, and other prominent Heartlanders are actively trying to weaken the Saints’ trust in the leadership of the current First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by claiming that these leaders are allowing Church magazines and books to publish a false version of Church history. They are not just innocently disagreeing with this or that opinion of a prophet or an apostle; they are earnestly working to undermine the united efforts of the leading priesthood quorums of The Church of Jesus Christ.

For example, Neville strenuously denies that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by placing his seer stone into hat and using it to receive the revealed English text. He has published over fifty blog posts on this subject, as well as a 185-page book. He’s even coined the ominous-sounding acronym “SITH” (for “Stone In The Hat”) to describe that theory.

Neville also claims that rogue historians and intellectuals are to blame for the stone-in-the-hat showing up in Church publications. He’s even gone so far as to accuse a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of teaching this supposed falsehood. So far, however, he hasn’t gone after President Russell M. Nelson and Elder Quinten L. Cook, who have also publicly taught about Joseph’s use of a seer stone.

And Neville has also, so far, completely ignored this testimony from (then-) President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, which he shared on social media in 2016:
So, what’s it going to be, Brother Neville? If you’re right, then the First Presidency is wrong and is teaching falsehoods about the origin of the Book of Mormon and the prophetic gifts of Joseph Smith. If the First Presidency is right, then you are wrong and are fighting against the Lord’s chosen prophets, seers, and revelators.

As the well-known hymn asks, “Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Now is the time to show. We ask it fearlessly: Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?

Is it the First Presidency? Or Jonathan Neville? You be the judge.

—Peter Pan


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