Examining the claims of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland movement

Friday, May 15, 2020

My latest example of “outrage theater”

Today, Jonathan Neville deployed another nastygram attacking Daniel Peterson, whom he apparently sees as the root cause of all that’s wrong with Latter-day Saint scholarship and who is probably responsible for the recent coronavirus outbreak as well:
I often hear from people who wonder what I think of Dan “the Interpreter” and his rationalizations for M2C.* Like more and more people, I ignore his bizarre rants, but once in a while, when enough people bring them to my attention, I’ll discuss them here.…

We have an ongoing dilemma with Dan’s nonsense. Unchallenged, he just makes Mormonism look more and more ridiculous, but he has his followers whose bias confirmation is so strong, they don’t think critically. They evangelize Dan’s “interpretations” and M2C continues, unimpeded.

If you dare to point out how ludicrous his pontifications are, he’ll lash out by playing the victim and his followers will accuse you of apostasy. (One of his minions—who I think is actually Dan himself under an alias—has an anonymous blog named after me, in a classic example of the ad hominem logical fallacy that Dan made famous at FARMS. You can expect some outrage theater from Dan and his alter ego in response to this post.)
So much fun stuff to unpack here, not the least of which is Neville’s attempt to box me in by claiming that any response to his blog post is “lashing out” and “playing the victim.” (Respond and I’m being petty; don’t respond and I must not have any response. Heads, Neville wins; tails, I lose.)

Yes, between Jonathan Neville and Daniel Peterson, it’s definitely Peterson who goes on “bizarre rants.” <eyeroll emoji>

Also, don’t forget that it’s mean for this blog to be a pun on Neville’s name, but it’s totally cool for Neville to refer to me as “one of [Peterson’s] minions.” (I’m not a minion; I’m a sycophant! Get it right!)

Honestly, though, I sincerely doubt that Neville knows what an ad hominem fallacy actually is. Ad hominem is attacking the person instead of responding to their argument.

For example, it would be an ad hominem fallacy for me to write, “You can’t trust anything Jonathan Neville says; after all, he once ran a quack cross-border medical clinic that injected people with urine to cure their cancer and was shut down because the Federal Trade Commission took him to court and threatened him with a huge fine.” That statement may be true, but it has nothing to do with Neville’s claims about Book of Mormon geography and Church history; that’s why this blog focuses solely on Neville’s claims, not his person. And, as I’ve already pointed out—Hello? Is this thing on?I’m not Daniel Peterson. I’m flattered that Neville would think that I am him, but he couldn’t be more wrong.

So, that was today’s dose of outrage theater from your humble servant. I trust it did not disappoint.
Derek Zoolander dance monkey dance animated gif
—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. Please correct your suggestion that the injected substance was urine. It was insulin.

    1. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “BioPulse therapies are unusual and include inducing daily comas in patients over periods of six to 12 weeks, injecting vaccines made from a patient’s urine and giving massive intravenous doses of vitamin C.”

      (“Legality of Clinic’s Therapies Questioned,” Salt Lake Tribune, February 13, 2001; https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=100E8113DD516382&itype=storyID)

    2. Also this, from the National Council Against Health Fraud: “Questionable treatments reportedly provided by BioPulse included inducing daily comas in patients over periods of six to 12 weeks; injecting patients with vaccines made from their own urine, and massive intravenous doses of vitamin C. According to a filing with the SEC, such treatments accounted for 90 percent of the company’s revenues and profit. BioPulse International reported $3.1 million in revenues in fiscal year 2000.”

      (NCAHF News, Jan/Feb 2001, Volume 24, Issue #1; https://www.ncahf.org/nl/2001/1-2.html)

    3. I don't think giving insulin to cancer patients instead of a urine-based vaccine to cancer patients is any better.

      Tumor cells have insulin receptors, and stimulation of the insulin receptors has been shown to play a major role in the growth and development of tumor cells in many cancers. (This work goes back to the 1990s). [See a recent review here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356071/]

      So the same type of dangerous, ignorant arrogance that leads to cancer quackery turns out to be not that different from the dangerous, ignorant arrogance that leads to religious and scriptural quackery.

      At least we have no evidence of accusations that the Church's leaders have been deceived and led astray by a cabal of other Church members to hide the "truth" about a cancer "cure."

    4. And don't even get me started on inducing daily comas in patients for 6-12 weeks. (One wonders if these were induced via hypoglycemia from the insulin administration?)

      I wonder if these patients were intubated to appropriately manage their airway while comatose. (If the coma was very transient, this might not have been needed, I suppose.)

      And then one wonders what it would feel like to have daily intubation/extubation for weeks on end.

      It's impossible to parody this stuff.


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