Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Please define “a lot”

As he did a few weeks ago, Jonathan Neville is once again making claims without any evidence whatsoever to back them up.

In his latest blog post, “Church history: a parody of history,” he asserts:
On my Letter VII blog, I noted that in the process of renaming Church historical sites, the staff did not change the name of the Hill Cumorah to “a hill in New York,” the way Saints, volume 1, refers to it.…

This is important because a lot of people expected them to drop the name Cumorah from that historic site.
[Emphasis added.]

Wait, what? “A lot of people expected” Church staff to “drop the name Cumorah”? Who are these “people,” Brother Neville? How many of them are there? Can you point to any examples of these people making such a claim?

Of course he can’t, because his claim is complete horse hockey (as Colonel Potter used to call it back at the 4077th). The very idea that the Church might change the name of the hill Cumorah in New York state is nothing more than Neville’s obsessive fever-dream.

Neville is, of course, agitated by the fact that Saints, the new official Church history with a foreword by the First Presidency, doesn’t tow the Heartlander line by affirming that the New York Cumorah is the same as the Cumorah in the Book of Mormon. He’s spread so much disinformation about this that Jed Woodworth and Matt Grow, two of the editors of the volume, were forced to respond publicly to his distortions of the truth.

But, Neville being Neville, he dismisses Woodworth and Grow’s reply and continues to bang away at the same, single note on his piano.
The hill Cumorah in western New York state
Still called the hill Cumorah, according to reports from reliable sources
And, of course, he also continues to misrepresent the views of those who disagree with him, accusing them of malicious intent instead of presenting their views charitably and engaging them with persuasive evidence and appealing arguments:
Our M2C* scholars and revisionist historians actually believe and teach that Joseph [Smith] named the hill “Cumorah” because of a false tradition started by unknown early Church members.

They also believe and teach that Oliver Cowdery lied when he wrote that it was a fact that the final battles of the Nephites and Jaredites took place around the “hill in New York.”

They also believe and teach that Brigham Young and others lied about Oliver and Joseph visiting the repository of all the Nephite records in the hill in New York.
Please note his use of the loaded terms false and lied. For Neville, the consummate black-and-white thinker, prophets can never be mistaken, never misinterpret passages of scripture, and never have their own opinions—no! They either knew the location of the hill Cumorah by revelation (Neville’s position) or they lied and misled the saints about a critically important doctrine (Neville’s caricature of his opponents’ position).

And so, Neville continues to press forward with his grand conspiracy theory, undeterred by facts or evidence, seemingly unaware that he’s implying that today’s prophets, seers, and revelators are witless dupes who are unable to see what is taking place throughout the Church.

—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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