Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, M2C intellectual

Mary Whitmer was the wife of Peter Whitmer Sr., the mother of David Whitmer (one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon), and the mother of four of the Eight Witnesses. It was at her home in Fayette, New York, that the Prophet Joseph Smith completed the translation of the Book of Mormon in June 1829.

Mary herself was a witness of the Book of Mormon, being shown the gold plates by an angel who appeared to her as a elderly man. The identity of this angel has never been conclusively established, although most Latter-day Saint leaders and historians have concluded that it was Moroni. One account, recorded in 1878 by Mary’s grandson, John C. Whitmer, indicates that it was Nephi:
I have heard my grandmother (Mary Musselman Whitmer) say on several occasions that she was shown the plates of the Book of Mormon by a holy angel, whom she always called Brother Nephi. (She undoubtedly refers to Moroni, the angel who had the plates in charge.)
The parenthetical comments in that quote were written by Andrew Jenson, assistant historian of the Church, who interviewed Peter C. Whitmer.

The identity of the angel is of paramount importance to Jonathan Neville. As of this date, he’s written at least sixty-six blog posts on the matter, calling the identification of the angel as Moroni “a patently false story” cooked up by (who else?) “Book of Mormon Central, the Saints book, and our other M2C* intellectuals.”

Neville blogged about the identity of the angel as recently as yesterday (October 2, 2020).

For Neville, it’s not just that those who identify the angel as Moroni are wrong; they are malicious in their intent. It’s yet another piece of the grand conspiracy he’s dreamed up and that animates his years of blog posts, self-published books, YouTube videos, and presentations at Heartlander conferences.

At the same time, Neville continually insists that Latter-day Saints should follow “the teachings of the prophets and apostles”—a phrase he’s used in 210 separate blog posts as of this date—concerning the location of the hill Cumorah.

So my ears certainly pricked up this afternoon during the second session of the October 2020 General Conference of the Church, when Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made this interesting statement (beginning at 7:51 in the video):
Our Church history is anchored in the lived testimony and gospel journey of each member, including Mary Whitmer, the faithful sister to whom Moroni showed the Book of Mormon plates.
Elder Garrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaking in General Conference, October 2020

Elder Garrit W. Gong, the apostle who, according to Jonathan Neville, taught false doctrine at October 2020 General Conference.

I think this sets a record for the shortest shelf life for any of Neville’s blog posts.

Once again, we are confronted with an example of living prophets and apostles openly teaching something that Jonathan Neville has condemned as false and heretical. Neville claims that he and other Heartlanders are following “the teachings of the prophets and apostles,” but again we see that by that he really means they believe in selected teachings of selected (dead) prophets.

Perhaps Neville will chalk Elder Gong’s remark up to the Brethren being duped by conspiring Church employees, as he’s claimed before when official Church publications have disagreed with his pet theories.

Or perhaps, God willing, he’ll reconsider his passionately-held but eccentric views and bring them more in line with the teachings of living prophets and apostles.

—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 comment:

  1. Why on earth does it matter so much to Neville who the angel was? I know he claims that "M2C" advocates say it is Moroni in order to support "M2C" (although what Moroni being the angel has to do with Book of Mormon geography, I don't know), but why is he so concerned with the identity of the angel? Who does he think it is, and why is his idea of the angel's identity more valid?

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