Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Monday, October 19, 2020

Jonathan Neville’s passive–aggressive personality

In a post the other day, I mentioned Jonathan Neville’s “continual posting of passive–aggressive statements.” He dropped another blog post today that perfectly reflects this, so I thought I’d use that as an example of his style.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term or are are uncertain of the definition of passive–aggressive:
Passive–aggressive behavior is when you express negative feelings indirectly instead of openly talking about them.…

Someone who uses passive aggression may feel angry, resentful, or frustrated, but they act neutral, pleasant, or even cheerful. They then find indirect ways to show how they really feel.
Examples of passive aggression show up in most of Neville’s blog posts. Most often, they’re reflected in how he refers to those who disagree with Heartlander views of Book of Mormon geography and the hill Cumorah.

In his October 19, 2020, blog post “Logos and perspective,” he criticizes Book of Mormon Central’s use of a Mayan glyph in their logo. (This is the same logo that was formerly used by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.)
Logo of Book of Mormon Central
In this post, Neville tells us:
Those who read my blogs know that I have great respect and fondness for the members of the M2C* citation cartel. All those I’ve met are great people, sincere, dedicated, smart, etc.

While I disagree with their interpretations of the text and the relevant extrinsic evidence, it doesn’t bother me in the least that other people have different opinions.
Despite his supposed “respect and fondness” for these “great people” with whom he disagrees, he persists in referring to them as “the M2C citation cartel.” That term that is not just inaccurate; one can also reasonably infer from its use that he is comparing his opponents to an international crime syndicate.

Neville responded to that concern back on September 3rd, not by apologizing and changing his terminology, but by making any offense taken at the use of the term “cartel” the fault of those who interpreted it in a negative light (!):
Apparently some of the members of the M2C citation cartel…consider the acronym “M2C” pejorative, and they think the term “citation cartel” invokes images of drug cartels in Latin America.

Such paranoia is a good example of how members (and employees) of a citation cartel think and operate. The credentialed class all too often take personal offense to differences of opinion, resort to academic bullying, and employ censorship to protect their intellectual cartels.
So, according to Neville, the problem isn’t his choice to use potentially offensive words; the problem is those who take offense, because they are “paranoid,” “resort to academic bullying, and employ censorship”—a textbook example of blame-shifting.

Back to his October 19th post:

After expressing his “respect and fondness” for these “great people” with whom he disagrees—as well as claiming that the matter is “a simple difference of perspective” and accepting “diversity of thought”—he then proceeds to belittle and disparage these “great people”:

  • He claims that, for people such as himself, the Book of Mormon Central logo “represents completely closed minds and bias confirmation presented in the guise of scholarship.”
  • He claims “this logo is the antithesis of the Church’s position of neutrality.” (A subject that he completely misunderstands or continually misrepresents.)
  • He calls the “great people” who work for Book of Mormon Central “hirelings,” a defamatory term that refers to “a person who works only for pay, especially in a menial or boring job, with little or no concern for the value of the work.” (These “hirelings” are the same people he has referred to as “fine young scholars” nearly seventy times in other passive–aggressive posts.)
  • These “hirelings,” he tells us, “spend their time trying to convince Church members that the prophets are wrong,” and Book of Mormon Central’s logo “represents a deliberate choice to repudiate the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah.” Yet this completely contradicts his earlier claim that these same people are “sincere” and “dedicated”!

“Once those who identify themselves with this M2C logo understand how the rest of us perceive it,” Neville concludes, ”maybe they will be a little more understanding of our point of view.”

Absolutely incredible. Neville longs for people who are part of the “M2C citation cartel” to understand how he and other Heartlanders perceive its meaning, yet he himself is completely unaware of how deeply insulting he is—over, and over, and over again—toward them.

“Unlike some of my critics,” he writes, “I don’t resort to name-calling, accusations of apostasy, etc.” Yet he calls those with whom he disagrees “hirelings” in the very same post.

When I claim that Neville and his cohorts are flirting with apostasy, I’m not “resorting” to anything—I mean it. For evidence of this, look no further than his other post today on one of his other blogs where he criticizes Saints, the Church’s new official history with a foreword by the First Presidency: In that post he clearly implies that the Church historians who wrote Saints are like employees of the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The Church’s General Handbook defines apostasy as “repeatedly acting in clear and deliberate public opposition to the Church, its doctrine, its policies, or its leaders.” If Neville’s continual public opposition to the way the Church’s leaders and historians describe its history isn’t apostasy, then I don’t know what else one could legitimately call it.

—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.


Post a Comment

Thoughtful comments are welcome and invited. All comments are moderated.

Popular Posts

Search This Blog