Examining the claims of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland movement

Friday, November 27, 2020

President Russell M. Nelson, SITH intellectual

It’s been rather quiet on this blog for the last month, mostly because Jonathan Neville has been posting deeply unfunny (and often inaccurate) memes instead of making actual claims that can be examined.

Today a friend of mine pointed me to this video on the Church’s website, which appears to have been posted last May and overlooked by me at the time. President Russell M. Nelson and Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President, discussed the translation of the Book of Mormon at the site in Pennsylvania where Joseph Smith translated it:
Note this interesting comment from President Nelson, beginning at timestamp 3:30:
We have a lot of suggestions about how it [the translation of the Book of Mormon] was done. We know that they [Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery] had a table like this. We know they had the golden plates, covered usually, and Joseph used these—the Urim and Thummim, seer stones—in the hat, and it was easier for him to see the light [from the stones] when he’d take that position [placing the hat to his face].
President Russell M. Nelson at Harmony, PennsylvaniaAfter this, President Nelson compared Joseph’s use of the stones in a hat to President Nelson’s use of a mobile phone to receive messages that only he can see. (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, another confirmed SITH intellectual, used the same analogy in a June 2016 Facebook post.)

And so we have yet another example of how Jonathan Neville’s insistent, repeated assertion that Joseph Smith never used a stone in a hat to translate the Book of Mormon is completely contrary to the teachings of living prophets and apostles, and how what Neville calls “the stone in the hat theory” (or “SITH”) isn’t simply part of some conspiracy by “intellectuals” to lead members of the Church astray.

My friend commented, tongue firmly in cheek, “Can a prophet be led astray? Yes, if the people leading him astray are the M2C* citation cartel and the fine young scholars at Book of Mormon Central. Neville should write to his stake president to express how he thinks President Nelson has been deceived.”

—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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