Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Those who live in glass houses, pt. 10

(Part ten of a series.)

glass house In his latest broadside against any and all things connected to Book of Mormon Central, this week Jonathan Neville published a petty attack on their new website, Evidence Central, a site that defends the historicity of Book of Mormon and the truth of restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

This statement from Neville’s latest hit piece is deeply ironic in at least two ways. (The bold formatting is Neville’s.)
A moment’s reflection may remind us that the first principle of the gospel is faith, specifically faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Next is repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“Reliance on evidence” doesn’t make the list. Actually, the Articles of Faith don’t mention or imply that “reliance on evidence” has anything to do with the gospel. They are Articles of Faith, not Articles of Evidence.

People can believe whatever they want, but it does no one any good to simply censor the teachings of the prophets while promoting scholarly theories as “evidence.”…

[Evidence Central offers] a restatement of scholarly theories and interpretations, focused on promoting the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory and the stone-in-the-hat (SITH) theory, both of which directly contradict what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Evidence Central is an elaborate effort to indoctrinate Latter-day Saints to accept the theories of scholars, while rejecting the teachings of the prophets on these topics.
First, it’s quite bold of Neville to rail against “reliance on evidence” and appeal to the Fourth Article of Faith when he himself has spoken repeatedly at Rodney Meldrum’s regular conferences that are held under the name “Book of Mormon Evidence.” Meldrum’s site sells Neville’s books along with DVDs of his presentations at these conferences.

So, Neville doesn’t appear to be opposed to evidence, per se, only to evidence that “rejects the teachings of the prophets” on the location of the hill Cumorah and how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon.

Neville, of course, doesn’t bother to address the inconvenient fact that prominent Church leaders have questioned—or at least have been hesitant to be definitive about—the “one Cumorah” idea. These leaders include President Anthony W. Ivins, Elder John A. Widtsoe, and President Harold B. Lee (see here and here.)

Neville also continues to falsely assert that the claim that Joseph Smith used a seer stone, in addition to the Urim and Thummim, to translate the Book of Mormon “rejects the teachings of the prophets,” while simultaneously ignoring that the living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, has repeatedly taught that Joseph used to seer stone to translate the Book of Mormon.

If anyone should be concerned about using evidence to contradict prophetic teachings, it’s Jonathan Neville, not Evidence Central.

—Peter Pan


  1. While the "Mesoamerican/two Cumorahs" can rightly be called a theory (one that I happen to agree with), it is a little silly to call "the-stone-in-the-hat" a theory. Isn't there ample historical evidence demonstrating Joseph Smith's seer stone existence and his use of it to be pretty much facts? (Pardon my French for using the profane word "evidence"...)

    1. Yep. Neville has to ignore, discount, or explain away (with his “demonstration” theory) multiple eyewitnesses who repeatedly testified that Joseph used a seer stone to translate.


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