Examining the claims of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland movement

Friday, April 16, 2021

Jonathan Neville’s pants are on fire

It’s simply unfathomable to me how Jonathan Neville can make a statement like this with a straight face:
For the first 200 years of the restoration, believers accepted the claims of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery that the Book of Mormon was a translation of ancient records kept on metal plates. They rejected the claims of critics that Joseph merely read words that appeared on a stone he put in a hat (SITH).

About 20 years ago, LDS scholars re-interpreted the historical evidence to reject what Oliver and Joseph said in favor of SITH. Lately, SITH has gained more widespread acceptance.
Jonathan Neville liar, liar, pants on fire This claim is absolutely baseless and thoroughly false. As the Neville Land blog has demonstrated repeatedly, eyewitnesses to the translation process, early Latter-day Saint publications, Church leaders in the 19th through the 21st centuries, and official histories published by the Church have accepted and taught that Joseph Smith used a seer stone that he placed into a hat—along with the Nephite interpreters—to translate the Book of Mormon.

The only believing Latter-day Saint of any standing who “rejected” the eyewitness testimonies of seer-stone translation process was Joseph Fielding Smith, who wrote that he, “personally, [did] not believe that this stone was used for this purpose.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:225–226.) Heartlanders have taken Elder Smith’s quote and run with it, considering it to have more weight than the statements of all the other witnesses and authorities combined. In doing so, they have fallen into serious error and are leading others into the same error.

President Russell M. Nelson, the current prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has repeatedly taught the “stone in the hat” as factual history, but Jonathan Neville simply ignores President Nelson’s teachings and continues to press his “alternative facts.”

His dishonesty is plainly manifest for all who have eyes to see.

—Peter Pan


  1. When Neville at the end of that blog post says, "I'm fine with people believing whatever they want, of course.", it's just yet another instance of him lying about the self-imposed orthodoxy tests he places upon believers. I'm trying to not cast too many stones here, but his continual usage of "LDS" along with his backward theories based in ethnocentrism and a cherry-picked historical record makes him seem especially subversive.

    Does he believe the Church is off-course? Well that's apparent. How MUCH does he believe the Church is off-course? That's what I want to know.

    As usual, fantastic blog, Peter Pan. Big fan.


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