Examining the claims of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland movement

Friday, June 11, 2021

The whackadoodle world of the Firm Foundation Facebook page

I’ve mentioned Rian Nelson’s Facebook posts before. Nelson runs the Facebook page for Rod Meldrum’s FIRM Foundation (the “Foundation for Indigenous Research and Mormonism Foundation”) as well as FIRM’s blog. And both are simply overflowing with crazy conspiracy theories, including material about QAnon, globalist cabals, and anti-vaccination (just to name a few).

Nelson believes in so many conspiracy theories that he can’t even keep it straight if Freemasonry is a great evil like Satanism and the Illuminati, or if Freemasonry “promote[s] self-improvement, brotherhood, charity, and fidelity to truth.”

Sometimes Nelson’s posts—and the comments they generate from other Heartlanders—border on the frightening. Take a look at this Facebook post from June 9, 2021: Nelson and other Heartlanders love to mine old quotes from Ezra Taft Benson to support their conspiracy mindset. Elder Benson—until he was told to tone it down by President McKay and President Kimball—would frequently promote anti-communist conspiracy theories, even from the pulpit. He certainly wasn’t a believer in Nelson’s long list of conspiracies, but that doesn’t stop Nelson from using Elder Benson to further his own agenda.

Even more disturbing, however, are the comments on Nelson’s Facebook post.

One disturbed Heartlander claimed, “Ezra Taft Benson was a very different man, from the current leadership, and the Church in 2021 is VERY different from the church in 1972.” And Heartlanders wonder why I accuse them of being on the verge of apostasy from the Lord’s Church.

Another commenter claimed that “DC”—presumably referring to Washington DC, the capital of the United States—“must fall before the Lord’s millennial reign from the new Jerusalem.” Nelson responded, “It will.” Exactly how this fall will take place neither of them said. I can only guess that it will involve some sort of uprising, similar to—but more successful than—the crazed mob violence that took place in the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.

Meanwhile, today’s prophets and apostles—who Heartlanders apparently reject, based on the comments above—continue to teach peace and obedience to law. President Dallin H. Oaks stated in October 2020 General Conference, “Though Jesus’s teachings were revolutionary, He did not teach revolution or lawbreaking.” In April 2021 General Conference, he taught:
We must pray for the Lord to guide and bless all nations and their leaders. This is part of our article of faith. Being subject to presidents or rulers of course poses no obstacle to our opposing individual laws or policies. It does require that we exercise our influence civilly and peacefully within the framework of our constitutions and applicable laws. On contested issues, we should seek to moderate and unify.
And so the gap between the teachings of the Lord’s apostles and the leaders of the Heartland hoax continues to widen.

—Peter Pan


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