Examining the claims of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland movement

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Pandemic falsehoods and “two lines of communication”

The crackpottery over at the FIRM Foundation blog continues unabated. This time, it comes from David W. Allan, who will be one of the keynote speakers at next month’s FIRM Foundation Conference.

Rian Nelson, who runs the FIRM Foundation’s blog, is a hardcore anti-vaxxer. He’s compared vaccines to sorcery and the occult and called pharmaceutical drugs “poisonous.” This, of course, runs face-first into the First Presidency’s recent counsel urging individuals to be vaccinated for COVID-19 which states, “Available vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective.”

The First Presidency’s letter of encouragement leaves Latter-day Saint anti-vaxxers in a state of cognitive dissonance. How can one sustain the Brethren while simultaneously believing that they’ve been duped by “BigPharma” or, even worse, are complicit with them? Cue David Allan, who has no medical background of any sort.

How does Allan thread this needle? First he tells us that Satan “uses the imperfections of [the Church’s] membership and leadership to impede the Church’s designed goal.” Having established that Church leaders are imperfect, he then informs us that the letter from the First Presidency was general counsel, not revelation. “Since this counsel didn’t line up with my database,” he explains, “I then in prayer asked the Lord how I can know.”

Allan doesn’t tell us what the answer to his prayer was. Instead, he did his own “research using some of the best experts on the planet,” from which he “determined that the theory that the only solution for the pandemic is a vaccination to be false.” Who are these experts? He lists fourteen individuals, each of whom is an anti-vax crusader or general conspiracy theorist. His list includes such luminaries as:

  • “Professor" Delores Cahill, who is no longer a professor, since she was relieved of her position at the University College of Dublin earlier this year. Cahill’s credentials are impressive, but she started going off the rails around 2016 when she published a peer-reviewed paper on HPV that was later retracted due to methodological problems. You can learn more about her recent bizarre statements and behavior here.
  • Dr. Ryan Cole, who also has impressive credentials but has claimed that COVID vaccines can cause cancer and autoimmune diseases, that the federal government has been suppressing ivermectin as a COVID treatment, and that vitamin D supplements are a better alternative to masks and social distancing. More about Dr. Cole here.
  • Dr. Sherri Tenpenny believes that COVID vaccines make people magnetic and are connected to 5G cellular transmissions. More about her here.

I bet if I went through all fourteen people in David Allan’s list of “best experts” that every one of them would be showing the same symptoms of the dreaded Nutbag Virus.

Allan concludes his blog post:
Going back to my main point of how to know if something is true is only if God tells you. It is critical for each of us to hearken to the voice of our Savior. We have the sure scriptural promise that as we treasure up His word, we shall not be deceived. Having our own personal revelation on this critical matter is critical at this time, trusting in the Lord and not the arm of flesh.

The Lord has given us warnings of the kinds of satanic lies of the globalists and many government leaders. They fit the scriptural descriptions perfectly, and we know the pandemic is one of Satan’s later-day [sic] strategies.
Starting with his second claim first, is David Allan actually implying that the First Presidency is spreading “satanic lies of the globalists”? It certainly seems that way to me—that, or Allan doesn’t realize the implications of what he writes.

To Allan’s claims about needing “our own personal revelation on this critical matter” and “trusting in the Lord and not the arm of flesh”—the “arm of the flesh” being the First Presidency, of course—this kind of thinking is precisely what Apostle Dallin H. Oaks warned the Saints about in his October 2010 General Conference address:
Elder Dallin H. Oaks October 2010 Two Lines of Communication I feel to add two other cautions we should remember in connection with this precious direct, personal line of communication with our Heavenly Father.

First, in its fulness the personal line does not function independent of the priesthood line. The gift of the Holy Ghost—the means of communication from God to man—is conferred by priesthood authority as authorized by those holding priesthood keys. It does not come merely by desire or belief. And the right to the continuous companionship of this Spirit needs to be affirmed each Sabbath as we worthily partake of the sacrament and renew our baptismal covenants of obedience and service.

Similarly, we cannot communicate reliably through the direct, personal line if we are disobedient to or out of harmony with the priesthood line. The Lord has declared that “the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness” (D&C 121:36). Unfortunately, it is common for persons who are violating God’s commandments or disobedient to the counsel of their priesthood leaders to declare that God has revealed to them that they are excused from obeying some commandment or from following some counsel. Such persons may be receiving revelation or inspiration, but it is not from the source they suppose. The devil is the father of lies, and he is ever anxious to frustrate the work of God by his clever imitations.
Sadly, the Saints have not been immune to the vast amounts of misinformation circulating on the internet. We’re now seeing more and more people like David Allan, Rian Nelson, Jonathan Neville, and Rod Meldrum who claim to know better than the sustained, ordained leaders of the Lord’s Church about vaccines, the Book of Mormon, Church history, and many other subjects. This can only lead to division and schismatic groups made up of people who have found that the counsel of Church leaders doesn’t fit their personal political views.

My prayer is the the Lord will frustrate the efforts of David Allan and other the Heartlanders and cause their misguided efforts to come to naught.

—Peter Pan


  1. Many of those who claim that to follow the brethren is to trust in the arm of the flesh will then--without taking the slightest notice of the wonderful irony--go on to trust in their *own* powers of perception vis-a-vis revelation.


    1. Precisely, Jack. David Allan tells us not to trust in “the arm of the flesh” while he simultaneously trusts the word of fourteen people who are peddling irresponsible conspiracy theories.

  2. It is so sad to see members of the Church struggle with this and even lose their faith over it. It is incomprehensible to me. (I mean, I understand intellectually how people can get to this point, but from my own experience it makes no sense.)


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