Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Brigham Young, M2C intellectual

President Brigham Young made the following statement a letter written in 1876 dealing with the issue of missions and the Mormon settlements in Arizona. He wrote:
Nor do I expect we shall stop at Arizona, but I look forward to the time when the settlements of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints will extend right through to the City of Old Mexico, and from thence on through Central America to the land where the Nephites flourished in the Golden era of their history, and this great backbone of the American Continent be filled, north and south, with the cities and temples of the people of God. In this great work I anticipate the children of Nephi, of Laman and Lemuel will take no small part.

—Brigham Young to William C. Staines, 11 January 1876, Letterbook 14:124–26 [Church catalog linkdownload image]
Brigham’s expectation could well be considered a prophecy: Church membership in Mexico has grown from just 2,314 in 1920 to 1,481,530 in 2020. In Mexico, there are thirteen operating temples, one under construction, and two more have been announced. The first convert in Guatemala wasn’t baptized until 1947; now there are 281,465 members there, plus two operating temples, one under construction, and one more announced. Truly “this great backbone of the American Continent” has been “filled, north and south, with the cities and temples of the people of God,” and the descendants of Lehi in those countries have taken “no small part” in that growth.

Yet, Heartlanders would have us believe that the Nephites flourished in their Golden era across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo. Jonathan Neville wrote an entire book about this, and his flagship website that bears the same name is subtitled “The North American Setting for the Book of Mormon.” But the Heartlanders’ evidence for Nephites in the Midwest rests almost entirely with forged and unprovenanced artifacts, the Hopewell people that Heartlanders claim were the Nephites “left no written language or recorded histories,” and no complex ancient civilizations or structures have been discovered there. All the Heartlanders have so far is a few fire pits where clams—a food forbidden by the law of Moses—were cooked.

Meanwhile, the list of prophets and Church leaders who believe that the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica grows longer. —Peter Pan

1 comment:

  1. Elder Gong's recent Conference address comes to mind as fulfillment of this prophecy as well. Truly the Lamanites are blossoming as the rose, and Latin America has become a stronghold of the Church because of it.


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