Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Friday, September 24, 2021

The latest Neville Land fan mail

Stephen Reed, who goes by the online pseudonym “TwoCumorahFraud,” is a belligerent Heartlander who regularly leaves comments on this blog. Some of his comments I’ve published; others I leave permanently in the moderation queue because they’re insulting or nasty.

He recently left this comment:
Peter Pan is one to believe in the Limited Mesoamerica geography theory, requiring the Prophet Moroni to wander for some 40 years and travel thousands of miles from Central America to present-day New York with the gold plates and the Urim and Thummim in his care for four decades. Then the Prophet Moroni carefully buried both objects in the ground with water-tight cement concealed under a stone. Then when Moroni reveals said objects to Joseph Smith, the boy-prophet needs neither to translate the plates, because he already had a rock and a hat. Then Peter Pan calls Jonathan Neville an idiot, while Pan can’t think logically for himself but has to rely on some idiot scholars to do the thinking for him.
I’m featuring this comment as its own blog post because I think it merits a response.

Peter Pan is one to believe in the Limited Mesoamerica geography theory, requiring the Prophet Moroni to wander for some 40 years and travel thousands of miles from Central America to present-day New York with the gold plates and the Urim and Thummim in his care for four decades.

I do think that Mesoamerica does present the strongest case, archaeologically and anthropologically, for being the area where the Book of Mormon took place. Why Stephen Reed is critical of the claim that Moroni traveled on foot from Mesoamerica to western New York is beyond me.

  • The Nephites made their last stand against Lamanites 384 years after the sign of the birth of Christ. (Mormon 6:5)
  • By the 400th year, the Lamanites had hunted down and killed all the Nephites, and the whole face of the land was covered by Lamantites and robbers. (Mormon 8:6–9)
  • Moroni was the only survivor among his people: “I make not myself known to the Lamanites lest they should destroy me.… Wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life.” (Moroni 1:1, 3)
  • After more than 420 years since the sign of the birth of Christ, Moroni sealed up the records. (Moroni 10:1–2)

Google Maps directions from Veracruz, Mexico, to Palmyra, New York, United States Moroni had wandered away from the Lamanites for at least twenty-one years (421 − 400 = 21) and possibly as long as thirty-seven years (421 − 384 = 37). A direct journey from the area just north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to western New York would be a distance of just over 4,000 kilometers or about 2,500 miles. An individual could walk that in twenty-one years by traveling just .53 kilometers—one-third of a mile—per day. That gives Moroni more than enough time to make the journey, even allowing for an indirect route.

Heartlanders like Stephen Reed, on the other hand, would have us believe that Moroni “wander[ed] whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life” for more than two decades by staying near the hill Cumorah, even though Lamanites covered “the whole face of the land.” This makes little sense from a rational standpoint and does not line up with Moroni’s account.

Then the Prophet Moroni carefully buried both objects in the ground with water-tight cement concealed under a stone.

Yes. Since ancient American cement has been found only in Mesoamerica, it makes sense that Moroni would have brought the knowledge of how to make limestone cement with him. No one in the American Midwest or Northeast ca. AD 400 would have known how to do this.

Then when Moroni reveals said objects to Joseph Smith, the boy-prophet needs neither to translate the plates, because he already had a rock and a hat.

This statement makes zero sense. Whether Joseph Smith used a stone in a hat or “two stones in silver bows” (or both) to translate the Book of Mormon, he still needed to translate it. Since he couldn’t read the language on the plates, the translation was accomplished through divine aid, “by the gift and power of God.”

Then Peter Pan calls Jonathan Neville an idiot, while Pan can’t think logically for himself but has to rely on some idiot scholars to do the thinking for him.

To the best of my knowledge, I have never called Jonathan Neville an “idiot.” There’s certainly nothing in the 275 published posts on this blog that shows I’ve ever used that word to refer to him. And not only have I not said or written it, I also do not believe it to be the case. Jonathan Neville is often mistaken and sometimes dishonest, but he is not of low intellect.

Stephen Reed, on the other hand, has explicitly stated in his comment that it’s his opinion that people who advocate for a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon are “idiot scholars.” If this is how he talks about fellow Latter-day Saints, then he sounds like a charming individual indeed.

—Peter Pan

Postscript: Stephen Reed left a comment on this blog post that you can read here. In it, he makes numerous historical claims without once providing evidence that Latter-day Saint scholarship is in any way derivative of the works he cites. I’m not going to publish his post because he repeatedly refers to me and everyone else who disagrees with him as “ignorant and an idiot.” Mr. Reed apparently does not know how to have anything approaching a civil conversation.
 

3 comments:

  1. The author of that comment - which you were merciful enough not to publish - is ignorant and an idiot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That unpublished comment is pretty hilarious. Imagine ranting about your opponent being an idiot without coming even vaguely close to addressing the points he made.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It seems assumed that 'wandered' clearly means 'walked', (it's what I had thought until now) and that Nephites and Lamanites were wholly confined to movement on dry ground, but it doesn't necessarily have to be so. I recently read Linda Schele's 1990 book "A Forest of Kings" where she describes the Mayan use of canoes for transportation of people and goods everywhere there were rivers (or lakes, oceans...). Canoes are a fairly ubiquitous mode of transport in almost all of the ancient Americas, with Mayan examples dating from at least the Early Classic period (from ~250-300 AD), and larger ocean-going dugout types being described by the Conquistadores.

    Haggoth's 'ships' almost certainly weren't schooners, galleons or barques (or even triremes).

    It occurs to me that one could paddle a canoe almost the entire the way from Veracruz or other points along the Gulf Coast, to New York, (especially if one had in one's possession the Liahona) and not have to schlepp a 60-lb weight strapped to one's forehead the entire way. Twenty to forty years is more than enough time to make such a journey. If we allow for Alma, Ammon, Moroni and others to travel by water, a whole new set of possibilities opens up.

    (To be clear, I am not saying that water travel justifies a hemispheric or sea-to-shining-sea model of BofM geography, only that it opens up a lot of possibilities for interchange with other cultures of the times, and that having an open mind can reveal a whole New World.)

    ReplyDelete

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