Examining the claims of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland movement

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

“Empathy, mutual respect, and understanding”

In a recent blog post, Jonathan Neville asserted:
As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m fine with people believing whatever they want. Ideally, people make informed decisions so they are not threatened by what others think. But that requires a little effort and some mind expansion, as well as empathy, mutual respect, and understanding.
“Empathy, mutual respect, and understanding.”

Jonathan Neville appearing on the Mormon Book Reviews YouTube channel
Does Jonathan Neville demonstrate “empathy, mutual respect, and understanding” by using the ominous‑sounding acroynm “SITH”?
One could reasonably ask Brother Neville the following questions:

  • Did he demonstrate “empathy, mutual respect, and understanding” when he quoted language from the temple endowment to imply that Daniel Peterson is like Satan and when, instead of apologizing, he falsely claimed that Peterson was offended his slur?
  • Did he demonstrate “empathy, mutual respect, and understanding” when he accused Daniel Peterson keeping controversy going because it “generate[s] donations” for the Interpreter Foundation and then lied again by claiming he “didn’t accuse Dan of anything”?
  • Did he demonstrate “empathy, mutual respect, and understanding” by lying to Matthew Roper about his intentions and motivations when he asked Roper for research assistance?
  • Did he demonstrate “empathy, mutual respect, and understanding” when he called the people who work for Book of Mormon Central “hirelings”?
  • Did he demonstrate “empathy, mutual respect, and understanding” when he falsely claimed that Latter-day Saint apologists “basically agree with the critics regarding fundamental aspects of the Book of Mormon”?
  • Does he demonstrate “empathy, mutual respect, and understanding” every time he derides BYU’s internal map of the Book of Mormon as a “fantasy map”?
  • Does he demonstrate “empathy, mutual respect, and understanding” when he accuses those who disagree with his assertions of “rejecting the teachings of the prophets”?

These are just a few select examples of Neville’s dishonesty, misrepresentations, and use of ad hominem arguments. One reason this blog exists is to keep a record of these so that uninformed people will understand not just what Neville says but what he does.

Jonathan Neville apparently believes that “empathy, mutual respect, and understanding” are a one‑way street that only people who disagree with him have to walk down.

—Peter Pan


  1. One more question: since "always two there are", whom would Neville say is the master, and who the apprentice Sith?

  2. I don't recall Joseph Smith or any other general authority of the church ever claiming they knew where the Book of Mormon lands were. When I joined the church, I assumed the hemispheric model was the correct one. Later, when I heard the 2Cumorah theory, I thought it was an RLDS concoction. Needless to say, I didn't accept it readily. That is, of course, until I began to read the background.

    Now the heartlands model sounds ridiculous. The NY Cumorah is far too small to be the actual Cumorah of scripture. It's also south of the only narrow neck of land of the region, where the actual Cumorah is northeast of the narrow neck.

    Also, where are the references to snow and ice storms in the BofM? I grew up in the eastern USA, and I've seen horrendous snow and ice storms in my relatively short life. I've seen cars and roads buried in snow for days, ice so thick it was impossible to walk.

    None of that is in the BofM, and the heartlanders dismiss this fact by saying it was warmer back then. Yet they don't provide any source documentation.


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