Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Another response to Rian Nelson of the FIRM Foundation

This is a response to Rian Nelson’s comment on my December 20, 2022, blog post.
I don’t believe we will ever agree on the Fantasy Map idea so lets [sic] move on after a short comment. The way the map is, you should have simply shown any shape and just listed the order of the cities from bottom (Where Lehi landed) to the top where (hill Cumorah is located). In other words your fantasy map could be called instead, an “accurate list of Book of Mormon cities from landing place to extinction place.”
Your description of the BYU Book of Mormon Conceptual Map reveals that you haven’t given it any consideration or study. I have used it in my Book of Mormon study for the last five years and have found it to be thoroughly consistent with the descriptions and directions given in the text of the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon Conceptual Map is far more internally consistent than Moroni’s America – Maps Edition, which is radically at odds with the Book of Mormon, logic, and common sense. (I have critiqued elements of your book here, here, and here.)

If anything fits the description of a “fantasy map,” it’s Moroni’s America – Maps Edition. Yet I will still give you the courtesy of referring to your book by its actual title. If you wish to continue smearing those you disagree with by using pejorative labels, that’s up to you. It’s certainly not in keeping with common courtesy and respect for opposing views, though.
We know the purpose of the scriptures is to teach truth. I will never believe David, Emma, and Martin over the the two first hand witnesses, Joseph and Oliver, nor over the scriptures. The scriptures say what instruments came with the plates, and that they were used to translate. No need to add conjecture.
Emma Smith, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer were firsthand eyewitnesses to the translation, Rian. For heaven’ sake, Emma and Martin were scribes for Joseph Smith in the translation of the Book of Mormon before Oliver Cowdery even met the Prophet, and the translation was completed in the Whitmer home, where David and his entire family witnessed the translation.

The earliest published account of the translation of the Book of Mormon—printed in 1829 by Jonathan Hadley—reported that “By placing the Spectacles in a hat, and looking into it, [Joseph] Smith could (he said so, at least,) interpret these characters.” This report was given in August 1829 after Joseph met with Hadley, publisher of the Palmyra Freeman, about printing the Book of Mormon. Another non-Mormon, Richard McNemar, who heard Oliver Cowdery preach in Ohio in November 1830, wrote in his diary in January 1831, “There is said to have been in the box with the plates two transparent stones in the form of spectacles thro[ugh] which the translator looked on the engraving & afterwards put his face into a hat & the interpretation then flowed into his mind.”

In short, the number of eyewitness and and secondhand sources that claim Joseph Smith translated while looking at a seer stone or the Nephite interpreters in hat is simply overwhelming. You’re cherry-picking a very limited number of specific sources and interpreting them so that they support your beliefs. That’s completely irresponsible, and it demonstrates the desperate lengths Heartlanders go to when making their case.
I really don’t have a problem with your opinions as you are free to have them.
Quite clearly you do have a problem with them, since, according to your and your fellows, I and other people who disagree with you are “rejecting the teachings of the prophets,” promoting anti-Mormon claims, causing a loss of faith leading to apostasy among members, and are responsible for a decline in growth of Church membership.

As long as you continue to make such claims, your own statements belie your assertion that you don’t have a problem with alternative opinions.
The Book of Mormon speaks to a specific land, not Greenland, not, Guatemala and not Peru. I Nephi 13 is obviously speaking of the United States. The Church approved header to Chapter 13 says, “Nephi sees in vision the church of the devil set up among the Gentiles, the discovery and colonizing of America, the loss of many plain and precious parts of the Bible, the resultant state of gentile apostasy, the restoration of the gospel, the coming forth of latter-day scripture, and the building up of Zion.”
I think you’re misreading the heading to that chapter. It doesn’t say “the discovery and colonizing of the United States of America”; it says, “the discovery and colonizing of America.” America refers to the entire continent of North and South America, which Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Hyrum Smith, Ezra Taft Benson, and Mark E. Peterson testified is “the land of Zion” and “a choice land.”

1 Nephi 13 speaks of events that took place in what would become the United States, but it’s also a prophecy of many other things, including the voyages of Christopher Columbus, who never set foot on the North American continent.

The “choice land” Nephi saw includes the United States, Greenland, Guatemala, Peru, and the rest of the American continent.
This statement above and common sense says, I will stick with my quote of, “I know The United States is the promised land foretold in the Book of Mormon, as the Lord chose it. He did not choose it because those who live here are better people, or because it is a more beautiful place than other parts of the world, but He chose it to be the place of the Restoration of the Gospel in the Latter-days. Why? Because He chose it!” It’s what I believe.
You may believe it, but it’s still circular reasoning. And it conflicts with the statements of the prophets mentioned above who testified that the entire North and South American continent is the choice land mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The United States was the place chosen for the restoration of the gospel, and that gospel has gone forth to the peoples in Latin America. These people are the descendants of the Lamanites, a truth that has been believed and taught by many Church leaders, including Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, Anthony W. Ivins, Marion G. Romney, and most recently Gerrit W. Gong and President Russell M. Nelson.
No need to respond as we have agreed to disagree. May the Lord bless you.
Well, I decided to respond anyway. I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas.

—Peter Pan


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