Examining the claims of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland movement

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Jonathan Neville tried to blackmail me

This is not a post I wanted to write. Unfortunately, it’s become necessary because Jonathan Neville has threatened to team up with anti-Mormon critics to attack me and my character unless I take down this entire blog.

(TL;DR version)

I’ll begin with some context:

Bill Reel’s podcast

On , ex-Mormon podcaster Bill Reel hosted a 2 hour and 46 minute (!) YouTube livestream with the intent to (from the video’s description) “expose the shocking story of how a group of 5 white LDS apologists fabricated and perpetuated a fictional black apologist, Richard Nygren, to provide cover for one of their own. Through detailed investigation and interviews with key players, we reveal the disturbing truth behind this deceitful act and its coverup as well as the impact it has on those involved and on the Mormon apologetic community.”

The truth behind Reel’s breathless hyperbole is not nearly as interesting or dramatic as he tried to make it, and none of the supposed “key players” responded to his requests for information (unless Reel was referring to Jonathan Neville, in which case I’m not surprised). In addition to denying Reel’s spin that I or anyone else “perpetuated a fictional black apologist,” I also categorically state that neither I nor anyone else mentioned in Reel’s video made any fake Richard Nygren profiles on YouTube or any other social media platform, website, or online chat.

That didn’t stop Reel from “grinning ear to ear” when he found a story he could spin to attack and defame a few Latter-day Saints. And his lackeys naturally ate up everything he said, making equally reprehensible comments in the live chat, including some loathsome attempts to dox me by posting my home address.
Pepe Silvia conspiracy theory It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Bill Reel, probably
Because of Bill Reel’s video, I’ve received harassing messages from disturbed individuals accusing me of being a racist. Some of these messages have contained what could be considered threats. I won’t post those messages here, as they may be evidence if one of these people decides to follow through on their statements.

Normally, I would just ignore Reel’s video—“don’t feed the trolls,” and so forth. These deranged lunatics are obsessed with destroying people who believe in the restored gospel, and they experience no twinge of conscience when they distort the truth.

But then Jonathan Neville jumped on Bill Reel’s bandwagon.

Jonathan Neville promotes Bill Reel’s video

Jonathan Neville—who refuses to read anything I’ve written or to watch my interview with Robert Boylan—was apparently more than happy to watch Bill Reel’s podcast, because he posted about it on his blog.

In his blog post, Neville asserted:
Prominent members of the citation cartel concocted, promoted and perpetuated a fake blogger persona named ‘Peter Pan’ to attack me on an ad hominem blog that ridicules my family name.
Just about every word of that sentence is false.

  • There were no “prominent members” of anything involved with the creation and maintaining of this blog; it was solely my idea, and I alone am responsible for it.
  • By “promoted,” Neville is referring to Daniel Peterson sharing links to this blog on his own site from time to time. He did this not because he’s been involved in the creation or operation of this blog, but because Jonathan Neville has attacked him and other scholars with weird claims that they’re part of some conspiracy to promulgate “M2C” within the Church.
  • If Neville wants to call writing a blog under a pseudonym using “a fake blogger persona,” then I’m afraid to tell him that many blogs are pseudonymous, many famous authors have written under pseudonyms, and even many early American Founders wrote pseudonymously. (I certainly don’t consider this blog to be on the level of Thomas Paine’s anonymously published Common Sense, of course.) As I’ve stated before, I used a pseudonym to protect myself from unstable people—a decision that has now proven itself to be prophetic, as I’ll explain in a moment.
  • To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never “attacked” Jonathan Neville on this blog. I’ve at times been sarcastic or snarky, but I’ve always tried to focus on his claims and assertions, not on his person. If anyone can give me examples of where I’ve “attacked” him, please let me know in the comments below; if there are legitimate examples, I’ll gladly remove them and apologize.
  • The name of this blog is not “ad hominem,” because that’s not what ad hominem means.
  • This is the first time that Neville has alleged that the name Neville-Neville Land “ridicules [his] family name.” It’s strange that he’s waited this long to make an issue about it; this blog has existed for over four years, and only now he’s bringing this up? It seems to me that he’s desperately seeking some opportunity to criticize me.

Amid his many other claims, Neville also asserted in his blog post:
For years, these guys have been falsely accusing Heartlanders of racist motives when it is they themselves who used a phony and racist persona to mislead their own readers and followers (and donors, in the case of Dan Peterson).
This is a rather audacious claim, considering that Rian Nelson on the FIRM Foundation’s blog has made repeated antisemitic statements, statements that Neville himself has shrugged off by writing, “Lots of people think crazy things, and normally that doesn’t matter because we recognize that none of us is perfect.”

Neither Jonathan Neville nor Bill Reel cared when the FIRM Foundation was posting vile, racist antisemitism on a regular basis. Only after Daniel Peterson blogged about it did Neville address it, with a response that equates to, "Yeah, that’s not great, but it’s just Rian being Rian.” But now that they think they’ve got me dead to rights, suddenly the mere mention of a fictitious Black man has them screaming “EMERGENCY! RACISM! DANGER! Actual incendiary antisemitism is something they’re happy to overlook and excuse, but merely mentioning a nonexistent Black man as part of a joke is apparently beyond the pale. Hypocrisy much?

One could reasonably accuse Reel and Neville of being nothing more than deplorable opportunists.

And, as I’ve already stated, I’ve never used a “racist persona” in any way on any platform. Claims that I or anyone I know has done so are absolutely false.

My personal request to Jonathan Neville

After I saw Neville’s blog post, I sent him the following email on . I asked him to not share this message online out of respect for my family’s privacy, but unfortunately I’m now forced to post it publicly to provide context for Neville’s response. (I’ve made a few slight changes to my email to remove some sensitive, personal information about my family. The message and intent of the email has not been altered. You can read a screenshot of my email, with redactions.)
Brother Neville,

I notice that you have blogged approvingly about Bill Reel’s video about me.

Setting Reel’s egregiously false spin on these events aside for the moment, his video invades my privacy by discussing in general terms where I live and work. (He lives in the same part of Southern Utah that I do.) Several comments in his YouTube video have tried to dox me by providing my home address and links to information about me on my employer’s website.

I have already received several harassing messages from people who have seen the video. These I can deal with, but they have troubled my family members. They have been terrified by what sound like threats and worried about disturbed individuals showing up at our home uninvited.

I’ve already reported Reel’s YouTube video as harassing me, but it seems unlikely that they’ll do anything about it.

I’m asking you, as a fellow Latter-day Saint and on behalf of my family, to please remove your blog posts linking to Reel’s video. The less advertisement his salacious trash can get, the better.

Kind regards,

Mike Parker

Jonathan Neville’s response and attempt to blackmail me

Neville has so far responded to my email three times. The first reply came on the afternoon of


  1. This is despicable behavior on Neville's part. I hope you know that your work is appreciated, and I also pray for protection for you and your family.

    1. Thank you, David. This entire business has been terribly sad. It’s one thing to be attacked by anti-Mormon critics; it’s something else entirely to have a fellow Latter-day Saint join in with them.

  2. Thank you for posting and therefore making public what you are dealing with. We live in a crazy world. God bless you.

    1. Thank you, L.Nelson. I truly do appreciate your kinds words; they’re sorely needed right now.

  3. Do I need to offer to hold Neville's hand? Good grief, the man cannot handle an opposing viewpoint without falling part. You are dead-on with everything you have said and he is getting spanked. When people are desperate, they can do silly things, but his actions are becoming harmful. I am sorry it has turned this way.

    1. As am I. I was hoping that by opening a dialog with him that we might come to some understanding. Instead, he’s tried to strongarm me into giving into his demands. It’s very sad.

  4. You really should just sincerely apologize for the deceptions and attacks. It would go a long way. The attacks in this article (calling Jonathan dishonest, a blackmailer and a back stabber, calling Heartland people racist etc) just make things worse. Apologize and try to be better - that's the best way you can help yourself and the church right now. I hope you'll consider it. I actually appreciate that you're trying to defend the church, but there's too much friendly fire. All the best.

    1. Dave: Please explain to me how Jonathan Nevilleʼs ultimatum to me was not blackmail, or at the very least an implied threat. Please also explain to me how Rian Nelsonʼs Khazarian conspiracy theories are not antisemitic.

      Iʼll freely admit that I did not keep my cool in that email exchange, but Iʼm afraid youʼre seeking an apology from the wrong person.

  5. Peter (Mike), Thanks for your courage in dealing with Jonathan Neville. I agree that it appears he and the Heartlanders may break off. I just don't understand the obsession with Cumorah and treating that as such a vital touchstone; I just don't get it. The church's official position of not endorsing any particular geography doesn't seem to penetrate to people like Neville. I think you've performed a great service with the blog. Thanks again.

    1. Thank you, Bryce. This has been a very unproductive exchange with Jonathan Neville, and Iʼve chosen to end the conversation. Iʼm sincerely grateful for your kind words.

  6. Mr Mike. I enjoy your blog more than you know. Mostly because of the fervor of those that want more than the Lord has revealed in the last days to his church and often look beyond the mark and there are many with their products in hand holding them out as answers, but behind a wall of cash. You've done no such thing at all on this blog. There is no way that equates anything from mr Neville. I love that you address everything in sequential order; read research; try and try again. I'm just expressing support from one person in the middle of the heartland area; so thank you. I'm still surprised at member's attempts to make money off neutral territory of the Gospel. they, just, need to, stop. ;-) :) :) :D ^_^ Be safe.

    1. Thank you, Commander. I salute you!

    2. I love this vote of support. Thank you! We are fortunate to have Mike defending the Church so well.

  7. Thanks for your good work. Please hang in there!


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