It has just been pointed out to me that, on one of his blogs — I don’t follow them myself — Mr. Jonathan Neville, perhaps the most vocal proponent of the so-called “Heartland model” of Book of Mormon geography, has again mentioned me. And, as usual, he does so negatively. So I will again mention Mr. Jonathan Neville.
In this latest blog entry, Mr. Neville has declared himself in favor of recognizing and respecting “other opinions” and has announced that he supports “full and open disclosure.”
“But,” he says, “Book of Mormon Central and the rest of the M2C citation cartel disagree.”
But who, you might ask, are these strange people in “the M2C citation cartel” who reject “full and open disclosure” and who oppose mutual recognition and respect? Why, it’s the people at Book of Mormon Central, FairMormon, and the Interpreter Foundation “M2C” is Jonathan Neville’s acronym for the theory that the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica and that the hill Cumorah in the Book of Mormon is not the same hill in New York where Joseph Smith received the plates of Mormon. I’m one of this fiendish lot, who hate openness and respect. (I was also, once upon a time, a member of Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy” and I’m probably among her “deplorables.” What can I say? I guess I’m just a compulsive “joiner.”)
Returning to the folks in his “M2C citation cartel,” Mr. Neville explains that “They believe only they are qualified to interpret the scriptures (hence, Dan P.’s Interpreter), and they don’t even want members of the Church to know about alternatives.”
But, alas, Mr. Neville’s claim is flatly untrue. Perhaps even — I’m trying to be charitable here — a flat-out lie.
To the best of my knowledge, nobody in my circle — none of my fellow conspirators in the “the M2C citation cartel” — has ever made the slightest effort, nor expressed the faintest wish, to keep members of the Church from reading Mr. Neville’s books or following his blogs or attending a Heartlander convention.
Nor do we believe that only we are qualified to interpret the scriptures. (Mr. Neville has sometimes gone so far as, poisonously, to suggest that we seek to deny that right to the ordained leaders of the Church.) Nor does the name Interpreter claim such a sole right for us. (The name Interpreter derives from the Book of Mormon, e.g. at Mosiah 28.) We do, however, think that we have the right — just as everybody else does, just as Mr. Neville himself does — to attempt to interpret the scriptures for ourselves and to share our ideas about them with others. Authoritative interpretations can only be made at the highest level of apostolic leadership, but we’re all free to study the scriptures for ourselves and to discuss them in church and elsewhere. That’s it.
Mr. Neville goes on to pose a challenge to readers of his blog: “If anyone has any ideas about how to get the various groups to work together,” he writes, “email them to me and I’ll discuss them on this blog.”
Here’s a suggestion: Mr. Neville should stop demonizing those with whom he disagrees. He should stop ascribing false and dishonorable motivations to fellow Latter-day Saints.
In the meantime, though, since Mr. Neville has again alerted me to his existence, here are a couple of recent links from the fine folks at the Neville-Neville Land blog:
I don’t know who the bloggers are at Neville-Neville Land, but I think that they would agree with me when I say that I really don’t care where Mr. Jonathan Neville thinks Cumorah was located. What I do care about is Mr. Neville’s continuing vilification of those (including myself) who fail to share his view.
Posted from St. George, Utah