I very seldom think about “Heartland” models of the geography of the Book of Mormon, let alone about Jonathan Neville, who is an extremely vocal proponent of a “Heartland” point of view. (He is particularly exercised over the location of the ancient Hill Cumorah.) I rarely if ever post anything of my own replying to him or to “Heartland” ideas. I’m just not interested in them. I don’t think that I could pick Mr. Neville out of a police line-up. If we’ve ever met, I don’t remember it. I don’t read any of his blogs. I haven’t read any of his writing. I think that he may once have been a lawyer. But Mr. Neville apparently thinks about me fairly frequently, and plainly not with admiration. Yesterday, a friend called my attention to this recent item on the excellent Neville-Neville Land blog, which responds to an attack on me by Mr. Neville. I have to admit that, among other things, I was quite surprised at what it had to say about Mr. Neville’s biography:
My friend’s alerting me to this article reminded me that I haven’t called readers’ attention to several recent items on the Neville-Neville Land blog, and has inspired me to rectify that neglect by doing so now:
Whenever, as now, I do think about Jonathan Neville, I worry. I worry because he apparently has a following, and because he’s extremely critical not merely of evil people like me and even of employees in the Missionary Department, Historical Department, and other offices at the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah — which scarcely matters in the eternal scheme of things — but because he’s increasingly critical of the leaders of the Church themselves. In itself, the question of the location of ancient Book of Mormon Cumorah is of, at most, secondary importance. That’s not what’s at issue. I worry that Mr. Neville is heading, whether deliberately or not, toward the creation of a schismatic faction within the Church, and that he will ultimately lead at least some faithful believers away from full fellowship with the Saints. I hope that this isn’t true, and I hope that it never happens. But I see clouds on the horizon.