I don’t monitor blogs or websites connected with the so-called “Heartlander” movement. In fact, I don’t think that I’ve ever actually looked at any of them. They haven’t interested me. I’m familiar enough with Heartlander books and arguments to know that I’m not persuaded by their model of Book of Mormon geography and, anyway, Book of Mormon geography isn’t a primary interest of mine. I am, though, quite displeased at the tendency of some “Heartlander” figures to badmouth those who disagree with their views — very notably including your humble and obedient servant — and to criticize Latter-day Saint scholars more generally and even Church leaders for failing to toe the “Heartlander” line. That is why I have made it a practice to call attention to the Neville-Neville Land blog, which has rendered yeoman service in chronicling the astounding claims of one prominent “Heartlander” figure in particular.
On Saturday, thanks to a friend who does pay attention to “Heartland” goings-on, I shared some troubling quotations from the FIRM Foundation blog, a central “Heartlander” voice that was offline for a few days. (See my “Conspiracy Fantasies and Anti-Semitism in the Heartland?”) I thought, and I think, that such things deserve our concerned attention. I’m horrified by them, and I’m deeply disappointed (to put it mildly) that at least one member of my Church is trafficking in such ideas.
This morning, a friend shared the note below with me. And, with that friend’s kind permission, I quote it here in its entirety:
The FIRM site/blog went back up last night, with a new web host, and with the most recent problematic blog posts (dated 2/9/23, 2/12/23, and 2/28/23) missing. So I suspect someone did complain to their old host about the content and they got suspended, not that they just forgot to pay a bill.
But there are still a lot of really awful posts up. I generally skim their posts every couple weeks or so, but I’m not as well-versed in bonkers anti-semitic conspiracy theories as I needed to be to recognize some of this stuff. So I didn’t understand until the past couple days how bad this is–I thought the “goyim” reference was the first anti-semitic red flag.
Here’s a brief background. In this anti-semitic conspiracy worldview, most of the people known as Jews today are not “real” Jews from the tribe of Judah (or in the terms used on the FIRM blog, they’re not real “Hebrews.”) Instead, centuries ago an impostor group called the Khazarians somehow set themselves up to be Jews, and parlayed their Jewish identity into total control over the world’s governments, finance, “deep state,” etc (no, this doesn’t make any actual sense). For those “in the know” about the conspiracy, the fake Jews are actually the “Khazarian Mafia” or “KM,” or simply the “Cabal.”
This supra-conspiracy gives someone like the FIRM blog writer cover to be able to say “I’m not anti-semitic! I love the Jews/Hebrews! But I only love the *real* Jews, not the KM impostors who control the world and _______ (long list of accusations).” It’s an attempt to launder anti-semitism through a supposed opposition to the “real” villains, but since the KM story is bogus, it’s just plain old Jews-control-the-world-and-cause-all-the-bad-events anti-semitism.
Where this gets even more ugly is that the FIRM writer merges anti-semitism with the Book of Mormon. He explicitly, repeatedly identifies the KM as today’s Gadianton Robbers that the Book of Mormon warns us about. Using the Book of Mormon to justify anti-semitism is so abhorrent.
The 2/12/23 post I linked above (though it’s a cache that could disappear soon, but I have it saved) is a really good example of this. It openly quotes a prominent anti-semitic writer, Jack Mohr, and his book “The Inside Story of International Judaism.” And he twists Bible passages to say that the KM were posing as Jews back in Biblical times.
It also identifies “Khazarians” as Gadiantons: “Who is the Lord speaking to when He says, “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan?” Rev 2:9. Or again the Lord says, “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” Rev 3:9 Christ is speaking of the Gadianton’s of today, (KM) who descended from Gomer, and Japeth. The non-priesthood lineage. Real Hebrews and the Tribe of Judah come through Christ…I feel the Synagogue of Satan spoken of in the Book of Revelation, are those in this world who are the biggest deceivers of all, which are the KM, Deep State, Cabal, Nazi’s, or Gadianton’s of today.
Some other posts, that are still up, that promote this:
From 4/19/21: “I also believe the Cabal consisting of the Rothchild’s, the Vatican, City of London, Washington DC, Khazarian’s or Krypto Jews are the people today of this High Cabal. “This High Cabal has been working against “We the People” ever since the CIA was formed and long before that, and this is what the Trump administration has been working to take down. I feel It will result in the Great Awakening where we get our Republic back. It will happen, General Flynn, Lin Wood, Mike Pompeo and Sidney Powell will win this for the Patriots. How do I know? The Gadianton’s were removed weren’t they? The Gadianton’s are the High Cabal and the Children of Israel will win. The Lord has told us that. This is not the second coming of the Lord, but a great Second Harvest that I believe will allow us to prepare for His second coming. This is only my opinion.”
(Blaming things on a “cabal” is also an anti-semitic trope.)
From 6/13/22: ““I personally believe Dr. [Steven] Jones [the former physics prof who was forced out of BYU for his 9/11 conspiracies] very much about what he said about 9-11. For over 20 years I believed the same politically correct narrative that the government and main stream media insisted us to hear, that Jihadi hijackers brought down the buildings. In the past few years I have studied and researched for many hours, and I believe the Deep State or Cabal is fully behind many of the wars and problems of today.”
From 3/17/21, I honestly don’t know how to summarize this post. It endorses every possible conspiracy theory, from the KM to the Illuminati to the Bohemian Grove performing Satanic ritual child sacrifice to the QAnon plan for Trump to take back the presidency.
It makes me queasy to see this abhorrent nonsense interspersed with quotes from President Nelson, various apostles, and the Book of Mormon. And though blog author Rian Nelson throws in the occasional disclaimer this isn’t the official view of FIRM, that’s a really thin fig leaf for years of hosting ugly anti-semitism on their site. If this were just some random church member losing his grip, whatever. But finding it on the “Book of Mormon Evidence” site, that hosts a well-attended expo in Utah twice a year, is worrisome.
I share my friend’s queasiness at seeing this sort of evil thinking being propagated on any website or blog that is connected in any way at all with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Book of Mormon.
“Latter-day Saints Issue Joint Statement Condemning Anti-Semitism: Latter-day Saint members join with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in condemning anti-Semitism and racism in Canada”
“Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Condemns Rising Antisemitism”