A few days ago my daughter bought some fir branches to use as Christmas decorations (she put them on the banisters and made a wreath for the front door), and I noticed that there were quite a few needles from the branches in the trunk (boot) of the car. While I was vacuuming the needles out yesterday, I had an epiphany of sorts.
Engaging in Book of Mormon apologetics is like attempting to prove that the trunk of my car isn’t actually a trunk but is really a pine forest. I imagine the argument would go something like this:
We would expect to find fallen pine needles on the ground of a pine forest, and–lo and behold!–we do find numerous examples in the so-called “trunk.” True, there’s carpet underneath the needles, not earth, but you can’t just dismiss the existence of the needles. (And how many times has the earth beneath a forest been referred to as being like a “carpet”? Coincidence? I think not.) And besides, if you analyzed what you vacuum up from the trunk, you would most definitely find traces of dirt and other debris in the carpet, mixed in with the needles; and that would be a real bullseye.
We would also expect to find stones, tree trunks, and other large objects in our hypothetical pine forest. Indeed, we do find large, hard objects surrounding our patch of forest. Specifically we find hard, dark-colored surfaces surrounding the needles; some claim these are simply the interior walls of the trunk, but then how do they explain the presence of the needles? Perhaps we’re being too literal in our language. It’s quite possible that the word we use, “trunk,” is actually referring metaphorically to a literal tree trunk. Again, this is another “hit” that critics can’t dismiss lightly.
Beneath the carpet we find a large disc-shaped object, which is rather stone-like in its appearance. It clearly has been in this position for a very long time, as evidenced by the indentation in the forest floor beneath the stone. (Similar discs have been found in other locations, some bearing the clear identifier, “Firestone,” which again is too close to the expected to be mere coincidence.) Alternatively, this could be the semi-buried remains of an ancient tree stump. DNA testing may yet confirm its relationship to the deposits of needles.
There are also traces of sawdust indicating that tree branches had recently been cut in the vicinity, which of course would be impossible in a desert or ocean. Human logging activity would not make sense unless the area had at some point been densely forested with trees suitable for lumber. Similarly, the presence of a small amount of tree sap makes sense only in the context of a pine forest.
We also find clear written evidence of the forest: a cryptic plaque reading “Accord,” which is in all likelihood a reference to “a cord,” which is a measurement of cut wood. Again, the context places it where it should be: a forest where there has been recent cutting.
There are other promising leads, such as a tubular object, which is described in some literature as a “fuel filler.” Clearly, then, this indicates the use of harvested timber as a source of fuel. We have yet to decipher a metallic plate bearing what appear to be carefully arranged numbers and letters, with the inscription “VIRGINIA” appearing along the top; this may refer to the newness of the timber industry, or as some have surmised, it may well be part of a cipher key used to encrypt the language of the forest-dwellers. Further research is warranted.
Critics tell us we just need to look up and see if we’re actually standing in a pine forest or in the trunk of a late-model Honda, but we prefer to focus on solid evidence rather than appealing to unverifiable illusions and celestial fantasy.
ETA: Since publication, another apologist has added this important perspective:
“People who think it’s just a trunk are barking up the wrong tree. They are gullible saps. They can leaf the church but not leaf it alone. Someone needs to talk to your branch president about disciplinary action. You are clearly pining to sin. You can’t see the forest for the trunks. You are evergreen with envy at my effortless spirituality. You can’t believe, but if you’d read what I have, you wood.
“My world is a beautiful lush green forest. Yours is a dirty trunk. Which is better?” [Thanks to “Some Schmo.”]