Found While Digging In The Yard.

I found the following on a scrap of paper while digging in my yard.

My Dear Wormwood,

Honestly, I am not certain why I even bother trying to help you out. If you can not properly understand even the smallest details, how are you to be entrusted with the destruction of his eternal soul?

You are worried because he has been elected to one of the offices in his church. This is not a bad thing. On the contrary, my ignorant protege, nothing could have happened to put him closer to being in your eternal clutches!

Now that he is immersing himself in the culture of the church, all you need to do is encourage him to continue. He needs no course correction at all. Simply remind him how important his work is. Reassure him that he is vital to the proper function of the church. As time goes on, he will begin to see the work of the office he holds as the true work of the church. This almost never fails. The prisons of our master are full of those who started out belonging to the enemy,  working tirelessly for him, only to end up belonging to us.

Indeed, in time you can even have him replace the weekly bacchanalia of the enemy with the meetings he attends. He will see no contradiction at all in missing the detestable rituals in which the enemy constantly engages, and attending meetings in their stead. He will see it as an even trade. After all, he spends so much time at the church already, that there is no more time left for worship. At this point, he is as good as yours. Simply stroke his ego, encouraging him to spend even more time in meetings. In this way, you will have him caught in a paradox from which few escape. If he lessens his time commitment to the boards and councils, he will feel as if he is letting down his master.   As he becomes more and more indispensable, he will be given more and more duties. This will further subtract from the time he has available to attend worship. So, even as he becomes more “churchly”, he becomes more and more yours.

This ploy works even better if you can get him elected to a regional council or board. Then he will be spending his time in a building dedicated to board and committee meetings, rather than one which was originally intended for worshiping the enemy. By convincing him that these boards are where the real “work of the church” is done (which he already vaguely believes anyway), you can lead him in the wrong direction while stroking his ego. And there is nothing that these humans – including church – people like so much as having their ego stroked.

If you play it right, he will leave the enemy without ever becoming conscious of doing so. Then you can simply let him coast along in the church until the day when you claim him in death.

However, there is an even more delightful possibility. Eventually, he will come to a moment of disagreement. One person with think one thing and he will think another. The issue does not matter in the slightest. It could be over the color of the steps into the building. Souls have been made ours over much less.

Simply convince him of the rightness of his position. You may even use the enemy’s writings to support his position. While it is painful to speak words spoken by the enemy, the end result is that he will never budge from whatever position he holds. If his opponent’s tempter is even remotely competent, then he will employ the same tactic. Convinced of the rightness of their position, they will continue to argue. At the very least, you can then convince your charge that he should simply leave the church.

As the argument continues, simply suggest to your charge that it is not simply this disagreement that is the problem. Remind him of past disagreements. Again the issues don’t matter, and you don’t even need honest disagreements for this to work. Simply suggest to him that offhand comments made previously were actually attacks on him personally. As he fills himself with righteous indignation, you can spread your net. Move from the one person he disagrees with to others in the church. Continually point out their flaws and faults, and especially the many small ways he has been slighted in the past.

At that point, convincing him that “those church people” are a bunch of hypocrites is really a foregone conclusion. Of course, you can see that this tactic would never work if all he did was attend the services. For then he would never get so personally involved in what happens to the painted steps at the entrance, or the carpet in meeting rooms, or the sound that musical instruments make. He would simply note the change, and move on. But by having him involved, you can lead him to a place where he will sacrifice everything – including his membership in the enemies army – to get his way. And when you finally get him to resign, make sure that you don’t forget to remind him that it is not simply the one congregation that is the problem, but that all churches everywhere are filled with the same sinners. Of course, this is no secret, and the enemy not only advertises this, he demands it. Yet, when humans see the sinful nature in action, they never cease to turn away from the enemy, and return to our father.

If you play your cards right, you can even get others to leave with him.  Simply contact a few of your classmates who have been assigned to other members of his congregation. Have them take his side or the other side; it really doesn’t matter. They must only be convinced of the rightness of the position they hold. With a few people on either side of the issue, positions can be entrenched. This ensures that there will be a winning and a losing side. The losing side can be convinced to leave the church en mass. Those less involved in the church can be convinced that the church is no place for civilized people (And by this they mean, of course, themselves.) You have now parlayed your charges involvement in the church into not only his soul, but the soul of many others.

Trust me, there is absolutely no downside to having him involved in a board or committee. No one was ever drawn closer to the enemy by serving on one, and many have been gained by us through them.

If you get truly fortunate, you might be able to have him so involved with the church that he destroys the faith of his family, but that will have to wait for another letter.

Your Affectionate Uncle,

Screwtape

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