A Belated Dour Christmas

My dear protégé,

My help will come too late this season. You have none but your own tardiness to blame. Had you but written in advance instead of in the moment of peril, I might better have aided you and saved you the torments you now endure in The Institute’s Chambers for Readjustment. I hope you learn there not only the immediate lesson of the pain that awaits those who endanger their charges, but the greater lesson of being quick to seek my wisdom.

You will find these, then, awaiting you upon your return, as much reduced, I hope, in your own estimation as you will be in your corporeal self.

Your charge celebrated Christmas. This you blubbered about in your letter, supposedly confused and perplexed. How, you wonder, could you use Christmas to pervert her natural nature inclinations (as The Institute charges you to do). “How,” you write, “when the cursed day celebrates the abomination, when The Enemy took the form of human for some unknown reason? Such a task I must name as inconceivable.”

Inconceivable? I do not think that word means what you think it means! Inconceivable, indeed, is what the humans call the Incarnation. No matter the insights and efforts of Our Father Below and all we who labor, we cannot fathom what deception and mischief The Enemy is working. How unsearchable his ways and nefarious his deeds!

But inconceivable to use The Enemy’s work? You dotard! This is the sole foundation, reason, and end of your work!

In fact, the Christians have done much of the work for you. To be sure, they will name The Enemy as a baby. They will claim the human and divine united. But then they will quickly divorce the two again. Consider but one lyric of one song (those accursed human creations): “the little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.” You have observed enough of humanity to know that babies cry. For food, for want, for need. Yet the song implies that any weeping is our work. It was The Enemy who made those humans to weep and made their children frail, yet here you have one of their own songs naming his work ours!

Inconceivable, I’d argue, that you can’t see to take what they already offer to you! Fix your charge’s thoughts and influence her parents’ to think as much as they would like upon the birth. But let them find the thought of a stable “quaint” and “peaceful,” not full of animals refuse and dung, the heat from decaying hay. Let them think upon the child as serene and quiet, not screaming in the night air, confused and afraid. Let them think upon the mother as restful in repose, not wearied, worn, and having undergone a labor that leaves many dead. Let them forget any thought of blood.

Let all be cast as though painted in light. Then, my protégé, when they believe they are most contemplating The Enemy’s union with them, they will be most near to divorcing any such union in their minds, attitudes, and appetites. The union, instead, will be the glorious one of at once loving the world too little (despising that which is “dirty” in nature) and too much (fixated more upon their own romantic feelings than the revelation of the divine).

I hope you will find these thoughts of more value next year. Write me when you have returned to your post.

I remain ever ready to instruct and encourage.

Your mentor and friend,



Beware the Power of the Image

Dear Parents of our Most Precious Commodities,

I do not have much to tell you this week. Perdita’s latest report from the School of Dust and Ashes (that’s my new name for it – isn’t it clever!) is of such antiquated idiocy that it is hardly worth mentioning. The school children were taken off to an “art” exhibit which featured Christian art – mostly from the Renaissance.

The Renaissance was a time of a few steps in the movement toward throwing off the shackles of the religious tyranny of Christians in Europe, but in the area of art it remained deeply mired in the dark ages of Christian religiosity.

I think the way forward here (cast the past!) is simply to ignore it. If you just walk right by and don’t allow your children to be drawn in by these kinds of paintings, you can protect them from malign influences. I fear the children from the classical Christian School (dust and ashes, dust and ashes) are very far gone. I am deeply discouraged. Their young psyches may never recover from this terrible indoctrination.

These desperate children were perfectly mesmerized by certain paintings. There was a mother holding very young boy child on her lap, with another equally young boy wrapped in fur sitting beside them. Both boys have their hands on an oddly shaped thin stick with another stick-like piece near the top perpendicular to it. All three are gazing at this stick, and the children were told that this painting tells a long and convoluted fairytale story of the sort that I can’t bear to repeat, but it involves truly gory details of painful deaths. One has to recognize, Dear Parents, that children are especially sensitive to the notions they are exposed to and so very easily influenced by them. You want, above all, to protect them from the perils of Renaissance art, particularly of this sort – it has a dangerous power to teach them silly notions and to captivate young hearts.

I really don’t want to dwell on this, because it is so very painful for me and surely for you Dear Parents as well. I trust my readers to be the kind of people who want to see their children prosper and succeed. Keep those ideas always before your mind: Prosperity and Success! They will see you through these difficult moments.

This painting – I want to explain how and why it is dangerous, but I start gagging when I try. I feel this huge weight of excruciating gut-wrenching misery descend on me. But it is also so crucial to your children’s ultimate future that I must make the end justify the means. By Satan this is hard!

Dear Parents, save your children from these gruesome images! You don’t want your babies thinking about death and sacrifice, heads chopped off and a man hanging on a cross! Show them instead images of happy children playing with bright, colorful toys that move and captivating make sounds. They will desire these things that will keep them busy and distracted, and you can save them from the horrors of religion. Keep their minds on material things that they can manipulate, and keep them away from Renaissance images that will steal their souls!

The good news is that this kind of art is no longer being created in our enlightened modern age, but beware the real dangers of the past.

Turpia Corrumpior


Another Unassuming Girl Doing the Enemy’s Work

Dear Under-Secretary Screwtape,

Your attention to my request for additional forces was greatly appreciated; however, the snorting laughter was quite unnecessary, as was the harassment from your flying monkeys. Of course, all of your attention and judgments serve the best interests of our Master, and they are received with the most appalling joy, I assure you.

All that aside, I have uncovered yet another tome that needs to miraculously fall behind the shelves of these female humans: A Heroine of France: The Story of Joan of Arc (and other such stories of her life). These girl children find all kinds of potentially harmful books, and I cannot seem to find a way to dissuade them from reading! I have tried busyness, boredom, and back-biting (which have always worked before), but these girls have support from not only their parents (which we thought was a thing of the past), but also from their teachers!

I thought this was impossible in this cynical age. It seems this school they attend encourages the teachers and students to interact and truly engage in each others’ lives! In such intimate relationships, they assert undue influence on the girls’ reading habits, as well as their understanding and esteem of that worst Book. Any ideas or assistance you could give me on how to deal with this situation would be humbly and graciously accepted.

Their new focus on Joan, an old enemy of our mission to subjugate the humans to our Master, is quite upsetting. I remember her work like it was yesterday: another unassuming girl doing the Enemy’s work—among peasants and soldiers, no less! When France had nearly given up hope of ever driving the English out of their land, up rose this mere child to lead the army to stunning victories. Her devotion to God was twinned with her devotion to her country, and she was a force to be reckoned with. Our side fought hard, taunting her with madness and desperation, but she was given unheard-of strength from our Enemy above.  Even in her trial, even as she endured the stake, she never wavered in her absolute obedience to and love for God. The beatific joy she claimed could not be shaken.

Her story is a beacon to every female here—how can I stop this, Master? I can count at least a dozen here who have already read her story and are making great strides to follow her example. I am terrified of your judgment against me in this, yet another, failure. I will accept whatever punishment I must endure.

Yours Most Appallingly,

Probationary Junior Tempter


To the Commission on Misery

Misiferic Art Consortium
666 Accursed Vestibule
Sixth Circle, HLL

To the Commission on Misery:

On November 9, 2013, Junior Tempter Ydolem was arrested and charged by the Tartaras Task Force of two charges: allowing Serenity of Soul and Conciliatory Friendship through music among those belonging to the Enemy’s “Church.” In accordance with He Who Must Not Be Questioned’s Personnel Management System, Ydolem has been placed on Suspension without Pay until the investigation is completed and a Grand Jury is decided on an indictment. I have received a letter from the District Attorney’s office stating that Ydolem has already been indicted by the Damnation County Superior Court Grand Judy. Here is what we know thus far from cited sources among Enemy Sympathizers:

  1. Sung Psalms bring serenity of soul
  2. The so-called Author of Peace calms the bewildering thoughts we seek to create
  3. Additionally, a softening of wrath leading to conciliatory thoughts arises from this music
  4. When done in groups, it brings harmonious union and even charity
  5. This charity is impenetrable, even by seasoned tempters
  6. The voice of the so-called “Church” is strengthened

Because Ydolem has allowed the above (and it remains to be seen how much more), and because of his recent position as a second lieutenant, and because of the severity of the charges and the recent indictment, this is just cause for termination effective today, November 13, 2013.

Ydolem is no longer authorized to contract with the Commission for the Destruction of Sacred Sounds.  I will let the Standing Committee know that his contract has been discontinued.

Ydolem has no rights to appeal anything.

Yours most miserably,



Let The World Be Too Much With Them

My dear protégé,

I know that you grow impatient, both with the youth of your charge and with the seeming intransigence of her parents, who seem to persist in some measure of openness to the experience of nature for their child. Your response is understandable, though lamentable. You so easily forget both the nature of your charge and the nature of our work.

Your charge is young, malleable; your charge’s parents are older, more resistant to change, the Enemy having had longer to perfect his diabolical work. You focus on the brevity of the time your charge will have upon the Earth and feel, perhaps even rightly, the impatience of Our Father Below that you influence your charge to our purpose before the Enemy might take her, and more, that you might form her young to work our purposes in her brief time.

Yes, it will go poorly with you should you lose your charge, but even though the pangs of punishment and rebuke may fall upon you, remember that our cause goes ever forward. Our Father Below’s impatience is but that of one who rails against the injustice of his oppressor, who longs for the day of reckoning when the Enemy shall receive his due.

I will here offer some encouragement in your labors and in my future letters some more practical (though there is nothing so practical as a good theory) concerns.

You lament that your charge’s parents seem inclined to some appreciation of nature and beauty (though they have known not true beauty, the enraptured gaze of Our Father), and thus you somehow name my previous communication of little use. I will pass over your words as youthful exuberance for the time.

Remember my counsel that there are two means of temptation, to have your charge (and her parents) love the world too little or too much. It appears that the appeal of too little is of less use (though remember it may be effective later on), so we must now turn to the appeal of too much.

I noticed from my observations (remember that you are ever seen) volumes of poetry and prose upon the bookshelf. Two, in particular, may be of use and give an avenue for temptation. One is a slim volume of poetry (detestable slime, harsh to the ear and gross to the eye) by the Romantics; the other prose by the Transcendentalists. How, you may ask, can these, who from Tempter’s College you may remember to be lovers of nature, be used to our purposes?

Consider but a single poem, “The World is Too Much With Us.” The poet calls people to consider not the pursuit of mammon, and so seems to work to the Enemy’s purpose.  Yet subtly, this must (as he elsewhere calls his readers) to disdain the rising stacks of industrialization (much more beauteous in their darkness and smog as they more approximate our own glorious home) and instead to pursue the wonders of the natural world. At first, this appears to work for the Enemy’s purpose. But consider. The Romantics focused on nature as nature and on the proper emotional reaction to nature. Their thoughts were rarely led beyond to a conception of the Enemy. Let your charge’s parents go into nature. Let them enjoy it. But let them focus upon their own emotional reaction. Focused on themselves, they may believe, feeling something they would name “transcendent,” that they have encountered something of the Enemy. They will, instead, have encountered only their own terminus and, led to believe that this is some expansive dimension, never look beyond, or, finding their own limits and emotional entrapments, despair and return.

Consider as well the intense self-focus demanded. Forgotten are those who labor in the factories. As dirty and ill-kept as their laboring dungeons, as lacking in true appreciation (or so the Romantics name them), they are to be pitied, perhaps, but any real compassion (another hateful emotion) is safely kept distant. Never will the dull drudgery be relieved, and thus both those who know themselves slaves and those who believe themselves free are kept for us.

The Transcendentalists but continue this trend even more gloriously. Believing in “the Oversoul,” their language, their thoughts, their patterns seem to partake of the Enemy’s teaching and vision. In this, they are some of our greatest allies, for even those within the Enemy’s church often were won, even their pastors, to our cause. Banishing thoughts of the Enemy as he is, banished as well were thoughts of demons, Hell, and Our Father Below.

Would we will ourselves to be so forgotten and neglected? Unlike the Enemy, who must have notice, attention, devotion for men and women to belong to his cause, all we are in need of is inattention and “benign neglect.” But make your charge and her parents enjoy nature and forget it as a battleground, forget that it groans, we know, in anticipation of our victory, and they will be unwitting servants on Earth and most glorious feasts of pain and misery below.

Consider well, my protégé, the wisdom we at the Institute have gleaned over the years. Despise not my teaching, for you would do so to your peril.

Your mentor and friend,



Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Dear Parents of Our Most Precious Commodities,

There is a vicious movement afoot to deter human progress with propaganda from a past that is best left in the past. This is an educational movement called ‘Classical Christian Schools’. Now what possible use can anything either Classical or Christian be for Our Most Precious Commodities?! These notions ought to be relegated to the junk-heap of the abysmal past of the western world. If they are not, the danger to the field of psychological practice is immense! I call upon all Parents dedicated to producing Successful Offspring to abet me in the campaign to undermine and eradicate this insidious movement.

One of my – shall we say – disciples, over whom I have wielded great influence over the course of many years has managed to secretly infiltrate one of these schools, by successfully masquerading as a Christian who is interested in the classical heritage of western civilization (it gives me the shivers just to write those words!). I won’t disclose the school or her position in order to protect her secrecy, but will refer to her simply as Perdita.

Together Perdita and I will expose to you Dear Parents of Our Most Precious Commodities the nonsense being taught about art and the invidious artistic practices at that school, so that you can learn how to counter them and retaliate.

So here is Perdita’s first revelation. These schools are all into what they call “the Good, the True and the Beautiful.” Well good grief – what hogwash!  We just can’t allow that. If you want to lead your children to profound depths you must keep them focused on particulars and not allow them to consider universals.

The only True things are facts and facts are best found on the Internet. The only Good things are those that serve the purpose of the moment and get the job done; remember quantity is always more important than quality. It’s all about productivity.

And Beauty – well, you are not such fools as to think there is any such thing. Beauty isn’t real. It’s make-believe; it’s what we say it is or what we want it to be. It depends on circumstances. If I’m cold, a moth-eaten old sweater can be beautiful. If I’m hungry, a plate of soggy French fries might be beautiful. If you teach your children that “beauty” is merely relative to the situation and a matter of purely personal opinion, then I and my colleagues will applaud you for your refusal to be drawn into oddly “spiritual” attitudes toward art.

Here’s a good quote: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Use that to maintain your right to your personal opinion. And be sure to claim it’s from Plato. It isn’t what he actually said, but it’s an excellent way to fend off all those interfering snooty artsy types who want to “educate” you about art…as though there really is such a thing.

Turpia Corrumpior


Doing Away with the “Vile Activities”

Dear Under-Secretary Screwtape,

Thank you so very much for the fortnight in the Abyss—it was quite instructional. I appreciate even more so the order to release me and allow me to continue my mission with these female humans. You were justified in your judgment against me:  I allowed SH [Stepping Heavenward] to be passed around the entire Upper School. You have my word that will never happen again. That book is such an infuriatingly effective tool for our Enemy, speaking as it does to the hopes and dreams of all women, and being so sickeningly honest in its portrayal of a woman’s Christian spiritual journey. I shudder to think of the souls it has helped snatch from our Master’s clutches.

But no more of that! I have been busy investigating the homes of the female humans under my watch, and I have found more to be appalled by than I ever expected! I have discovered books dedicated to the lives of the Enemy’s so-called Saints! My best hope is that they have not been read—as you know, many humans own books as a sign of status and never actually read them. I was amazed to see, alongside your hated book by Foxe, such tomes as The Story of a Soul about Therese of Lisieux (remember how much she influenced her Sisters in the convent?). Her unswerving devotion to our Enemy, her insistent belief in His goodness, and her adherence to a simple and practical approach to a spiritual life did much to encourage the Church in the latter nineteenth century. Her story has been instrumental in helping the Enemy add untold thousands of souls to His ranks.

In case you believe my distress to be unfounded, let me remind your immanence of her contributions to the last century’s soul-count. She lived a hidden life and wanted to be unknown (and lived as a Carmelite nun in Lisiuex in Normandy until she died of tuberculosis). But she wrote about her spiritual journey, she wrote letters to her sisters and aunts, and she wrote an abundance of poetry—always focused on Jesus, His mother Mary, and her own devotion to the Word of God. Therese was content to live and work and pray—vile activities, of course—in obscurity, and it was only after her death that her work and words became useful to the Enemy. But since that time, her autobiography and other work has inspired millions of readers, including three twentieth-century Bishops of Rome. Her simplicity and “horror of pretense” (as she claimed) has drawn too many female humans to follow her example—and we are in danger of seeing these girls do the same.

Hear my pleas, Master Under-Secretary, and allow me the forces to redouble my efforts to draw these children away from their budding devotion to “profitable” reading.

Yours Most Appallingly,

Probationary Junior Tempter