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Memory

An Exercise in Screwtaping

“We ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them.”  Doctrine & Covenants 20:77

Memory.

Humans misuse it so. Even with their verbal bread-taking commitment to “always remember Him,” most of them apply memory in haphazard, indulgent ways. This is ever to our advantage. If your patient were to actually observe her covenant, it would be to our demise.

Firstly, abstract the covenant to remember. Your mission is to keep her gaze away from Him. Don’t let her realize that all good things come from Him, or that all good memories fulfill this promise. Keep her from scripture and sermon, of course. But you must also zealously avoid memories that invoke gratitude, spiritual submission, or repentance.

Secondly, incite memories that glorify the past.

Do this, and she will be blind to the blessings of the present. She will be of little good to Him if she suspect that His best gifts are behind her. With any luck, she will resent Him for holding out on her (when in truth she is holding out on Him).

You should also cultivate fondness for past sins. Our Father authors great pleasures, but they are temporary. You will thus need to simultaneously evoke memories of sinful pleasure whilst repressing memories of what followed. Glorify the sin and hide the consequence. This is the secret to poor mental hygiene.

Lastly, use memory as a means of belaboring deficit in all forms. Remind her of all that she lacks. Remind her of the mistakes she made during the day. Remind her of annoyances and hatreds. Remind her of unkind things that her spouse once said or did.

In short, remind her of all things ugly, mean, and base. Until she learns reminisce intentionally, her mind is all but yours.

What in the name of satire—? Confused by the devilish tone? Intrigued by the irony? This post is part of a Screwtaping series. Check out the full story (and more Tempts) here.

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Jenny Harris
Jenny is a star-gazing, book-clubbing mother of two. She has a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, which is mildly comical (but also a boon in parenting and relationships). Her kids will attest that she’s crazy about reading aloud, time out of doors, and creative play. Her family’s goal is the “abundant life,” as prescribed by Jesus. You can read more posts by Jenny here.

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