06
Nov
08

Introduction

From: “Squirmtrap” squirmtrap@wormneverdies.org
To: “Lucifer” lucifer@wormneverdies.org
Subject: Yearly Evaluation

Your Evilness,

Per your request, I am forwarding the recent e-mail correspondence between myself and my two demonic charges, Bitternell and Sulphino (as well as the Tempter Evaluation form no. 666-S). I trust you will find all in order.

Summary:  Continue reading ‘Introduction’

01
Jul
09

Sulphino #6: Prayer Problems

From: “Squirmtrap” Squirmtrap@wormneverdies.org
To: “Sulphino” Sulphino@wormneverdies.org
Subject: Prayer Problems

My Dear Sulphino,

It is as I feared. The Enemy, it would seem, has allowed the pathetic whimpering of your patient to influence Him to act on her behalf.

Twice–twice!–this week, your attempts to incite her to contact her unhappily married friend Lance for consolation were thwarted. And it’s no good placing the blame on Hornchill, who is in charge of Lance. Scapegoating and blame are invaluable tools in the tempter’s arsenal, to be sure, but if you think they will keep Our Father Below from holding you responsible, you are greatly mistaken indeed.

Ah, but there is reason for hope, you claim, since your patient is clearly struggling. Bah! I had expected more of you, my dear cousin. Struggling itself is no victory for us…only succumbing. Just as a human muscle may be strengthened by exercise, so struggling against our efforts—resisting temptation, they call it—may only serve to increase their ability to resist.

I suggest you focus your efforts more on keeping your patient from calling upon the Enemy than on inducing her to call upon Lance. Success in the former will make the latter more easily achieved. At the very least, her supplications to the Enemy should be marked by fear and doubting. There are a number of useful ways you might pursue this course:

  • Your patient should be led to believe that a certain state of mind must be achieved before engaging in prayer, rather than the other way around. You must keep her focus as much as possible on her state of mind, not on the Enemy or the even the content of her supplication. Prayer should be viewed primarily as a form of therapy, rather than a tool used by the Enemy to accomplish His purposes.
  • Your patient should worry that her regular offenses against the Enemy are such that it would be presumptuous for her to call upon Him.
  • Your patient should be filled with doubts as to whether the Enemy really should be bothered about her insignificant problems. (Indeed, it is inconceivable why the Enemy should not only allow these ridiculous creatures to pester Him with their complaints, but practically beg them to do so!) Take special care that your patient does not stumble across the parable of the persistent widow during her irregular dabbles in the Enemy’s words.

And so on. I have no desire to do your work for you, my dear cousin, and even less do I wish to recommend your transfer to another patient who would prove even more difficult than the one you have. It has come to my attention that there is an opening for a tempter to a certain Aunt Abbie, as everyone calls her, who is advanced in years and known for her generosity and good works, fervent and frequent prayer, uncomplaining tongue, and gentleness. She is considered to be one of the more unpleasant punishments given to lazy young tempters, all of whom eventually have fallen under the wrath of Our Father Below. We needn’t discuss what happened to them, my dear cousin. I suggest you redouble your efforts with your current patient so that such a discussion does not become necessary.

I shall be eager to receive your next report.

Your affectionate cousin,
Squirmtrap

31
Mar
09

Bitternell #6: Theology E-List

From: “Squirmtrap” Squirmtrap@wormneverdies.org
To: “Bitternell” Bitternell@wormneverdies.org
Subject: Theology E-List

My Dear Bitternell,

I gather you are distressed because your patient has joined an online theological discussion group. You fear, perhaps, that his participation will foster a sense of community with other servants of the Enemy as well as providing him with indoctrination in the Enemy’s cause—spiritual nourishment, I believe they call it.

Nothing could be further from the truth, my dear nephew.

While it is indeed possible for these online  forums to strengthen the Enemy’s troops, there is also great potential for doing them harm. The opportunities for spreading twisted distortions and bizarre variations of the Enemy’s teachings, for offending fellow servants of the Enemy, and most of all, for multiplying rancor as bitter discussions spill onto various blogs—oh, the possibilities! (You are familiar with the term “blog,” I hope. A Luciferian can not afford to be a Luddite as well.)

In addition, your patient can be encouraged to view these online “spiritual excursions” as an acceptable substitute for gathering in the presence of the Enemy each week. But take care that he does not mention this reasoning to the zealot Nate. No doubt the zealot would be quick to show your patient his faulty reasoning—that attending a dinner at someone’s home and engaging in an e-mail discussion about said dinner are two different matters entirely.

I look forward to hearing your plans for exploiting this new pursuit.

Your affectionate uncle,
Squirmtrap
~~~~~~~

From: “Squirmtrap” Squirmtrap@wormneverdies.org
To: “Bitternell” Bitternell@wormneverdies.org
Subject: Re: Theology E-List

My Dear Bitternell,

I see that you have not kept up with current trends in technology quite so well as you might have. Can it really be that you have not yet obtained a computer? You are rather imposing on Scuttlebite by constantly popping in to use his. May I suggest you procure your own immediately? I would also suggest choosing one with the Windows operating system. It was designed by some of our own people and is very likely the most significant catalyst for spontaneous profanity in existence. But I digress.

The first step in using your patient’s new online theological discussion group to full advantage is to plant the idea of his creating an anonymous username. This will likely result in far more unreasonable and hysterical conduct than he might otherwise engage in if using his real name. Doctrinedude or 4Truth4Evr would do nicely, I think.

As for his participation in the group: remember that not all theological debate is helpful to Our Father Below. The Enemy says, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Therefore, you will need to see to it that your patient goes about this in the proper way. For example, he should take whatever is written by fellow list members out of context and interpret it in the worst possible light.

At first he may be permitted use those ridiculous so-called “emoticons” (such as the smiling or winking face). But at some point he should be weaned off them, lest they have the effect of making his rebuttals and disagreements seem less harsh and impersonal.

Despite his being a relatively new convert to the Enemy’s cause, he should be given an overinflated sense of his own maturity and wisdom. If possible, he should be encouraged to think of himself as a modern day Athanasius, standing alone for truth against the entire world—including (and especially) fellow servants of the Enemy. “Too many Athanasii spoil the Bread and Wine,” as we old-timers are fond of saying.

Restraint in posting is to be avoided at all costs. As the Enemy also says: “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” It is best if your patient regularly responds to those with whom he disagrees immediately after reading their posts (or better yet, after only a quick skim), lest he have time to reflect on what they are truly saying or, even worse, take time to craft a careful and charitable response. Impatience and escalation should be the guiding principles.

One final note: try to keep your patient at his computer as long as possible each day. The many hours spent without interacting with those around him—whether friends, family, or neighbors—can only be good for our cause.

TTFN (please ask Scuttlebite if you are unfamiliar with this acronym).

Your affectionate uncle,
Squirmtrap

03
Mar
09

Sulphino #5 & 6: Angry Husband

From: “Squirmtrap” Squirmtrap@wormneverdies.org
To: “Sulphino” Sulphino@wormneverdies.org
Subject: Re: Angry Husband

My Dear Sulphino,

Wonderful news, indeed! So your patient’s husband lost his temper (what delicate phrases the human fools invent to make their offenses against the Enemy seem more innocuous), said some rather unpleasant things to his wife, and left the house in a huff. It’s just the sort of thing that would make your patient call up that fellow Lance and rush into his sympathetic and waiting arms.

I wonder…could it be that she intentionally escalated the disagreement to give herself an excuse for seeking consolation from her friend? Perhaps she is not yet that advanced in her hard-heartedness, but it would certainly speak well of your work (not to mention my little contributions to the effort) if that were the case.

At any rate, your patient should continue to brood about the unkind things her husband said (with the most vicious interpretation possible in regard to the content and tone). This should be immediately followed by thoughts of the tender, attentive way she is treated by Lance. If only she realized how unkind and boorish is his typical behavior at home! Perhaps, deep down, she does. Humans have a remarkable capacity for suppressing the Enemy’s warnings and for deceiving themselves.

Lance, no doubt, will be eager to “minister” to his friend and offer her “spiritual guidance.” It is an amusing game at times, is it not, Sulphino?

Your affectionate cousin,
Squirmtrap

~~~~~~~

From: “Squirmtrap” Squirmtrap@wormneverdies.org
To: “Sulphino” Sulphino@wormneverdies.org
Subject: A Matter of Concern

My Dear Sulphino,

I had not intended to write again so soon, but I have been informed of a disturbing development. It is clear that the Enemy has been working behind the scenes to undermine your efforts. Odd that you did not mention this thing yourself in our recent correspondence. An oversight, no doubt. Only keep in mind, my dear cousin, that Our Father Below keeps a close eye on his servants. It is not to your advantage to relate only your successes while leaving your failures unmentioned. Enough said on that point.

The difficulty is that your patient has apparently begun to make a habit of praying.

I don’t mean that she has a growing desire to pray–I mean that she is praying despite of her lack of desire. It means that she is attempting to obey the Enemy’s requirement that his followers walk by faith, not by sight. Only a fool would do so, of course—but we have known all along that the Enemy’s followers are fools, have we not?

Still, all is not yet lost. If your patient spends a good deal of time praying about and for this fellow Lance, she may end up using prayer merely as a pretext for “sanctified fantasizing.” Perhaps she is praying that her feelings for him would be taken away, even as she relishes wallowing in those feelings. Rather disgusting, but far safer than if she were to turn her thoughts and words away from Lance and toward the Enemy.

You must ensure, above all, that she does not begin using the Enemy’s words during her prayers. It seems rather vain for the Enemy to delight in hearing His own words offered back to Him, but He responds to that sort of thing. Fortunately, our research indicates that most of His followers spend precious little time praying, much less thinking about what sort of prayer pleases the One to whom they offer it.

That great tempter Brinerot always warned his trainees about a particular collection of the Enemy’s words called the Psalms, which contain the full range of horrid human emotions from joy to terror to thanksgiving to anguish. Brinerot recalls fearful times in human history when the Enemy’s servants would chant and sing those awful words with one voice, causing our very gates to shudder and creak.

Fortunately, that sort of thing has fallen out of favor through the years. There are, of course, places here and there where it is still practiced, but for the most part the Psalms have been dropped in favor of other sung prayers. I must say, the gatheringof the Enemy’s troops is rendered rather less fearful when they are crooning about gazing tenderly into the eyes of the Savior, rather than singing and shouting “The LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods.”

Hateful and fearful, that sort of thing. But I digress.

The long and short of it is that if you cannot keep your patient off her knees, let her prayers be rambling, self-centered, and full of discontent—just like her abysmal poetry.

Your affectionate cousin,
Squirmtrap

15
Jan
09

Bitternell #5: A Day with the Zealot

From: “Squirmtrap” Squirmtrap@wormneverdies.org
To: “Bitternell” Bitternell@wormneverdies.org
cc: “Lucifer” Lucifer@wormneverdiesorg
Subject: A Day with the Zealot

My Dear Bitternell,

No doubt you are uncomfortably aware that this week won’t be remembered as one of your finest. Is it really possible that you not only allowed your patient to get a day off work (which means one day less of influence by the agreeably diabolical Dr. Snyder), but that he spent the day not in revelry or idleness, but in the company of the zealot, Nate? Our Father Below will be most displeased. I have no choice to report it, you understand.

I realize  you could not help Dr. Snyder’s being invited to participate in the annual Atheist Golf Tournament. (I must speak to Gallpit about using Dr. Snyder’s talents in a more productive manner. Though the event’s goal is to raise money and awareness for the removal of religious belief from public policy matters, I sense that the Enemy is amused rather than alarmed by their efforts.)

But back to your patient’s day….recall the Enemy’s words: “He who walks with the wise will be wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.” Though I would hardly put this Nate on par with the terrible Lady Wisdom, yet he does attempt to follow the Enemy and has a great desire to do so better. (It is an inexplicable and foolish weakness of the Enemy that He takes delight in the clumsy and pathetic efforts of His followers to serve Him. Our Father Below understands that good results are obtained by perfectionism, not pampering. The Enemy seems to have forgotten His own words on the subject: “He who pampers his slave from childhood will in the end find him to be a son.” Scuttlebite thinks that is His intention, but I find it difficult to believe that the Enemy would really prefer the inconvenience and care of a host of sons and daughters to the cheap and satisfying service of slaves.)

Your patient is not yet far enough along in his indoctrination by Dr. Snyder to be much of an “evil” influence on Nate. Therefore, I am sorry to say, the zealot seems to have influenced your patient instead. Let us review the events of the day. (You, of course, remember them quite vividly, but this e-mail also serves as a progress report to Our Father Below, who is being cc’d).

The first sign of trouble was when Nate, after picking up your patient from his dorm, suggested they pause and pray before venturing out. Why the Enemy would trouble Himself with a keeping couple of insignificant youths out of trouble when surely He has more important things to do is anyone’s guess. And yet it appears that the Enemy does listen and answer, even when the supplicants are not aware of it.

Their first stop was a coffee and pastry shop not far from campus where the zealot Nate once again insisted upon calling on the Name of the Enemy—giving thanks or “saying grace,” I believe it is called. Your patient at least had the intelligence to be quite embarrassed at bowing his head in the middle of a busy eating establishment while Nate muttered his prayer.

I should mention here that there are two schools of thought on the subject of praying in public before meals. Some of our scholars agree that this practice is to be encouraged. Recall that the Enemy exhorts His followers to pray in private, not to be seen by men. If one’s patient can begin to take pride in these little demonstrations—the louder and longer the prayer, the better—it can be a useful tool in the tempter’s arsenal. Others, however, say the Enemy is never more powerfully present than in a thankful heart. They suggest it can be dangerous for humans to be continually reminded that all they have comes from the hand of the Enemy—and to thank Him for it. If these public prayers are brief and unostentatious, yet unabashed, they may do more harm than good to the cause of Our Father Below. Simply keep in mind, as I have mentioned in our previous correspondence, that we should never engage in a one-size-fits-all approach. You must take into consideration your patient’s temperament and circumstances in deciding whether to encourage or discourage this practice.

As they finished their meal, they considered stopping by a bookstore, where Nate intended to recommend some “good spiritual reading” for your patient’s “edification.” It is easy to understand, I suppose, how a junior tempter such as yourself may have panicked at hearing this. But I’m sure you would agree now that causing a minor car accident outside the coffee shop was a bit desperate on your part. I realize your motive was to turn their attention to something other than plans for spiritual reading. What resulted, as I think you know, was far worse.

It turned out the driver of the car was an elderly woman–a widow whose health has been in decline of late and who has few friends or family in the area. Your patient and Nate rushed out to help her. I believe the parking meter she collided with suffered far more damage than her person, but they decided to see her home, nevertheless. They ended up spending the rest of the morning there, doing odd jobs for her around the house and staying for a lunch, to the old woman’s utter delight. If this weren’t bad enough, they have promised to stop by once a week to visit and help out in whatever way they can.

Ah, Bitternell, Bitternell! How much better it would have been for your patient to go to the bookstore. No doubt any book purchased would have sat untouched on his bedside table, since he is not much of a reader at this point. You recall, of course, that the Enemy has said: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress…” Enough said.

The rest of the day included other relatively harmless activities which neither helped nor hindered the cause of Our Father Below. But at the end of the day, Nate elicited a promise from your patient that he would make every effort to get off work the following Sunday and attend worship with him. I cannot emphasize enough that you should see to it that this does not happen.

You have your work cut out for you, my dear nephew, to undo the damage that occurred on your watch. I’m sure you will work tirelessly to do so. Our Father Below expects nothing less.

Your affectionate uncle,
Squirmtrap

02
Jan
09

Sulphino #4: Patient’s New Spiritual Advisor

From: “Squirmtrap” Squirmtrap@wormneverdies.org
To: “Sulphino” Sulphino@wormneverdies.org
Subject: Patient’s New Spiritual Advisor

My Dear Sulphino,

Interesting. Very interesting, indeed. Your patient has found a friend from church who is willing to offer sympathy, encouragement, and advice about your patient’s marital woes—and has promised to pray about her situation. Pardon me if I don’t share your concern.

I realize that, as higher spiritual beings, we are not given to irrational passions that so often consume the pathetic human race. But, really, my dear cousin, you are not a complete novice; I should think you would have begun capitalizing on this development instead of lamenting it.

Don’t you see…this friendly and compassionate ear is attached to a human male. And not just any male—but one who is near your patient’s age, not unpleasant to look upon (as I am given to understand. I’m afraid I find all human vermin equally disgusting), and, most importantly, one who is experiencing difficulties in his own marriage. Your patient has all but handed you a spike on which to skewer her soul!

The occasional phone calls and e-mails (and especially the quick hand-squeezes of support in the church hallways) are most certainly to be encouraged. At times it is difficult for us to get a firm foothold in a Christian marriage except by some pious pretext. Yet once the foothold is managed, it is fairly easy to progress quickly toward unfaithfulness. More marriages are lost to piety than pornography, my dear cousin. (An overstatement, of course, but I’m sure you see the point).

When seeking consolation and “spiritual encouragement” from this man, your patient must be kept blind to her real motives. This should be fairly easy, since she will not be overly eager to examine them.

If all goes well, your patient will begin to compare her new friend (Lance, I believe, is the creature’s name) with her husband. It is important that she compare a blurry, unfocused, romantic image of Lance with the starkly realistic one of her  husband. Consider using the typical scene of her husband in t-shirt and sweat pants, feet on the coffee table, shouting at one of his children to “Shut your trap so Daddy can hear the game!”

I trust you will not let this marvelous opportunity go unexploited.

Your affectionate cousin,
Squirmtrap

18
Dec
08

Bitternell #4: Church Attendance

From: “Squirmtrap” Squirmtrap@wormneverdies.org
To: “Bitternell” Bitternell@wormneverdies.org
Subject: Church Attendance

My Dear Bitternell,

Your patient’s “de-indoctrination” is proceeding nicely. As for his oversleeping and missing a biology exam…I am glad you were so amused by his distress, but I must say, your interfering with his alarm clock was somewhat pedestrian. Remember that if this sort of thing happens often, it may inspire him to clear out his schedule to allow more time for rest. In that case, his part-time job would likely be the first thing to go. Quitting his job would not only enable him to attend the Enemy’s weekly meeting with His followers, but remove your patient from Dr. Snyder’s influence. Please don’t overdo it.

There is another matter…something must be done about a fellow student and zealot, Nate, I believe he is called, who has made a number of unsuccessful attempts to bring your patient back into the insidious influence of the “Campus Christians.”

I must remember to commend Slugtrail, who is in charge of that young zealot. Nate was about to call your patient and invite him to church when Slugtrail, thinking quickly, diverted him. He planted the idea in Nate’s head to take some time first to help his roommate with an essay. Not only did Nate forget his earlier resolution to call your patient, but he succeeded in greatly annoying his roommate. They are both quite vain when it comes to assessing their scholastic skills, and Nate’s frequent attempts to tutor is one of his roommate’s pet peeves.

The Enemy, of course, will be working to ensure that the zealot eventually makes contact, so I suggest you develop a list of excuses your patient can offer as to why he cannot attend church. I’ve listed a few examples below:

▪   “I’d like to come, but my heart isn’t right. I need to work out some issues first.”

Ordinarily we don’t want patients to dwell on what the Enemy calls “sin,” but such meditations can be used to good effect at times. Make the patient think he must somehow cleanse himself inwardly before coming into the presence of the Enemy, rather than coming to the Enemy in order to be cleansed. This sort of thinking has other useful applications, such as keeping a patient from participating in the so-called Eucharist (that revolting, frightening, and inexplicable rite), or from doing other works on behalf of the Enemy.

▪   “I can pray and read the Bible on my own at home just as easily as church.”

You know as well as I that only one out of a hundred who express this sentiment will actually follow through and do it. But far better that the humans be scattered about, offering their individual prayers at home, if it means they neglect gathering together as the Bride—terrible as an army with banners. You and I, my dear nephew, can see what these idiot humans cannot: that when they gather, as the Enemy has commanded, He meets with them, offering rest, nourishment, and weapons for the fight. He has chosen, for reasons we cannot fathom, to allow them to enter into his heavenly counsel room during such assemblies, that they may rule with Him (for the time being, Bitternell, for the time being) and offer their supplications on behalf of the rest of the wretched world. Allow them to read their Bibles or pray at home, if you must. But keep them, at all cost, from assembling and becoming as one.

▪   “I haven’t found a church I really like.”

Those silly human creatures have somehow come to think that the important thing is to like their fellow church members, when what the Enemy requires is that they love them. If they are always on the search for a group that perfectly suits all of their tastes, whims, prejudices, and convictions, they will be ever kept on the move. A plant continually pulled from the soil and transplanted will never develop strong, deep roots. Such a plant will be especially vulnerable to drought, disease, and strong winds. So should our patients be.

Your affectionate uncle,
Squirmtrap

11
Dec
08

Sulphino #3: Marital Conflicts

From: “Squirmtrap” Squirmtrap@wormneverdies.org
To: “Sulphino” Sulphino@wormneverdies.org
Subject: Re: Marital Conflicts

My Dear Sulphino,

That was quite a row between your patient and her husband. Delightful! It was so spectacular, in fact, that I’m afraid it momentarily distracted Glimewad from his duties with the neighbor across street. Fortunately, that particular neighbor is given to spying and eavesdropping and was enjoying the event as well, so no real harm done.

And to think your patient and her husband practically came to blows over who left the light on in the upstairs bathroom! Ah, these silly humans like to think themselves high-minded and noble and scrupulous for truth when they are likely as not arguing over some trifling matter. Even when they realize this mid-argument, they feel as though they must continue for the principle of the thing (it’s what they tell themselves, at any rate).

It would have been much easier on your patient’s marriage—not to mention her vocal cords—if she had simply flipped off the lights and went about her business. Humans so often prefer the more difficult route—unless, of course, it requires self-sacrifice. At times they do our job more effectively than we do, eh, Sulphino?

Please don’t think, however, that you may bask in your victory for long. As with the lost-temper incident with her child, you don’t want your patient to listen to the Enemy’s urgings to humble herself and admit her fault in escalating the incident. Her thoughts must dwell on her husband’s faults–and they are many, to be sure. It would have been just as easy for her husband to acknowledge his forgetfulness, flip off the lights, and drop the subject when confronted. How much better for us, is it not, that instead he rolled his eyes and muttered, “I guess we’ll have to give up that vacation this year since we just spent an extra 20 cents on electricity.”

These are the sorts of remarks that should be swirling about in your patient’s mind. If you are unable to keep her from praying about the conflict, her focus should be on asking the Enemy to change her husband’s disagreeable behavior, not her own.

You would also be well-advised to coax to life the little spark of resentment she has recently begun to feel about being in charge of household tasks. That article from a women’s magazine passed along to her by her neighbor (“Are You Oppressed?”) did a fine job of sowing the seeds of discontent.

Amusing, is it not, that in places where oppression of women actually occurs one is least likely to hear about it. The parts of the world where “women’s oppression” is decried the loudest tend to be, more likely than not, where oppression is defined as having to unload the dishwasher.

An Enemy soldier once said:

“The common notion of equality is based on the image of the march. In a parade, really unequal beings are dressed alike, given guns of identical length, trained to hold them at the same angle, and ordered to keep step with a fixed beat. But it is not the parade that is true to life; it is the dance. There you have real equals assigned unequal roles in order that each may achieve his individual perfection in the whole. Nothing is less personal than a parade; nothing more so than a dance. It is the choice image of fulfillment through function, and it comes very close to the heart of the Trinity. Marriage is a hierarchical game played by co-equal persons. Keep that paradox and you move in the freedom of the Dance; alter it, and you grow weary with marching.”

Keep this in mind when attempting to stir up your patient’s unhappiness with her role. Of course, your patient is correct that her husband ought to help out more around the house and appreciate her contributions. But by all means, let us keep her from enjoying the “dance.”

Your affectionate cousin,
Squirmtrap




Description of Patients

Bitternell's patient: 19-year-old male in his second year of college. New convert to Christianity.

Sulphino's patient: 36-year-old female, married with two young children. Longtime Christian.

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