I now turn to milder ways of not offending the devil. Nephi has given us the pattern or formula by which Satan operates:
“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
“And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.”
C. S. Lewis gave us a keen insight into devilish tactics. In a fictional letter, the master devil, Screwtape, instructs the apprentice devil Wormwood, who is in training to become a more experienced devil:
“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. … It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. … Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
Society’s oft-labeled “sin laws” exist to counterattack Satan’s so-called small sins of gambling, alcohol use, and drug consumption. Some who wish to appear broad-minded say, under the guise of not imposing religious belief, “I don’t drink or gamble, but I don’t think we ought to have any laws to control others who wish to.” This completely ignores the health and social costs to society of the vices. They foolishly argue that laws cannot control human behavior. My long legal career has led me to conclude that all criminal laws have a moral basis.
Serving the Lord and Resisting the Devil
President James E. Faust
Second Counselor in the First Presidency