The Fable of the Camel
By Spencer W. Kimball
A camel and his owner were traveling across the desert sand dunes when a wind storm came up.
The traveler quickly set up his tent and moved in, closing the flaps to protect himself from the cutting, grinding sands of the raging storm. The camel was of course left outside, and as the violent wind hurled the sand against his body and into his eyes and nostrils he found it unbearable and finally begged for entrance into the tent.
“There is room only for myself,” said the traveler.
“But may I just get my nose in so I can breathe air not filled with sand?” asked the camel.
“Well, perhaps you could do that,” replied the traveler, and he opened the flap ever so little and the long nose of the camel entered. How comfortable the camel was now! But soon the camel became weary of the smarting sand on his eyes and ears … :
“The wind-driven sand is like a rasp on my head. Could I put just my head in?”
Again, the traveler rationalized that to acquiesce would do him no damage, for the camel’s head could occupy the space at the top of the tent which he himself was not using. So the camel put his head inside and the beast was satisfied again—but for a short while only.
“Just the front quarters,” he begged, and again the traveler relented and soon the camel’s front shoulders and legs were in the tent. Finally, by the same processes of pleading and of yielding, the camel’s torso, his hind quarters and all were in the tent. But now it was too crowded for the two, and the camel kicked the traveler out into the wind and storm.
Like the camel, Lucifer readily becomes the master when one succumbs to his initial blandishments. Soon then the conscience is stilled completely, the evil power has full sway, and the door to salvation is closed until a thorough repentance opens it again.
The importance of not accommodating temptation in the least degree is underlined by the Savior’s example. Did not he recognize the danger when he was on the mountain with his fallen brother, Lucifer, being sorely tempted by that master tempter? He could have opened the door and flirted with danger by saying, “All right, Satan, I’ll listen to your proposition. I need not succumb, I need not yield, I need not accept—but I’ll listen.”
Christ did not so rationalize. He positively and promptly closed the discussion, and commanded: “Get thee hence, Satan,” meaning, likely, “Get out of my sight—get out of my presence—I will not listen—I will have nothing to do with you.” Then, we read, “the devil leaveth him.” [Matthew 4:10–11.]
This is our proper pattern, if we would prevent sin rather than be faced with the much more difficult task of curing it. As I study the story of the Redeemer and his temptations, I am certain he spent his energies fortifying himself against temptation rather than battling with it to conquer it.