“The story begins… with Satan seeking to promote himself even in the premortal existence, and being cast out of heaven in his pride, and dedicating himself upon his fall to the destruction of this earth, “for he knew not the mind of God” (Moses 4:6)…. [H]e boasts just how he plans to put the world under his bloody and horrible misrule: He will control the world economy by claiming possession of the earth’s resources; and by manipulation of its currency—gold and silver—he will buy up the political, military, and ecclesiastical complex and run everything his way. We see him putting his plan into operation when he lays legal claim to the whole earth as his estate, accusing others of trespass, but putting everything up for sale to anyone who has the money.
“And how will they get the money? By going to work for him. He not only offers employment but a course of instruction in how the whole thing works, teaching the ultimate secret: “That great secret” (Moses 5:49-50) of converting life into property. Cain got the degree of Master Mahan, tried the system out on his brother, and gloried in its brilliant success, declaring that at last he could be free, as only property makes free, and that Abel had been a loser in a free competition.
“The discipline was handed down through Lamech and finally became the pattern of the world’s economy (Moses 5:55-56)…. Cain slew “his brother Abel for the sake of getting gain” (Moses 5:50)—not in a fit of pique but by careful business planning, “by the conspiracy” (D&C 84:16). The great secret he learned from Satan was the art of converting life into property—all life, even eternal life! The exchange of eternal life for worldly success is in fact the essence of the classic Pact with the Devil….
“There is no question of having some of both—“You cannot serve two masters” (see Matthew 6:24), the one being Mammon; if you try to have it both ways by putting off the final settlement, says Amulek, “the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and has no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you” (Alma 34:35). One may see Mahan at work all around, from the Mafia, whose adherence to the principle needs no argument, down to the drug pusher, the arms dealer, the manufacturer and seller of defective products, or those who poison the air and water as a shortcut to gain and thus shorten and sicken the lives of all their fellow creatures.”
Hugh Nibley, from his book Approaching Zion1