And then I kept thinking about the story.
I called the story "craven," and while I knew that was the right term, I had a hard time pinpointing why. But I think I've got it now.
A couple of commenters call attention to the fact that the story is based on the story of Job. It's pretty obvious: this Lucifer character, the way the protagonist's life is thrown into chaos, the three false friends who think they're comforting him.
I have always felt that the single most important point in the entire story of Job is his commitment to justice, so much so that he demands an audience with and accountability from God, in such a way that God knows Job deserves it. Of course God gives him the audience but not the accountability--just shows up and says, "Who the hell are you? I'm way more powerful than you, so don't tell me what to do."
And Job cowers before the display of power and takes all his criticism back.
And God tacitly admits the injustice that has been done to Job and God's role in it by giving Job a completely new family, as if the children he lost were interchangeable with and replaceable by some new kids, new wealth, and telling everyone who questioned Job, "Job wasn't the wicked one; you are."
But the Job-like character in this story is too craven, too timorous, too gutless to call out to God and say, "I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment" and "Oh, that I knew where I might find God! That I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say against me."
This is it, this is the core problem of Mormonism: it refuses to hold its scripture, its prophets and its God accountable. Mormonism claims to reject the notion of infallibility for anyone but God--his prophets are not infallible--but practically speaking, that's not true. If you question the brethren, you're guilty of wickedness.
This is why the state where George W. Bush has the highest rate of approval and popularity is Utah: Mormons don't understand accountability. They don't require it. They aren't capable of it.
A system that does not hold its leaders--even divine leaders--accountable cannot admit its mistakes, and cannot evolve and improve as needed, and cannot demand true accountability and maturity from its followers.
Good grief, stuff like this makes me so glad I outgrew the church.