Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Madness of Denethor

"The Madness of Denethor" has been a phrase that has come to mind numerous times over the past six months or more. It is not a happy observation.

In The Lord of the Rings, Denethor is steward, or acting leader, of the land of Gondor. Should the heir ever come to claim the throne, Denethor would then step aside as his stewardship would then be complete. At least he would if he did not resent the heir for making claim on authority Denethor did not wish to give up. If that was all there was to it, the story would simply be one of political rivalries.

But it is not.

Aragorn, the heir, was raised in obscurity because his lineage was hunted by the real antagonist. This antagonist, Sauron, was so beyond the powers and skill of the world's inhabitants that even the strongest man (wizard) had switched sides as Sauron's victory was considered 'inevitable'. Few stood up the wicked forces and some of those were of the weakest of beings. How could anyone expect anything other than being overrun by evil?

That is exactly how Denethor saw things. 'His' kingdom being taken away, his favored son dead, his despised son dismissed to death, and a force incomprehensible outside the city walls.

What was there for him to do? He chose death for himself and for all around him for he had decided that life was no more worth living.

Many are choosing the same things. It is no longer a horror story every few years. No longer once a year. Now it is multiple times a week.
D&C 45:26  And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men's hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.
The saddest part is that it did not need to be. He hated life because it was not what he decided it must be. But it was a decision. He chose to deny the truth of his position. His unwillingness to accept his part made the loss of the part not his own that much harder. It was his demands for power that led his favored son to be so desperate and therefore vulnerable. It was his own bitterness and hatred of difference that led him to misvalue his remaining son until he was left with 'nothing' and no one. It was his refusal to admit to hope, even from the source that denied him the glory he demanded that meant he could not imagine hope.

It did not have to be.

And so many are following the same pattern. So many are succumbing to the madness of Denethor and taking others with them. But, as in The Lord of the Rings, we too must wait and place our hope in the return of the King, for He will come. It's gonna get ugly. In so many ways it already is. The world is polarizing and the differences expanding. But the scriptures (of many denominations and religions, mind you) promise that this end, of sorts, is also a beginning of a far better story.

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