by Maya Brown-Zimmerman
I started out this lesson with a brief synopsis of The Hobbit. You can quote Elder Uchtdorf here, or your own summary. I said something like, “Hobbits are little people who live underground, eat 6 meals a day, and prioritize the simple comforts of life. Bilbo is a hobbit who is tricked into going on adventure to defeat a dragon, Smaug to help the dwarves regain their mountain.”
Elder Uchtdorf draws the parallel between Bilbo’s great journey and our own: the journey to come to Earth and make it back to our Heavenly Parents. The first step in our journey is to incline our hearts to our Heavenly Parents.
Question: We know the Primary Answers. So thinking beyond the basics, what are other ways we can incline our hearts to our Heavenly Parents?
Answers might include service, surrounding ourselves with other seeking people, and asking for help
Elder Uchtdorf goes on to say that we’re going to need other people to help us on our journey (and to help them in return). To me, this idea is the meat of the lesson.
Our church is kind of uniquely organized into ward units, which we sometimes refer to as a ward family.
Question: How does being organized into wards affect our discipleship?
Answers might include that it gives us other people going on the same journey that we can build relationships with, teach and learn from. It also gives us long-term service opportunities, and the opportunity to practice conflict resolution (as a sister in my relief society pointed out, just like with other family units, you’re going to have disagreements within a ward family and need to figure them out).
While here on Earth, we need to learn to love as Christ did, and the Pure Love of Christ is charity.
Question: How can we practice the Pure Love of Christ in our ward? What about in our communities?
Answers might include no judgement, serving without fear, and actually serving in the community (and realizing that we belong to multiple types of communities). With the last, I mean that we can be rather insular in our church, and we need to realize that life is not about us going out and teaching “Them,” but that we can learn from and NEED to learn from all types of people. We need to leave our bubble and engage in meaningful service in the ways that other folx need, not just service we can do from within our church building.
Elder Uchtdorf talks about the importance of sharing our stories, and I interpret this to mean not JUST as missionary experiences.
Question: What are ways we can share our stories? How have others shared their stories with you?
Answers might include keep them relevant to the situation, social media, and local events
We are commanded to invite, but:
Question: How do we invite while still respecting boundaries?
Answers may include “No means no” (why is it that when it comes to church, members are so quick to think “no means try harder?”), be friends first: loving each other is more important than “bringing someone back,” and make invitations genuine, not a project. Also: listen to understand, not to respond.
Going back to this Hobbit metaphor, Bilbo got separated from his companions and went a different route. Some would say he was lost, but it was during that time that he came across The One Ring, which in the end is what helped him and his friends defeat Smaug.
Question: So, how might our adventure paths differ, even if we’re all trying to reach the same destination?
– Answers may include because we have individual relationships with God, we’re going to have individual journeys, and we need to not judge. What looks like “lost” to one person may be the next big step in someone else’s spiritual progression.