“You’re welcome to try.” More terrifying and exhilarating words have never been spoken. Albeit these words were spoken by my session leader during Dungeons and Dragons, these words hold a much deeper meaning when considered from an eternal perspective.
My family was pretty open to the nerdage. That exposure has brought a lot of good experiences my way. For example, Legend of Zelda taught me how to land surf, as shown in this image.
Another mark of my nerdom is that I play Dungeons and Dragons. It is an amazingly fun game. Saying that, I know a lot of people narrow their eyes and crinkle their noses when they hear about this game.
Despite the raised eyebrows, Dungeons and Dragons really does have the power to change peoples’ lives for the better! How? How does it do this? I’ll tell you right now, it isn’t using dark magic or anything sketchy like that. So, here are just a few ways that Dungeons and Dragons can improve your life.
Dungeons and Dragons teaches us to excel in this life and the next
Have you ever been a teacher? Perhaps you’ve had to present at work? Or even, have you ever had to set a meeting for a group of individuals with conflicting schedules? These are all skills I have started to master since beginning to run my own Dungeons and Dragons group.
Being able to present information in a timely and precise manner is a skill that you need to excel in the workplace. Not to mention, scheduling is literally the biggest setback for making progress. Being able to schedule, a must.
At church? Are you giving a talk? Or presenting a lesson? Yeah, these aren’t so scary when you have plenty of experience leading your players through a fantasy battle. You’ve already faced dragons and won, that guy with glasses in the back row has nothing on you.
But, “It isn’t real!” We could go into the whole quote from J.K. Rowling as said by Dumbledore, “‘Of course it is happening inside your head… but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” However, for simplicity’s sake, let’s just say we recognize that the adventures of Dungeons and Dragons are fantasy adventures like those found in Tolkien’s LOTR or C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Nevertheless, just like these books have a very divine message to offer, Dungeons and Dragons can teach us skills to be applied in secular and religious situations to benefit those for whom we care.
Dungeons and Dragons helps us form deep, meaningful relationships with others
As an adult, it can be hard to make time to “hang out” because sometimes you just don’t know what to do! Go to another movie, where you don’t even talk to each other? Eat more food, what about losing that weight? Sit and talk about the weather? You know, as much as I made fun of my parents for talking about the weather, I sure do use that as a topic of conversation frequently. Dungeons and Dragons gives me a chance to meet up with my friends, both old and new, and chat without the pressure. It’s something everyone can have fun with, no matter the day job.
God would have us create relationships with our brothers and sisters so that we can lift them and strengthen them in times of need. By playing D&D, I personally have been able to reach out to people that I could not have connected with otherwise. Some people just have a really hard time coming out of their shell and this game gives them a safe place. For others, I just would never see them because we have different interests in life. Networking for work and for salvation, this is how to do it.
Moreover, getting together with my friends reminded me why it was important to grow closer to the people of my community. I remembered why I needed to love people despite their faults. I have D&D to thank for that. Maybe, if there’s someone you’re looking to reconnect with, it’s time to invite them to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons.
Dungeons and Dragons reminded me why I go to church
Books. There are just so many books that use fantasy and symbolism to bring us back to God. As a good example, have you read the Alchemist? Certainly fantasy. Profoundly religious. Absolutely valuable. Authors through the ages have provided readers with stories reminiscent of the gospel of Christ.
Dungeons and Dragons too can be an uplifting and wholesome experience that reminds us of our Heavenly Father, His Son, and the Holy Ghost. For me, it provided time to remember how good God is in my own life. I was reminded to pray more often. I also learned to reach out to others, and to love all God’s children, no matter their struggles.
If you’ve forgotten who you are and why it was you go to church, perhaps it’s time to start a game of Dungeons and Dragons to remind yourself that you’re already in one of the greatest adventures ever to take place in the existence of everything.
“How do you want to do this?”
We’re welcome to try. I would even take that a step further and say we’re welcome to succeed. When we came to this earth, we were expecting to be tried and tested. But, we know we can do this, so long as we have faith in Christ our Redeemer.
This life is all about journeys and growth. Honestly, Dungeons and Dragons has a lot to offer us other than just enjoyment. It’s not a fantasy world that we explore by the end of this game. Instead, we explore ourselves. The skills we learn can help us better serve Heavenly Father and His children. Thereby we can see if we’re being true disciples of Christ and his teachings. In the realm of fantasy and fiction, we explore our own hearts, our own flaws and strengths, and our own lives. So, examining these things, it’s time to ask ourselves, “How do you want to do this?”
In what ways have games changed your life for the better? Feel free to comment below.
For more information on how D&D has changed lives for the better check out this article called Dungeons & Dragons Saved My Life by Jon Michaud. If you’re looking to know more about games and gaming culture in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, read this article called Video Games, Board Games, and Gaming Culture for Mormons by Noah Patterson.