Yeah, we probably don’t need to tell you the name of the app that’s sweeping the nation. But just in case you don’t have a smart phone, or a television, or a front door, here it is: Pokémon Go. Turns out Pokémon didn’t die with the rest of the 90’s fads; far from it. They’re back and the world is obsessed with catching them all.
But what exactly is Pokémon Go, and should we be mourning the world as we know it? Well, things are certainly changing, but not necessarily for the worse. Pokémon Go pairs up with the GPS on your smart phone to lead you to Pokémon—fictional creatures which “trainers” use to battle each other. In this particular game, Pokémon are hidden all over your very own neighborhoods, and if you want to catch them, you’ll need to get up off your couch and start wandering.
We know, we know, the idea of wandering youth staring at their phones all day may seem very stereotypically Millennial, but hear us out. Pokémon Go may be doing a lot more good than you think.
Missionaries ‘Catch’ Pokémon Go Players
Gotta teach ’em all, right? Outside of the Provo Library, missionaries were seen preaching to the massive crowds that gather there every evening to catch Pokémon. Now, if that isn’t making the most of the fandom, we don’t know what is.
But even if you don’t see missionaries patrolling your Pokémon Go–infested neighborhoods, there are plenty of member missionary opportunities as you meet fellow trainers and make new friends. In fact, one could argue that, because of Pokémon Go, we no longer have the excuse that talking to strangers is awkward or impossible. Take advantage of this rare opportunity and, while you’re walking that 10k, strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never met. Who knows? The conversation could “evolve” into something spiritual. Hah hah. Hah.
Trainer Discovers Church Fire
While chasing Pokémon into a dark alley might not be such a good idea (those rumors about poorly located players getting mugged . . . yeah, they’re true), Pokémon Go has played a part in crime prevention—and, well, crime discovery, too. CNN reported that a girl playing Pokémon Go discovered a corpse in her home town of Riverton, Wyoming. Morbid, we know, but at least the body was found.
Bodies aren’t the only things Pokémon Go players are finding, though. In Kuna, Idaho, one trainer came across a couple of teenagers running away from a Deseret Industries storage unit. Apparently they’d lit the unit on fire. Who does that?
According to Clark Meredith, Boise Deseret Industries store manager, “That person that called it in was able to minimize the potential damage.” Typical witness-saves-the-day story, right? Here’s the “catch”: he’d discovered them at 4 a.m. Who else would be walking around at 4 a.m. but a Pokémon Go player (besides meddlesome teens, obviously)? Our point? We hear complaints about people spending too much time staring at their phones. But no one can deny that Pokémon Go is, to a great extent, making its players more aware of their surroundings than ever.
Parents Choose Pokémon Go for FHE
“Finish your chores and we’ll go on a Pokémon walk!” That’s what Christie, mother of three, says to her kids when she needs an effective bribe. Think she’s nuts? Well, parents everywhere are putting Pokémon Go to use. Parks all over the country have more visitors than ever, and websites like By Common Consent have even posted several months worth of Pokémon Go-themed Family Home Evenings. We’re talking lessons, scriptures (the activity is pretty much a given), the whole shebang.
If that seems a little outrageous to you, think about it: you’re getting your family out and about in the fresh air, and everyone, no matter their age, is playing and enjoying the same activity. If that isn’t a recipe for a successful FHE, we don’t know what is.
Pokémon Go Gets Trainers to Stand in Holy Places
This topic is a controversial one. After all, the idea of turning a church or even a temple into a Pokégym or a Pokéstop seems a little, well, sacrilegious, to say the least. And to an extent we agree.
But here’s the thing: when non-member trainers looking to snag some Poké-prizes come across a church or a temple, they’re bound to ask questions. That’s where members can come in, inviting their friends to join them not only for a Pokémon walk, but for sacrament meeting as well. *wink*
And when it comes to temples, the good news is that no one has to actually enter the property to attend a gym. So trainers can still keep a respectful distance from the grounds as they hunt for Pokémon. For the sake of sparking a meaningful discussion, members, be sure keep an eye out for the more spiritual Pokéstops in your neighborhood, and feel free to steer your friends in that direction.
*Note: A new article on LDS.org is helping members understand how to handle the attention Pokémon Go is bringing to official Church buildings, including meetinghouses, visitors’ centers, historic sites, and temples.
How has Pokémon Go helped you to #ShareGoodness in your neighborhood?