—JOSEPH SMITH, JR. Phase I: Conduct an Internal Audit
- Encourage members of the Ward/Stake council to observe their language over a two-week period, noting "so and so isn't Mormon, but..." or "us vs. them" statements. See Teaching Helps — What's in a Word?
Conduct a survey in Ward/Stake Council:
- Who are the last five individuals or families that you invited into your home?
- Of those five individuals/families, was the common bond something other than religion?
Phase 2: Know Your Ward Neighbor—Allows us to drink milk before meat, serving as a prototype for later phases
Introduce Know Your Neighbor in Sacrament meeting—talk delivered by Bishop or Ward Mission Leader
- Present each ward member with a Know Your Neighbor poster
- For those that participate, draw names from a hat; invite within six weeks
Hold multiple reinforcing events:
- Organize a Family Home Evening (FHE) or Primary sharing time during which a map is displayed and the children use pins/marker to identify where their nearest LDS neighbors live and/or those they will be inviting to dinner.
After the six weeks are up, during another Sacrament meeting, ask 4-5 members to report on their experience, proposing they ask themselves the question:
Having invited someone from our ward family into our home, do we feel a greater sense of community, and that we belong more than we did? Do I like the town that I live in more or less?
Phase 3: Know Your Neighbor—Moving from milk to meat
During the follow-up sacrament meeting for Phase 2, commit ward members to invite family/individuals, with whom they have something in common other than religion, into their home within the following 6 weeks.
In his talk "Creating a Gospel-Sharing Home", Elder M. Russell Ballard helps understand the important of inviting people into our homes with the following statement, "The Savior Himself showed us the way when He invited His disciples to "come and see where he dwelt, and [they] abode with him that day" (John 1:39).
Hold multiple reinforcing events:
- Organize a FHE and/or Primary sharing time during which families draw a picture of their street (houses) and write in the names of their neighbors.
- Hold RS/Priesthood/Mutual lessons on the topic.
After the six weeks are up, during another Sacrament meeting, ask 4-5 members to report on their experience, asking and answering the questions:
Do I feel a greater sense of belonging in my community than I did? Am I happier than I was? Have I detected any change in my definition of "us"? Is my town or neighborhood more attractive to me than it was?
"'Know your neighbor,' which was the theme for for ward conferences in 2005, has been particularly exciting for members of the Boston Massachusetts Stake in helping reach into the community in the wake of hurricane Katrina using 72 hour kits as a method to share.
Know Your neighbor has also magnified our desire to get to know those who live on either side, front and back, and up and down of our homes, not necessarily to share the gospel but mainly to be friendly and increase a level of security. The mindset of 'Know your Neighbor' brings about a wonderful gospel filled attitude that can add to each day's joy." —President Maury Hiers, Boston Massachusetts Stake
Phase 4: [possibility] Take Know Your Neighbor to the community—via the faith community, the schools or town hall.
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