Here are some gospel lessons we can learn from the movie Finding Nemo—a classic the whole family can enjoy!
"When sore trials come upon us, it's time to deepen our faith in God, to work hard, and to serve others. Then He will heal our broken hearts. He will bestow upon us personal peace and comfort. Those great gifts will not be destroyed, even by death."
(Russell M. Nelson, "Jesus Christ—The Master Healer," October 2005 general conference)
"Press Forward, Saints," Hymns, #81
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life" (2 Nephi 31:20).
For more on this topic, read "Press Forward and Be Steadfast" by Elaine S. Dalton, April 2003 general conference.
Finding Nemo is the story of a clownfish named Marlin who teams up with a forgetful blue fish named Dory to find Marlin's son, Nemo, who has been kidnapped and taken to Sydney, Australia.
Nemo's disappearance throws Marlin's world upside-down. After his wife's death, Marlin always tried to keep Nemo safe, to the point of being overcautious sometimes. Losing Nemo forces Marlin to leave his comfortable, safe life behind and face dangerous situations.
Marlin stresses that he promised Nemo that he'd "never let anything happen to him," but as Dory pointed out, "You can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for [Nemo]."
Our trials might not turn out to be fun per se, but God doesn't want us to live our lives in stagnation, with nothing ever happening to us. He wants us to experience life to the fullest, and He always seeks to help us grow to our full potential.
"Time never stands still," said President Monson ("Finding Joy in the Journey," October 2008 general conference), "It must steadily march on, and with the marching comes the changes."
"Of course, there is no going back, but only forward. Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future."
Dory certainly lived this mentality. When Marlin gets discouraged, she says, "When life gets you down, do you wanna know what you've gotta do? Just keep swimming!"
Later, the always-careful Marlin is still reluctant to take risks. He asks Dory, "How do you know something bad won't happen?" Her response? "I don't!"
We can't know what lies ahead, but we can have hope in the future and decide now how we're going to respond to trials and adversities.
Marlin eventually learns to be optimistic and find fun even in extremely difficult situations—such as the jellyfish fields he and Dory have to escape without being stung. Marlin tries to look on the bright side of the situation to get himself and Dory out safely. "We're cheating death now. That's what we're doing, and we're having fun at the same time."
A big part of life is finding joy in the journey. President Monson said, "Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us."
Finding Nemo helps us see the value of friendship and teamwork as we go through trials. In Sydney, Nemo makes friends with the other fish in the dentist office fish tank, and they work together to attempt an escape. He also gains a greater appreciation for his dad, now that they're separated.
Marlin makes lots of friends along the way as he searches for Nemo. Even though he didn't want Dory to come along in the first place, he eventually comes to fully trust her. Because, as Dory points out, "Trust. It's what friends do."
We don't have to go through life alone. We don't have to do it all ourselves. We have spiritual brothers and sisters all around us.
And even when it seems like we're completely alone, we have this assurance from the Lord: "Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days" (D&C 24:8).
Watch Finding Nemo as a family, and/or play "Quicksand."
Designate a starting line and a finish line, then figure out how to get the whole family across when you're only able to step on two small towels or mats. (You'll have to all get on Towel 1, then pass Towel 2 ahead, all get on Towel 2, pass up Towel 1, etc.) If anyone steps off the mat, they're in the "quicksand," and everyone must go back to the starting line and begin again. If you have a large enough group, split into teams and make it a race!
This game requires patience and teamwork to get everyone across safely and results in lots of laughs. Relate this to the lesson!