Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book of Mormon Cake Challenge

Our theme for the month is Knowledge. This week for Mutual we had a Book of Mormon themed cake-decorating challenge. I saw the original idea for this activity here at, but we did ours a little differently.

LESSON:  We started out with a little lesson about the Book of Mormon. I asked the girls why we focus so much on the Book of Mormon when we also have other scriptures (the Bible, Doctrine & Covenants, etc). The two main reasons were that it is the most correct translation of ancient scripture (since it was translated once, by the power of God) and that it was specifically written to come to us in modern times, so the stories that were recorded were meant to help us. I asked the girls & leaders to think of situations in the Book of Mormon that are the same as things happening in modern times. We came up with things like the Gadianton robbers/secret combinations, anti-Christs, wars, and pride coming from being successful/rich. I explained that these stories were meant to not only help us understand these situations, but to help us know how to solve these problems.

I concluded the 'lesson' portion of the night with my testimony and this quote from Joseph Smith:

“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”

Then we moved on to the activity portion of the night - our cake decorating contest!

ACTIVITY PORTION: To prepare for this activity, I made one square cake (baked in a disposable aluminum square pan) for every 2 girls. If you use a cake mix you should be able to get 2 square cakes from one boxed mix. I chose the aluminum pans because they could be use for the girls to take cake home and if you keep the cake in the pan it eliminates the need for a cake board/plate (and you don't need to frost the sides!). I pre-frosted the top of each cake with a layer of white frosting, but you could skip that and let the girls do it themselves if you want.

I split the girls up into pairs and each pair had their own cake (if you have an odd number of girls that night, you could have one group of three). I had asked the girls to please bring their scriptures and made sure that every group had at least one copy of the Book of Mormon to use for reference. Each pair of girls was given a bag filled with various decorations and a card with their assigned theme written on it.

For decorations, we used: stick-pretzels, cheerios, hard candies (like butterscotch discs), m&ms, cans of spray frosting, sprinkles, sour-patch kids, licorice, mini cookies, mini peanut butter cups, etc. I also gave each team several plastic knifes and some paper towels.

We have several YW who are recent converts, so I tried to pick the simplest themes I could. A list of suggested themes (printable) are available on I also included scripture references for each theme, in case they wanted to look them up. I was kind of surprised, but all of the girls looked up their scripture references to see if they could get more ideas, even if they were already very familiar with the story.

Here are the themes I prepared:
  • Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life 1 Nephi 8:2–35
  • Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty Alma 46:10-22
  • Moroni burying the Plates (Book of Mormon Introduction & Joseph Smith History v.33-34)
  • King Benjamin's Address Mosiah 2:1-8

Before we started the actual competition, I made sure that everyone knew the rules-


It was important that the girls kept their theme quiet, because judging was based on only one criteria - whether or not the judge could tell what Book of Mormon story they portrayed on their cake. I allowed 20 minutes for cake decorating, but it took some of the girls a little longer...

We had one of the YW leaders act as judge. There weren't any prizes, but every team 'won' because the judge guessed everyone's themes. And the girls got to take their cake (or 1/2 cake) home if they wanted. We had another treat planned that night, so we didn't eat the cakes, but you could also just eat the cakes afterward if you want.

 The finished cakes:

(King Benjamin's address)

(Moroni burying the plates)

(Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life)

PURPOSE: Teaching the girls the important of learning from the stories in the Book of Mormon.

MATERIALS NEEDED: Small 1-layer cakes and frosting (one cake for every 2 or 3 girls) and items for decorating. This may sound like a costly activity, but with the exception of the sour-patch kids - that I bought on sale - I brought 'decorations' that I had around the house already and some of the other YW leaders also brought leftover Easter candy and other decorating items from home to use, also). 

UPDATE: Alex at Living the Hawkes Life  did a similar activity with her ward as a combined activity. Check it out by clicking on the photo below !!!!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sparking Interest in Personal Progress

Our Young Womens Secretary, Sister McGrath, is over Personal Progress in our ward and she is doing a really great job of trying to build interest in Personal Progress for our Young Women. We have some girls who have worked on P.P. in the past, but for some reason interest had kind of fizzled out over the past year or so... We have a bunch of new Beehives now (and more coming in over the next few months), so we really wanted to get them excited about the program and also renew interest for the older girls.

Something that we've started recently is that every month (the 1st Wednesday of the month), we've scheduled a Personal Progress spotlight for the YW during the first 20-30 minutes of Mutual (after opening exercises). Each time she comes up with something interesting and different (related to the value we're focusing on for the month) to get the girls talking about Personal Progress.

This month our value is "Knowledge", and she did a Jeopardy-type game with questions about Personal Progress. The girls were broken up into teams (of mixed-ages) and it was great! The girls (and leaders) had a lot of fun playing. We also learned a lot about the girls from the answers they gave. She had some prizes for the winning team, which made the game-play even more fun because they were a little more competitive!

She also made a wonderful Personal Progress tracker chart (its a good visual aid to remind them about Personal Progress, and we hope that they will also be encouraged to work on their program when they see that others girls are working on it, too!). The girls can now update the chart (on Sundays and at Mutual) with value experiences and value projects as they complete them.

If you click on the photo it will take you to the pin on Pinterest which talks more about this chart.

These are some great ideas for sparking interest in Personal Progress!!

The photo above shows our ward's YW Personal Progress board in early August, 2012. The photo below shows our board as of October 24, 2012. Compare the two photos - what remarkable progress! Some of these Value Experiences and Value Projects have been newly completed over the past few months, but many of them were already completed (and signed-off in their Personal Progress books) and were never recorded by the Presidency. Having this easy  way to see what the girls are doing/have done is a great help to us and an incentive to many of the girls. (In other fantastic news, we have had some new girls join us in the past 2 months, which means we now get to add 4 more girls to our board!!!)

The photo above shows our ward's YW Personal Progress board in early October, 2012. The photo below shows our board as of early January, 2013. Again, a lot more progress!!!! We had one young women complete her Personal Progress in December, and I just got the update that since this photo was taken, we have 3 young women who are now within one 10-hour project of completing the program!