“Problem Solver,” New Era, June 1995, 38–39
The Mia Maids had a problem.
“Two of the most popular girls (in Mia Maids) decided that ‘having fun’ was more important than living the gospel,” explains Sarah Tunnell of the Snohomish (Washington) Second Ward. “They stopped coming to church.”
Sarah, first counselor in the Mia Maid presidency, and Tresa Brown, the president, felt they needed to do something to help keep others from making the same mistake.
“I had just finished reading the Book of Mormon for the first time,” Sarah says. “And I said, ‘If everyone would just read the Book of Mormon, they’d have a testimony, and the possibility of their going inactive would be a lot smaller.’”
Sarah and Tresa looked through a clip art book, found a calendar, and worked out a schedule for reading the Book of Mormon. They also outlined a system for calling all the Mia Maids and reminding them of their reading goals.
“We had a presidency meeting that night,” Sarah continues. “The Laurel president happened to come by, and she said, ‘Hey, we want to do that!’ So we said, ‘Okay, but we can’t leave out the Beehives.’ So we called the Beehive president, and she said, ‘Us too!’ We started the next week.”
The idea was simple. “You can’t really bribe them. They can buy their own candy or ice cream. We decided the best thing was to provide a calendar and then just remind them and encourage them. Anyway, that was the limit of what we could do with our teenage income, which is nonexistent.”
Since then, the program has gone through some fine tuning, tailoring daily goals to individual abilities, incorporating “catch-up” days for those who get behind, coordinating with seminary reading schedules to avoid duplication, etc. And some have read more than others.
“I haven’t read as much as I’m supposed to,” one Beehive admitted. “But thanks to Sarah, I have read something.”
And the major goal, “Just to have them open the book, to have some kind of daily contact with it,” as Sarah says, has been met by just about everyone. In fact, last Sunday in ward council meeting, they were discussing a Book of Mormon reading program for the entire ward.