Church Chat: Enrichment?

What is Enrichment?? {...and Have some cake...!}

One of those weird LDS lingo phrases: it's short for "Home, Family & Personal Enrichment." And it's the program the Women's Group (Relief Society) of the Mormon Church runs. Four large 'meetings' each year including dinner and/or speakers and/or service projects etc...

Usually in early spring one of these 'enrichment meetings' is held in honor of the group's origin back in 183--something? In Navoo, Illinois. (Someone help me with the date here?) We call this special meeting the Relief Society(RS) birthday dinner.

Why am I telling you this?

Because a few months ago I lied. I know— so much for living a sin free life, eh? (that would be an awesome title of a book no?) Back then I said I was asked to be the RS secretary. Well. 2 weeks after I wrote that post... they changed their minds. I know— (is that allowed?)

Anyway. They instead asked me to be the first counselor in the whole new Presidency. So the past few months we've been floundering and trying to figure out our roles.

I was asked to be in charge of the Enrichment Program.... so now you see why the definition.

Fast Forward to the past week. (I promise, here's where the cake comes in...)

I went with a 'birthday' theme for the night. A few helium balloons for decorations and for the table decorations? YES— CAKES.

Not just any cakes. OVER the top. Ridonculous. Amazing. Ain't no way these are low cal. WOW. Cakes. And you know what? Each one started with ... a CAKE MIX!

{Can you wait a bit while I finish my story for the cakes?}

I asked 5 of the sisters (don't laugh, we really do call each other that. If you walked up behind me and said, "Sister Rogers", I would totally turn around.) I asked them to bring photos of themselves when they were kids. And then had them answer a couple questions:

  • What was your most memorable birthday?
  • What was your favorite birthday tradition?
  • What would you do for a dream birthday?

This part turned out really sweet. Each lady didn't want to do it, claimed 'no one would want to know 'their story'. I kept telling them—what? I would love to hear it! One sister grew up in war torn England! She said they really didn't celebrate birthdays. She said that they would maybe get some clothes and that was all "which was nice because we NEEDED them!" And I learned that another sister grew up in New Jersey! Very near where my middle child was born? Who knew?

My plan for the night was simple and social. I'll save the more spiritual meetings for alter in the year. For the one I really wanted everyone to just come away knowing each other's names! I made them move around between courses. And then gave out 4 small prizes to volunteers willing to attempt to name every single person in the room!

Why? Because I have a theory.
Duh Duh Duh—DUH!
*Carissa's Theory*

If the whole mission of Relief Society is to serve each other as sisters in the congregation—how can we do that, when we don't 'know' each other? It will be so much easier to carry out visiting Teaching {what's VT?--I'll save that for next week!} when you have a relationship with your sisters, and now friends.


NOW. The Cakes.

There were six. And I'm sharing them in the order they were fastest devoured.

Coconut Cream (I was totally amazed at this cake, WOW!)

Ridiculous over the top Chocolate (If you love chocolate.. then you have no idea just how good this will be..)

Cherry Almond

Chocolate Turtle

Fudge Torte (my favorite-in fact I made this one!)

German Chocolate Upside Down Cake (can you say cream cheese in the middle?!)

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Kristina P. said...

You're killing me with those cakes! And because of my work schedule, I haven't been to Enrichment in years. :(

Cecily R said...

My sin free life went out the window with Enrichment...I never go. I really stink at that stuff. But if you were to wave those cakes in front of my face I might go next month. :)

Wendy_P_in_NJ said...

I'm convinced you're trying to kill me with all these chocolate recipes.

Stop already!

Jillene said...

I am the Enrichment Counselor in my ward and I think that I might just have to steal/borrow this idea. I LOVE it!! I love the cake idea and the getting to know you stuff. All of our young sisters serve either in the Primary or the young Womens (except me) and so the older ones don't know the younger ones and vice versa. What a cleaver idea!!

Bonnie the Boss said...

The chocolate turtle looks delish!

Homer and Queen said...

I love it and I'm stealing it! (Great idea!)

Melissa Ann Browning said...

You perked my interest about the origins of Enrichment, so I did a little research (all official LDS sources). Here's what I found:

The Relief Society was founded by Joseph Smith on March 17, 1842, with two main purposes: to provide relief for the poor and the needy, and to spread the word of Christ. Its guiding motto was “Charity Never Faileth”, and this still guides the society today! Joseph Smith said of the relief society. “[the restored Church of Jesus Christ could not be perfect or complete without it]”.

The first group met at the famous “Red Brick Store” in Nauvoo, Illinois. The Red Brick Store served as the social, economic & educational center of Navoo, and was the site of many other principal events in LDS history (ex., first endowments were given here). The first “relief society birthday party” was celebrated at the rebuilt Red Brick Store on March 17, 1992 (it was demolished in the 1890’s and rebuilt in 1979). This was the 150th birthday for the relief society!

Interestingly (re: Apricot’A’Lot), the origins of the Relief Society were in a small sewing group formed to aid the Nauvoo Temple workmen!

Melissa Ann Browning said...

Can you tell I'm in student mode?!? But I do actually love this stuff and could have read/written a lot more! But motherly duties call... Anways, those cakes are simply fabulous! And what a wonderful way to create community between the sisters - you are a wonderful enrichment director!

Jessica said...

What a great idea to get to know the must live in a larger ward. Our small ward thinks they know everyone, but I disagree. Our is a carnival this year...not sure how it will turn out as I had the idea but that's it, but it might be fun. I miss my Baton Rouge enrichment nights...those were way better then the ones I get now that I've moved.
I happened upon your blog on the blogher roll.

Jenni said...

My mouth is watering...

Should we be hurt that you don't care about OUR favorite birthday memories???

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Hey, those are AWESOME photos! I always appreciate good food pictures!

Anonymous said...

Hi C!

From 1839 to 1846, was the time of the main Morman occupation/concentration in Navoo, Il, near the Mississippi River. I visited there many years ago, on my down the river road to Huck Finn's town.

In former years, I also did quite a bit of family history investigation in the library of the LDS Church in Lovell, on the Big Hole River, in northern Wyoming.

Denise said...

So I was talking to Julie Brannelly yesterday and was asking about you. She told me your blog and so I was reading today. I got to this part about Enrichment and burst out laughing. You just can't get away from it! That is really funny! Good luck. I just got released! Wahoo!

Mrs4444 said...

You had me at Coconut. Wow, that looks good! :)

CC said...

You rocked my world (and killed my diet) with this post!!!

Oh my heck! I was featured. And it didn't hurt or anything!