Mormons love cookies. Not only do we love eating them, but they also function as a tool for us. If we want to encourage someone into start coming to church regularly, we bring the person cookies. If you know someone is going through a hard time, you make them cookies. We also have cookies available at activities that no one wants to go to as an incentive for people to show up.
I grew up equating giving cookies with an act of service. If I had a lesson on charity at church I would have deep reflection about who in my life might need cookies. We were taught that not only would bringing goodies to someone give them joy but that act would intrinsically benefit us as well. My mom once told me that when she was little and she was having a bad day, her and her mother would make cookies for someone else. Finally, without cookies and other related snacks, I would have no place to retreat to and look busy when slow dances started playing during church dances.
My Young Single Adult (YSA) activity a few weeks was to bring cookies to people who do not come to church regularly and invite them to our YSA activities. We sorted cookie plates and assigned groups addresses. As my group got into the car our jubilant bishop yelled after us, “I bet I can get more people to come back church than you guys!”
“Challenge accepted!” the keeners in my group yelled back but our first two addresses were failures. As we pulled up to the last address, I saw that to my surprise, we were at my house. We could see my aunt mowing the lawn in the back. However the cookies and invitation were not meant for my aunt or me but instead a girl named Caroline. I assured them that I would be happy to take the cookies on Caroline’s behalf and in return I would come to the next activity. I even told them I that I would share. My suggestions were met with silence from the rest of the car as they sat pondering what to do.
My hopes of eating the cookies were ignored and we started patrolling the neighborhood, trying to spot a house with someone single within our age group (18-30) who we could give the cookies to. After an extended period of house scanning we stopped at a house where according to one of the girls in the car, a group of single men had recently moved in. The other girls in the car became a little giddy and started fussing over so-called imperfections in their hair and make-up. When no one answered the door, the girls contented themselves by leaving a note inviting them to a YSA activity, included their numbers and left the cookies at the doorstep. I saw then where the cookie priorities lay.