Book of Mormon Party With a Surprise Dinner

We started a fun tradition last week that could be adapted to fit almost any occasion: A surprise dinner. I made a menu with 22 different items with cryptic names, we set a fancy table and the kids and Scott ordered 4 courses while I made magic in the kitchen. Read on for full details…

The Occasion

We read scripture every night as a family. Our 2 year old repeats a verse, Scott and I read, and our 4 year old joins in on the reading as well. Some nights this is a wonderful time that leads to good discussion. Other nights it’s a struggle.

After more than two years, we completed the Book of Mormon last week.

We talked about how scripture reading should be a daily habit and when we get to the end of a book, we start a new one the next day… like a circle. Then we went to eat doughnuts to celebrate. 🙂

We arrived at Krispy Kreme right as the first doughnuts of the night were finished rising so the girls watched the whole process in awe, noses pressed against the glass. Mackenzie guessed they were “frosted bagels” when we walked in and her first taste of a doughnut (ever, maybe) didn’t disappoint.

Finishing the book was such an achievement, though, I wanted to celebrate in a more memorable way. So a few days later I threw a Book of Mormon party.

The Costumes

Every guest was invited to dress like person referenced in the Book of Mormon.

Mackenzie dressed as Nephi, an ancient prophet who left Jerusalem with his family and sailed to America. She opted for a full-body loincloth using a pillowcase tied around her neck. Too funny.

I was Abish, a servant girl who shared her testimony boldly. I wore a pillowcase over my hair and a sheet as a sort of a toga. Our costumes were far from authentic but they were fun!

Scott dressed as Ammon, a missionary who defended a King’s flocks by cutting off the arms of robbers. Yes, he brought a severed arm to the party, along with a slingshot, an enormous homemade sword.

Caitlyn insisted on being Moroni, a prophet and her favorite person (and word to say) in the world. However, she balked at dressing up at the last minute.

The Setting

I moved the table to the living room and blocked off the view to the kitchen. I hung a sign:

And I put a pen, a menu, and an order form next to each place at the table:

The Dinner

Each diner ordered all 12 of their items at the beginning of dinner, and I prepped a course at a time, announcing the dishes as I served them.

I kept a secret key in the kitchen that listed each item and I tried to lay the food out in advance to make things run more smoothly during dinner. It was still crazy juggling 22 items in our smallish kitchen, but doable.

It was always fun to see the combinations for each course: Garbanzo beans, M&Ms and fish, for instance. The girls were delighted and Scott was a trooper. 🙂

Ideas to consider for next time:

– Only include as many items as people can order so the surprise is just which items arrive with which course. (With little kids it’s hard to understand why everyone else got your favorite food and you missed out. Makes for a less fun party.)

– Include utensils as part of the menu to make things even trickier.

Many thanks to this blog post for the original idea and lots of ways to adapt this to other occasions.


About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
This entry was posted in I am a mother, Life as we know it. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Book of Mormon Party With a Surprise Dinner

  1. Meg Larsen says:

    We totally did this growing up and I loved it–it started when I was probably 8 years old and my mom let ME be the menu maker. My parents put up with it about once a month and some times I even persuaded them to let me do all the cooking. Ah, the memories… one word of advice is to have lots of different silverware options so the odds are in your favor of getting at least one every course (same with drinks if you include them in the menu). Though I do remember eating pudding with chopsticks once…


  2. Ricki Martin says:

    Such a cute idea! I am going to adapt it as a reward to my Seminary students who finish the Book of Mormon this year. Thanks!!


  3. Peggy McCauley says:

    Would you please detail what food item/utensil went with each item on your list so I can do this for my YW…thank you so much!


  4. angela says:

    Awesome! I am curious, too, to know what food items went with which scripture. What a fun mom 🙂


  5. Mary Odenwalder says:

    Can you email me the list of menu items?


  6. shanda says:

    Perfect! Could I also get the secret menu key, please? I was just trying to plan a dinner like this and ran out of ideas, then I found your blog. I LOVE how you have scriptures to go with each item!


  7. Megan Gilson says:

    I would also love to have the list of food items you chose. Thank you!


  8. Kelly Thomas says:

    We are doing this for an activity this week- could you send me the key of foods you used with this menu? Thanks!


  9. Pam Furniss says:

    We are thinking of doing something like this with our young women for an activity. Do you mind sharing your menu and key to the menu? If so can you send it to It sounds like your family had fun.
    Pam Furniss


  10. Melissa says:

    Love this! We are planning to do one for our YW on April fools. Can you please email me the secret key?


  11. Brooke says:

    We would do this when I was little. We called them silly suppers. I love the Book of Mormon theme! Would you please be willing to send me the key also. I would love it!


  12. I love this idea! So many choices, too! I tried my hand at my first Mystery Dinner on April Fool’s Day, but I would love adapting a Book of Mormon theme to my son’s post Baptism dinner. Although a bit past your original posting, any way you’d be willing to email me the key?


  13. rogerdpack says:

    Don’t leave us hangin’ what’s the translation for the menu please? 🙂


  14. Susan says:

    I would love your list of menu items too. Thanks!


  15. Rylee French says:

    hello I love this idea can you send the food ideas that go With the scriptures I would love to do this for a primary activity Thanks


  16. Sarah Parker says:

    Hello! I’d love a copy of your menu items as well! Great ideas–thanks for posting.


  17. Jill Yadernuk says:

    I want to use this for a primary activity! Can I please also have the key for the menu items? Thank you! This is great 🙂


  18. beanland says:

    Finally emailed the last batch of requesters with the revised menu and key. Sorry for the delay!


  19. Laurel says:

    I would love a copy of the foods you used


  20. Chelsea says:

    Can I have the food key also? Can’t wait to do this!


  21. Camilla Archibald says:

    Can I please get the scripture key also? We are in 3 Nephi now and hope to do a Book of Mormon party at the end too! Thanks!


  22. sclark says:

    Wonderful ideas! Are you still sending out the key to the menu and the scriptures? If so, I would love a copy. Thanks!


  23. Brie says:

    could you send me the key to this menu? thanks


  24. DeAnna Pierce says:

    Can you email me the food list please


  25. Marlene Sparks says:

    May I please have the menu key?


  26. Melanie Phelps says:

    can you send the food key to


  27. Meghan P says:

    Could you email me a copy of the menu key please? We are thinking of doing this for our combined mutual activity this month.
    Thanks so much!


  28. This is so wonderful! i am excited to do it with my 4 children as we finished the book of mormon this summer as well. Can I please get the food menu as well? .Thanks so much!!


  29. I would love the menu also, thank so much!!


  30. Hyrum Bronson says:

    I would love the menu as well. Thanks.


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