6 Things You Can Do with Those Ward Bulletins


Chances are, if you have gone to Sacrament Meeting, you inexplicably have dozens of ward bulletins and programs lying around your house. You might find them near your calendar, on your counters, or tucked between the pages of those scriptures that you haven’t touched since you got the Gospel Library app.

Even after I moved halfway across the country, I found ward bulletins from years before stuffed in the bottom of a dresser drawer. They just tend to… stick around. Surely they can prove useful (or at least entertaining) beyond merely telling us what hymn to sing next.

Fear not, dear reader, for I have complied a list of six things you can do with that church program, whether you just received it or whether it’s months-old.

Ward Bulletins During Sacrament Meeting

So someone has handed you this perfectly printed and pristinely pressed program for your perusal. You’ve taken note of the hymns you’ll be singing. You’ve read the speakers’ names, or maybe just the ominous words “BEARING OF TESTIMONIES” as if the ward bulletin is challenging you to disagree that there will be people spontaneously prompted to share theirs.

All said, you’ve given your bulletin a cursory glance. But now you want it to serve some other purpose during your short tenure on the upholstered pews. What to do?

Written notes on ward bulletins

1. Notes

An obvious choice, but one I feel I need to bring up nonetheless. Programs provide the perfect layout for note-taking, as each speaker is usually labeled already. Jotting a few notes down by their name is a simple and effective way of remembering what they talked about. During hymns, you might be prompted to write impressions you receive from the spirit.

This is always handy for me when I’m attending my home ward with my parents, because we always have a tradition that before our Sunday meal, everyone has to say something they learned in church. Rather than scrambling for “I think Sister Wright told a story about chickens?” I could sneak out my ward bulletin and recite a choice quote or spiritual tie-in.

Doodles on ward bulletins
2. Doodles

So you want to pay attention, but you can’t quite bring yourself to take meticulous notes. Studies have shown that doodling increases concentration and retention. So set that pen (the one you found at the bottom of your purse that must be at least a decade old at this point) to paper and let your creativity flow! You may pick up more than if you were just studying the architecture of the chapel’s ceiling.


Ward Bulletins After Sacrament Meeting

So you’ve managed not to “accidentally” leave your ward bulletin in the hymnbook rack on the back of the pew. Good work! But assuming you’ve left some space to scrawl on, it hasn’t outlived its usefulness yet!

You can continue taking notes and doodling, of course. These activities are not restricted by location. Continuing to take notes and doodling to pay attention may help you get more out of your classes as well. But there are some things you can’t do with ward bulletins in sacrament meeting.

3. Be Prepared

Occasionally in the second and third hours of church, your teacher will want you to write something down, whether it be a goal for the week or a quick testimony. They’ll often begin to hand out pens and paper for this purpose.

However, If you make it a habit of taking notes or doodling, suddenly you’ll find yourself always carrying a pen with you and of course you have one of those handy ward bulletins from Sacrament Meeting. Nothing makes you look cooler or more prepared than holding up your hand and saying, “I have my own already.” Trust me. Everyone will think you’re the coolest.

Written notes and doodles on ward bulletins
4. Remember

You will probably get challenged to do something in one of your classes, and, if you’re like me, you will immediately forget about the challenge as soon as you step foot outside your classroom. Then next Sunday, your teacher will ask, “Does anyone remember the challenge I gave you?”

If you didn’t write it down, you might wrack your brain trying to recall anything that happened last except for Sister Wright’s talk about chickens. But if you did write it down (and, of course, remembered to bring last week’s ward bulletin with you again) you will look as if you have an excellent memory and you can save your class from the awkward silence that signifies that no one remembered.
Additionally, you might see the ward bulletin during the week and remember to actually 
do the challenge. Now there’s an idea!


Ward Bulletins Waaaaay After Sacrament Meeting

So you’ve found an old program on the floor of your car or in a purse you haven’t used in months. Maybe you’ve found a small mountain of ward bulletins that have fallen behind your dresser. Classic Mormon Problem. One way or another, you are now in possession of a piece of paper that, while once useful, is little more than detritus to you at this point. Sure, you can (and should) recycle it, but why not entertain yourself for a second? It’s free scrap paper after all! Might as well hone your origami or paper-airplane-making skills before tossing it.

There are a million things you could make by folding paper, but here I have two tried-and-true and easy-to-do instructions for someone who wants to get one last hoorah out of their months-old ward bulletins.

 5. Paper Airplane

Ward Bulletins paper airplane step 11. Fold the upper right corner of one of your ward bulletins down so that the top side of your paper is now flush with the left side.

Ward Bulletins paper airplane step 2

2. Fold the upper left corner down so that the new crease you just made is flush with itself. Your paper should now look like a little house.

Ward Bulletins paper airplane step 3

3. Fold the point of the roof of your house down so that the tip reaches about an inch past the line of the roof.

Ward Bulletins paper airplane step 4
4. Fold your paper in half.

Ward Bulletins paper airplane step 5
5. Fold each wing down so that you have a handle with which to throw your plane that’s about a centimeter tall.

Ward Bulletins paper airplane step 6
6. Fold the edge of each wing up about a centimeter

Ward Bulletins paper airplane step 7
7. Throw somewhere that gives your plane some space to fly, but please don’t throw it during church!


6. Origami Balloon
Ward Bulletins origami balloon step 1

1. All Origami begins with a square. You’ll need to start by ripping off a part of one of your ward bulletins so you have a perfect square.

Ward Bulletins origami balloon step 2

2. Next, put a big X crease in your paper by folding each corner to its opposite corner.

Ward Bulletins origami balloon step 3

3. I call this step: The Crunchy Taco Bowl. Fold opposite sides inward so you have a big triangle.

Ward Bulletins origami balloon step 4

4. Now you should have four points you can manipulate. Fold each point toward the bottom of your balloon, or, what used to be the center of the paper.

Ward Bulletins origami balloon step 5
5. Now fold the outside corners of the diamond inward, about 1/3rd of the way to the center. This should create a little pocket.

Ward Bulletins origami balloon step 6
6. Tuck the loose corners at the top of your balloon into these little pockets you’ve made.

Ward Bulletins origami balloon step 7

7. Now find the hole at the top of the balloon and blow into it! It should inflate, but don’t worry if it’s a little hard. It takes practice.


Ward Bulletins origami balloon complete


If all else fails, you can always follow Earl’s example in Brian Crane’s comic, “Pickles” and fill in all the letters!

What do you think? Did I miss something? Tell me what you do with your months-old programs in the comments.