On Cell Phones in Sacrament Meeting

January 1, 2008 | 62 comments
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Cell phones have arrived. Even in my semi-rural, blue-collar ward enough people have a cell phone now that one’s gone off every sacrament meeting for the last month.

Let’s have a dispassionate discussion of the pros and cons of cell phones going off in sacrament meeting.

Cons: Turn off that vulgar, brassy braying, you lackwitted blockhead! What kind of porridge-brained thickheaded slackjawed grin-gaping drooling foozle-brained halfwit airhead can’t remember to SHUT IT OFF.

Pros: If it wasn’t for those people making a spectacle of themselves each week, I’d forget to turn my cell phone off.

62 Responses to On Cell Phones in Sacrament Meeting

  1. Adam Greenwood on January 1, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Its gotten bad enough that our temple now confiscates all cell phones at the door, not just the ones with cameras. I feel bad for the person responsible for that policy, though. Hopefully it wasn’t during an endowment, because why would you take a cell phone to an endowment?

    Frankly I wish people would get rid of their cell phones. Most people don’t really need them that much. Of course my cell phone is different . . .

  2. Adam Greenwood on January 1, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Oh, and I’m text messaging you here:

    hpy nu yr! lol! :)

  3. Naismith on January 1, 2008 at 10:43 am

    I think the saints in Great Britain and Scandinavia went through this years ago, as their cell penetration peaked much sooner than ours in the U.S.

    As it happens, my current chapel is in a “hole” so that a cell phone never rings–it would just go to voice mail.

    We do have a fair number of medical professionals who carry beepers, however, and that’s just part of life.

  4. annegb on January 1, 2008 at 11:21 am

    I had a cell phone for several years and I found it annoying. My family loved it because they could find me anywhere and I was often sort of shocked (physically) when I’d be driving my car and that buzz went off. Usually I even turned it to vibrate because the ring annoyed me.

    If my family called home and I was on the phone, they’d call on my cell phone, knowing I was on another conversation. My friends seldom called me on it and while I found it convenient if I needed to coordinate something or deal with a shopping issue, I felt I didn’t need it for any other reason.

    So I announced that I was getting rid of it as soon as my plan expired. Boy, did they all object. Bill, especially. But I stuck to my guns and I haven’t had one since June and I tell you, my rides in the car are infinitely more peaceful. Sometimes they complain because they can’t find me, but nobody has died because I don’t have one.

    I am becoming familiar to store clerks because I’ve asked to use their phones on occasion and I use pay phones if I need to check something. Really it hasn’t happened that often. I don’t miss it, my life is more quiet and peaceful and less rushed as a result. Multi-tasking is for the birds.

  5. Norbert on January 1, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I think the saints in Great Britain and Scandinavia went through this years ago, as their cell penetration peaked much sooner than ours in the U.S.

    In London, the announcement to turn of the phones was just part of the conducting of the meeting, and there was still one per meeting. In Finland, where literally everyone has a mobile, I’ve never heard one go off in a meeting. Or in a movie theatre.

  6. Costanza on January 1, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Last week I encountered a first for me–I heard a cell phone that sounded like a phone. It actually made *gasp* a ringing sound instead of playing muzak.

  7. Kim Siever on January 1, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Another reason why American/Canadian data plans should be more affordable.

  8. Ardis Parshall on January 1, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    The one that went off in our ward this week — at great length and great volume — was at least sorta appropriate: “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

  9. Ray on January 1, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Slight threadjack:

    I carry a cell phone over the weekend, since we care for the elderly and simply must be available in case of an emergency. (Calls to the office get forwarded to the cell phone of the person on call that weekend. I have that phone next to me now as I type, since I am on call for nearly all holidays.) At church, I set the phone on vibrate so nobody else hears it, but I get anywhere from 1-5 calls every Sunday. Not knowing the nature of each call, I have to answer. Almost all of the calls are from people who are calling an office **on Sunday** to ask about our ads for employees. (I’ve never been able to understand that one – people thinking either that they will get a live person at an office on Sunday or that we will call them back from a message they are planning on leaving asking about employment.)

    When I get these calls, I’ve become very blunt. I say, “It’s Sunday. I’m in church. Call back tomorrow during regular business hours.” It’s interesting how many people still try to continue the conversation, even knowing I’m in church.

  10. MikeInWeHo on January 1, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    re: 9

    Ray,

    Why don’t you set up a voice mail system that can filter your calls somewhat. I have something like that on my job. When people call, they listen to a message giving them options. Non-urgent calls get routed to voice mail and I answer them later, urgent matters go through to my cell phone, etc. It works great.

    Yours could say:

    “Our office is now closed. Please leave a message and I will return your call on the next business day. If this is regarding an urgent patient care issue or you are a rude idiot, please call my cell phone at 123-4567.”

    That might help! : )

  11. JA Benson on January 1, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    I have only seen two inappropriate cell phone incidents in the Temple/Sacrament Mtg. While a youth speaker was giving a talk in Sacrament mtg his cell phone rang constantly. His friends were sitting in the audience dialing his cell the entire time as a joke.

    The other was while the youth were doing baptisms for the dead. An adult member’s cell phone rang. The sister apologized. The cell phone rang again. The Temple Presidency then confiscated the phone.

  12. nita on January 1, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    #10 RAY: you could also add if this is a true emergency regarding this patient, call 911.

    I am gathering you work in some kind of agency that provides staff support to seniors, so I think Mike’s idea for you is great!

  13. TDS on January 1, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Every week I see priests texting behind the table during the sacrament.

  14. nita on January 1, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    This one didn’t happen at our church, but I heard about it at my younger brother’s baccaloreate service last year. At the service, several representatives of various faiths spoke, including one LDS!

    Anyway, a man who was either a speaker or pastor from another faith spoke. While speaking at this baccaloreate service, his phone went off! He then joked how this was better that what had happened a couple weeks ago: his cell phone had rang while he was CONDUCTING A FUNERAL!! How awful is this.

    One time I read something about a phone going off during a play or concert of some kind. The people who had gotten the call got up and left. Either they had received work an organ transplant wouldn’t happen for a loved one and to come quickly or that the transplant would go through after all. I can’t recall which it was, I think it was the first. But it is for times like this that we have phones going off at all times and in all places!

  15. Costanza on January 1, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    TDS,
    I would hope that the PQ adivsor and/or the Bishop would put a stop to that nonsense.

  16. Ann on January 1, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    More often than not, sitting in the front facing the congregation (I’m the chorister), the thought would occur to me when the sacrament was being passed, “Rats, I forgot to put my phone on silent.”

    I’m fairly certain that since I’m no longer the chorister, I’ll remember every single week to put the phone on silent.

    Very funny post, Adam.

  17. nita on January 1, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    oen time in a stake RS SAT am conference, cell phones went off about 6 times! Recently I attended a stake conf in another stake and they had handwritten signs on the doors reminding people to turn their phones off!

  18. WillF on January 1, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    This reminds me of a feature that I wish my phone had: timed profiles. My phone is always on vibrate, but this makes it hard to find when I lose it. So what would be cool is to be able to schedule times when it automatically goes to vibrate – when the “time bake” ends, it would go back to whatever setting it was holding before. I swear I had a phone once that could do this, but I never learned to use it.

  19. nita on January 1, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Neat idea WillF. But people should still have sense to turn off the phones at those inappropriate times.

    I’ve heard of something where an instituation such can “lock out” all cell phone signals. Hope our fellow church members can control ourselves in this area before locking the phone signals is done!

  20. annegb on January 1, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Sarah has discovered text messaging and her phone rings constantly to tell her she has messages and she’ll interrupt the conversation, laugh at the message, and write back. I find it very rude.

    Sometimes she puts her phone on speaker while we’re having a conversation and text messages while we’re talking. I find that very rude, also.

    Although it is fun to text message people. When I did it, I did it in complete sentences and my messages were about ten feet long. Not unlike my e-mails.

  21. queuno on January 1, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    It’s not just medical professionals – IT professionals are now carrying phones. Because you know, when it’s a sick person, it’s just one person. But when a company or government agency or ENTIRE hospital gets IT-sick, it’s national stability. :)

    My coworker is a bishop and keeps his Blackberry on vibrate. He has on a few occasions glanced at his Blackberry during sacrament meeting, turned to his counselor, whispered for a few moments, and left the meeting, not to return. Ya do what ya have to…

    nita – the technology exists, but I believe that the cell phone lobby has managed to get it labeled illegal for civilian use.

    I think that we should check our phones in at the door, and have a special usher called – maybe an individual from another ward, to monitor the phones during sacrament meeting. If you get called, he answers it, asks you to wait, then he comes into the meeting and gently taps you on the shoulder.

    I also think that there is no single good reason why a teenager needs to carry a cell phone for anything other than after-school-before-arrives-home or out-on-a-Friday-night use, let alone Church. Come on, parents — be a parent. Take the darn cell phone away on Sundays.

  22. Bookslinger on January 1, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    I don’t have a land-line, just a cell phone, and cable-based internet service. If the cable-based internet gets any more expensive or less reliable, I’m going to cancel it and get broadband wireless.

  23. queuno on January 1, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    bookslinger – I think more and more of the Church is adopting the “no home phone” plan. I think it’s a great idea, actually (although, children do create a problem with this).

    The Church’s software hasn’t adjusted yet, because it still maintains a mindset of “one primary number for a household”. That concept doesn’t work with “one cell for everyone”. We end up having to ask couples which one of them wants to receive EVERY phone call (from stake people to the RS to the priesthood, etc.). Typically, the wife ends up being that, and it annoys certain stake people when the Church records don’t include a phone number that the husband uses.

    Although, a bit of a rant here – people who only carry cell phones need to make sure that they have a cell phone number in the local area code. Sure – you can keep your number, but if you’re moving to a new state, get a local number.

  24. Sarah on January 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    My whole family has cell phones except for me — until I find a full-time permanent job I won’t risk taking on contracts I can’t be sure I can pay for — and I have to say, it’s not so bad. Though I do appreciate being able to call home to say I’ll be late, when I take my mom’s business phone while she’s in court.

    I don’t mind it when one person has a whoopsie. But kids texting on cell phones when they should be paying attention, or people who keep getting audible calls (or taking the call and talking to the person) during a meeting, are recipients of my everlasting scorn. And I fully support “please turn it off” messages… if they ever call me into the Primary or YW presidencies, my very first objective will be to ban cell phone usage during activities. It’s especially bad at quarterly Primary activities, since so many 11-12 year olds are so enamored of their new freedom and capabilities that they’d rather hide under a table and text their friends than participate. And then I have six-year-olds asking why they have to do such-and-such when she doesn’t have to do anything. I am not above confiscating obnoxious devices (this goes for gum and cute little toys in my classroom, too.)

  25. Jonovitch on January 1, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Adam, your cons list is my sentiments exactly. Very funny.

    And for the record, for all the world to know, I still don’t own a cell phone. Why should I? If I ever need to make a call (and there’s no landline available, or there’s no pay phone available for use with my calling card — and when does this ever happen?), I’ll just borrow yours! Here’s to saving $40+ a month.

    Jon

  26. Ray on January 1, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Just to clarify, we have considered (and are considering) a message system to weed out non-emergency calls, but when you deal with the elderly (particularly those with early and mid-stage dementia and Alzheimer’s) you can’t guarantee that they will understand a message system with multiple options. It’s much better to field silly calls than to miss a critical one. I just wish the silly callers would get a clue.

  27. Cheeriogal on January 1, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Jon\’s comment reminds me of a neighbor we had in college, who refused to participate in the phone her roomates paid for together, because of some disagreement over the bill. She regularly came to our door, asking to use our phone. Then she wanted to make long-distance calls, and pay us for them when the bill came. We eventually cut her off – I have not patience for people that expect everyone else to take care of their needs.

    We seem to have a cell phone ring during church at least once each week, at which point I\’m reminded to check if my Blackberry is on vibrate. If I\’ve been to a movie on Friday or Saturday, I\’m usually good, because I always forget to turn the sound back on. I think an announcement at the beginning of the service, or a sign on the door wouldn\’t be the worst idea.

    During the last movie I saw in the theater, there were kids in the front rows texting during the entire film. It took everything I had not to walk down the aisle, take their phone and stomp it to pieces – the random lights below the screen were at least as annoying as a ringing phone.

  28. Melinda on January 1, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    My DH and I have cell phones and no landline. We solve the Church dilemma by not taking our phones to Church at all. I’ve only heard a cell phone ring in sac mtg once a month or less. Must be good phone etiquette in our ward.

    I do wish the Church would ask which number we want as the primary number. They listed my DH’s number as our main line, and it is long distance. Of course, if he didn’t get the occasional call for me, he wouldn’t get calls at all. I keep trying to talk him into getting rid of his phone with arguments like this: “Honey, the cell phone bill says you only used your phone 23 minutes last month, and 31 minutes the month before. Do you really need a phone?” Mostly, he uses his phone as an alarm clock in the mornings. Expensive alarm clock.

  29. queuno on January 1, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Melinda – The “Church” may not ask what you want as your primary number, but savvy ward clerks have asked. We also ask what email address (amongst the dozens) the family will actually read. MLS (the church software) has a field for a secondary phone number, but it often doesn’t show up official reports (or on lds.org).

    (Another MLS complaint is that the software only recognizes one single email address for a family. We have families often tend to put in the wife’s email or else I try to cram in both spouses email addresses in the field. lds.org is actually more intelligent in this regard — you can specify an email for each individual — but it still only allows you a single phone number. One day the Church’s IT model for membership addresses, phones, and email will reflect reality, but we’ll all have moved onto telepathy by then.)

  30. nita on January 1, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    #28- and you can go to the church website , log onto your ward’s website to change your phone number or email address. However, it is great to have those like Queno that will do it for you!

    Also even if you can only keep one number in the official list, you can tell the leaders and others w/whom you work so they can have your preferred contact number and/or email.

    I also think w/communication, as mentionned above it is good to know the preferred means of reaching someone:
    ie as mentionned above, some never check email.In our ward, one person who I need to call sometimes works nights, so I make sure to not call during the times when they might be sleeping. Also if someone relies soley on email, a person might not receive important info- this happened when they had subs teaching in one of our ward organizations. Evidently the need to know info was sent via email, but some didn’t read their email so didn’t know their expectations,etc

  31. Alison Moore Smith on January 1, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    I started to tell you my big cell phone sob story, but then realized it would be a clean thread jack, since it didn’t happen at church.

    Anywho, I’ve only heard cell phones go off for a doctor in my ward, with very few exceptions.

  32. Adam Greenwood on January 1, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    I like your usher idea, queuno.

    I also like the idea of calling down fire from heaven to consume all teenager and primary-age cell phones. That is hasn’t happened yet is a challenge for theodicy.

  33. Adam Greenwood on January 1, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    What a great story, ma’am. Everyone be sure to follow Mrs. Smith’s link.

  34. Dom on January 1, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Only people important enough to even answer my phone at church are sitting in the pews next to me so I just don’t take my cell to church.

  35. Liz Busby on January 1, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    WillF: My cell phone has this feature. What you need is a Windows Smartphone. It syncs with your computer and gets schedule information from Outlook. As long as I’ve marked the time in Outlook as “busy” and set my phone to automatic mode, it turns itself off when I’m in church, class, etc. Mine is a Cingular 5125, but I think most smartphones have this feature. I don’t use most of the other features, but that one is totally worth it. It’s pretty handy, although it means that I’ve now forgotten that I need to turn my phone off when I go to un-scheduled things, like movies.

  36. Ivan Wolfe on January 1, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I have yet to own a cell phone.

    Though I feel the cultural pressure to conform. I’ll likely have one within a year.

  37. Thomas Parkin on January 1, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I can finally largely ditch my cp now that I’ve sold my money p…^^^…estaurant. I hate my cell phone with a limitless hatred. My cell phone will now have a strictly restricted schedule. Pretty much always off.

    I did used to have Darth Vader’s Imperial March as my ring tone. This went off three times in chuch. Once as I was sitting next to the stake prez waiting to give a talk. But the best time was in EQ. The discussion had just turned to Beelzebub, when the Imperial March came blasting out. Bum bum bum ba-da bum ba-da bum. etc.

    You’d think I could remember to silence my cell phone – but I can’t remember, actually.

    ~

  38. rjamesh on January 1, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Well, about 5 years ago, I was in the Saturday evening session of stake conference and my cell phone went off while my Stake President was speaking. It was in my wife’s purse and I could not find it so with significant disgust, I grabbed her purse and walked into the foyer. I did not return to the meeting but listened outside. Unfortunately, I was on the High Council at the time. While listening to the remainder of the SPs remarks from the foyer, I heard another phone ring in the chapel. A few seconds later, out came the member of the High Council that sat next to me in HC meetings. Ouch!

  39. AHLDuke on January 1, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Because the reasons for which I would answer my cellphone during Church meetings are pretty close to zero, I don’t even carry it inside the building. I just leave it in the car. I know some people use it as a watch but the risk of forgetting to turn it off seem too great to me. As far as the temple goes, since we change out of our street clothes or discard our purses to do any of the temple ordinances, having your cellphone during the ceremonies seems to reflect a conscious decision to take it into the session with you. Why? While the reasons I would answer my phone during Church are close to zero, the reasons for which I would answer it during a Temple ordinance are exactly zero.

  40. Tay on January 1, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    During the closing prayer at my single\’s ward (oh, the stories) someone\’s phone started blasting\”Jesus Take the Wheel.\” The really sad part is she didn\’t turn it off; just got up, went to the aisle, then answered it. Yeah.

  41. a random John on January 1, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    We’ve got a guy (in his 40s) in our ward that plays with a sidekick non-stop through sacrament meeting. We also have teenagers texting and playing with gameboys through the duration of the meeting. I find all of these things to be incredibly inappropriate. That said, we almost never have a ringer go off in sacrament meeting, though we did have one go off last week during PH. For whatever reason is easier to joke about and/or brush off in that context than in sacrament meeting.

  42. name witheld on January 1, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    two recent faves:

    1) my sister-in-law\’s cell phone going off with a Def Leppard ringtone during family prayer

    2) the family in front of us at church last Sunday with all of their kids watching movies on their iPods (yes, and with earbuds in place)

  43. MikeInWeHo on January 2, 2008 at 12:41 am

    This thread reminds me of this great YouTube video:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=hut3VRL5XRE

    I love how he doesn’t lose his composure for a second.

  44. Alison Moore Smith on January 2, 2008 at 4:10 am

    Thanks, Adam.

    Mike, oh that vid just killed me!

    My oldest daughter is a junior in college. They all wear their cells phones so they can feel the vibrate in class, so they don’t miss a text. She can text single-handed (with the regular phone keypad–requiring double or triple clicks for one letter–about 90 wpm. She decided that, over the holidays, she’d learn to text as fast with her left hand, so she could text and take notes in class simultaneously.

    She has close to 1,000 texts a MONTH.

    Yesterday her phone completely died. She can’t get a new one until tomorrow. She’s experiencing severe withdrawal and her boyfriend (at home in Hawaii for the holidays) is freaking out. I think it’s hilarious.

    We need a 12-step program.

  45. Kim Siever on January 2, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    annegb,

    My plan has a 60 character limit for text messages, so full, complete sentences are not an option for me.

    FWIW

  46. Justine on January 2, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    a million years ago, when cellphones were as large as bricks, I was in a BYU single\’s ward. Our Bishop\’s cell phone went off while he was conducting the meeting, and he answered it! Then he held the phone up to the microphone and we heard the first counselor\’s voice coming through the phone and over the microphone, \”It\’s a boy!\” We all erupted into applause and cheers.

    That would be one of the very few circumstances under which I think a cell phone would be appropriate in sacrament meeting, and even then, was it really appropriate?

  47. Tanya Spackman on January 2, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Luckily, I think I’ve heard a cell phone go off during church only once. I’ve never heard a “please turn off your phones” request at sacrament meeting, but we always have one at stake conference. I’ve heard a couple phones go when I’ve attended the symphony. At least the perpetrators receive icy glares in punishment.

    I don’t bring my cell to church with me because it’s only a couple-minute drive, so I figure nothing will happen, or if it does I’ll be able to flag someone down. However, despite my very low usage (I’m not yet certain I’ve broken past an hour a month), that phone is my security blanket. I live in the middle of nowhere, and that phone is very useful for calling a tow truck (yep, done that) or calling 911 after hitting the local wildlife (yep, done that). (There’s cell service most of the way, even though it’s very remote with few signs of people.) When I first moved to this middle of nowhere and didn’t have a cell, the long drive between here and civilization always stressed me out because I was so certain something would happen and I wouldn’t be able to get help. So there are good reasons to have a phone that don’t involve being reachable at all times.

  48. Bookslinger on January 3, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    1. If you use less than 100 minutes of air time per month, consider a _pre-paid_ cell phone instead of a contract phone. Pre-paid minutes, which you buy with cards, are usually good for 3 months once you activate them. Pre-paid minutes cost anywhere from 10 cents to 20 cents per minute, depending on how big a chunk you purchase at once.

    2. For emergency use only, any cell phone that is NOT activated (ie, does not have a plan, is not even pre-paid, etc) WILL call and get through to 911, as long as it has bars (signal). So, if all you want a cell-phone for is to call 911 from the road, use any old phone ($10 to $20 at an independent cell phone store), and don’t bother paying a monthly or pre-paid fee.

    There is some regulation that requires cell phone companies to process 911 calls even if the phone is not “activated” or pre-paid; if it has signal, they have to put 911 calls through. Of course, you still want to get a phone that has been programmed for a carrier that provides good coverage in your area, and that has both a home wall-AC-charger and a car-charger.

  49. Adam Greenwood on January 3, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    For real, Bookslinger? Can anyone confirm this?

  50. Ardis Parshall on January 3, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    True, Adam. That’s why women’s shelters ask you to donate old cell phones — they can give them to clients who can then reach 911 in case of domestic abuse.

    The only caveat I’ve ever heard (besides the one Bookslinger mentioned about needing a working battery and signal coverage) is that older cell phones are not equipped with E911, meaning that 911 can’t tell exactly where you are unless you are able to give the the location.

  51. Isabel on January 3, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I went to the temple to do baptisms with the youth and while we were sitting in the chapel a young man was texting on his phone. Also, in my singles ward, we had a Sacrament meeting with quite a few phones going off and coincidentally our RS lesson in the third hour was on reverence. The next week was much quieter :)

  52. Ray on January 3, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    What a fabulous idea, Ardis. I will mention it to my daughter who is looking for a meaningful service project. Collecting cell phones for shelters would be wonderful.

  53. Mike C. on January 3, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    I agree with Dom (#34). I have (and, in my opinion, need) a blackberry/cell phone for work and communicating with my wife and home in the midst of a hectic life, but just as I view the sabbath as a welcome reprieve from most of that hecticness, I also view the block as the perfect time to leave the blackberry behind.

    And kudos to my ward in Sandy, Utah. In the 18 months we’ve lived here, I’ve never heard one cell phone go off in Sacrament Meeting.

  54. Tanya Spackman on January 3, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    If you’re collecting old phones to donate to shelters or other places for emergencies, make sure they are digital phones, not analog. Analog phones will not longer work very soon (it seems like I heard that went into effect this month, but I’m not sure). I finally had to cave and get a new phone a few months ago because my analog phone was soon going to be a pretty silvery brick and nothing more.

  55. Tanya Spackman on January 3, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    February 18th is when the analog-to-digital thing goes into effect: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/analogcellphone.html

  56. Costanza on January 3, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Justine,
    Appropriate? I’m not sure. Tacky? Oh yeah.

  57. Ivan Wolfe on January 3, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    We need a 12-step program.

    When I mentioned to my students that I didn’t have a cell phone, the near unanimous response was: “How can you live? You might as well cut both your arms off as not have a cell phone.”

    I despair for my children.

  58. Vada on January 3, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    I’m kind of surprised no one has mentioned one good reason to bring their cell phone to church — I read my scriptures on it. I know it might be better to bring print scriptures, but I’m already bringing diapers, wipes, toys (to get both kids through sacrament meeting and the younger one through the other two meetings), snacks for the entire nursery (my kids have food allergies, and we’ve found this is the best way to deal with it), sippy cups, the primary manual, and any supplemental material for my primary lesson (usually at least paper and a big box of crayons). Plus I’m usually carrying at least one of the kids. It’s just so nice to have my scriptures fit in my pocket. Luckily, I always leave my phone on vibrate (even at home), so it ringing in sacrament meeting is not an issue for me.

  59. Kevinf on January 3, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I will reveal things about my age here, but working in tech sales, I had my first car phone about 20 years ago, then moved to my first handheld (big ole Motorola flipphone) about 14 years ago, so mobile phones have been a part of my adult life forever. I now have a smartphone with contacts, scheduling,web browser, our complete stake directory, and lots of other nice features. I probably have the memory to load the scriptures, but I can’t mark them. I could, but have not, looked them up on the lds.org website.

    I’ve only had it go off once in a meeting. I use a ring-tone that I’m sure some find annoying, but it’s the intro to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Scuttlebuttin’”. Some really great guitar work. I’m sitting in general conference priesthood session on Saturday night a year and a half ago, and thought I had silenced the phone, and put it in my overcoat pocket, and the coat folded over on the floor next to me under the pew. About a third of the way into the meeting, I start hearing a faint musical sound, and start thinking, “What idiot can’t turn off his phone?”. Then I recognized the Stevie Ray riffs, and realized it was mine. Needless to say the panic stricken fumbling for the phone in the pocket of the coat, and finding the silencing button took much longer than I wanted it to. One of my adult sons calling me to tell me he wasn’t coming to the PH session.

    Feel free to flame me now.

  60. Ardis Parshall on January 3, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    /glare/ Consider yourself flamed, Kevinf. (This may be my one chance to contribute to a general priesthood session.)

  61. Alison Moore Smith on January 4, 2008 at 5:45 am

    Ah, Vada, I have the scriptures, the RS manual, Gospel Principles, a dictionary, my calendar, address book, and solitaire on my Treo. All very useful at different times in church…

  62. can you hear me now? on January 4, 2008 at 9:02 am

    For two years running I have seen a parent dial someone on a cell phone during the sacrament meeting primary program and then turn the phone towards the singing primary children while smiling from ear to ear. I don\’t know who was called or the circumstances behind each call, but neither call bothered me at all. Kind of interesting, but not bothersome.

    I have noticed that when a Saturday night general priesthood meeting (yes we have those on Saturday night!) goes a little long, as they all seem to do, multiple phones begin to ring at about 5 minutes past the scheduled end time. Perhaps it\’s a not so subtle, but much needed, reminder to the SP to wrap things up and close the meeting. Occasionally the choir of cell phones will interrupt the closing prayer, again when the meeting has gone longer than advertised.

    IMO, it\’s not too much to ask or expect people to turn their phones to vibrate or off during a meeting. Confiscating phones and entrusting them to someone else for babysitting during a meeting is an impractical approach that is fraught with peril.

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