What is the etiquette of phone usage at church?

By Angela Trusty

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Oct. 22 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Dear Angela,

What is the proper etiquette for mobile phone usage during church meetings? Or is it proper at all?

— Caroline (20, Cambridge, Mass.)

Dear Caroline,

Great question! During a recent Gospel Principles class, everyone had their phones out. I kept mine in my purse on silent thinking, "Wow, they're so irreverent. I'm so righteous and setting such a good example" (insert stiff neck and nose in the air).

Class started, however, and those who had their smart phones had quick and easy access to digital scriptures and manuals, while I, manual-less, sat unprepared and unable to fully participate in the lesson.

My point?

Sometimes it's OK to use your cellphone at church.

But, here are some general etiquette guidelines to follow:

1. Make sure it's on silent. Especially if you're teaching. People will forgive the noise but, still, it's like,come on.

2. Put it away during the actual sacrament portion of sacrament meeting. There are no manuals needed, plus it's the Lord's Supper, and a most sacred part of Sunday worship. Click here and scroll to read what Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve has to say about that.

3. If you want to be an all-star, try a phone-free Sunday. Take notes with an actual pen. Sit next to someone new. Having access to every church document is great, but someone may need you at church and if you're eyes are glued to your phone, you could miss him/her.

Love,

Angela

PS: A note to singles: There are a lot of awkward moments in a singles ward. You may feel tempted to whip out your phone as a distraction/security blanket. Don't. You're more approachable when standing alone and not using/pretending to use your cell phone.

What mobile-device rules do you follow at church? How do these devices enhance or hamper your Sunday worship?

Advice columnist Angela Trusty answers questions about a variety of topics, including the Mormon young single adult experience. Submit questions to askangela.dn@gmail.com.

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