Like Batman's utility belt, cell phones are loaded with fancy features.
This is especially true for Latter-day Saints, who can now download the scriptures, lesson manuals, hymns and other Mormon curriculum into a pocket-size device, lightening the Sunday load and freeing hands for holding more children.
Mobile phones are also convenient for communicating with other ward members, whether via text message, e-mail or a good, old-fashioned call. Vanishing fast are the days of home phone lines.
But with great power comes great responsibility. Here are some tips on how to be sensitive to others while using your cell phone in church-related situations.
Good vibrations: When appropriate, please silence your phone.
Texting: Everyone has different preferences when it comes to texing, so be tactful. While some members may love to get text reminders about Cub Scouts, others may not have unlimited texting in their modest monthly plans. A good rule of thumb might be if the number of back-to-back texts exceeds three, a call might be more efficient. When you do make a call, keep it short.
Texting part 2: If those in your ward circle have embraced texting, use this power for good. Make a fellow Mormon's day by texting a thank you note, a favorite quote or a meaningful scripture verse. Just don't let texting replace face-to-face communication.
E-scriptures: Congratulations. You have the scriptures on your miniature device. If you are in seminary, you will now win all the scripture mastery games. However, in any church meeting where a lesson is being taught, be sensitive to your teacher, and don't let your gizmo become a distraction. Remember it's a tool, not a toy.
George Slaughter, a seminary teacher at Layton High School, has seen the good and the bad.
"For convenience, apps or scriptures on phones are great. I teach great kids who use them," Slaughter said. "But we're losing an intimate relationship with the word. Marking your scriptures electronically is not the same."
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