Reading in Church: Weekend Poll

April 28, 2012

Is it rude to read your iPad in church? (choose all that apply)

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26 Responses to Reading in Church: Weekend Poll

  1. Syphax on April 28, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    I would say yes, it almost certainly is, but not incredibly so. There are ruder things you could be doing. However, I was raised by a mother who demanded a very high level of manners in social interactions.

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  2. Zara on April 28, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    As far as the distraction element, it probably is, and I wouldn’t have done it in the company of my parents, but it’s probably the only thing that has kept me being able to go to church for the past two years.

    I don’t see a problem at all with having your scriptures and manuals on the iPad, though. The church even puts out its own application.

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  3. Douglas on April 28, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    I multi-task. Going to Church is the spiritual version of “eat your vegetables”. I do it because it’s good for me and my child, not because I particularly enjoy it..I enjoy the benefits.
    I browse my Smartphone and to “heck” with what others think.

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  4. newlyhousewife on April 29, 2012 at 6:34 AM

    Honestly it depends on the ward. In my current one yes, simply because the average person doesn’t have an ipad and its a major distraction. On the otherhand the bishop uses his so as long as you’re male and in a position of authority, no.

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  5. Anselma on April 29, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    I think it’s one thing to use it to read the scriptures/manual, but it seems disingenuous to show up to church and not pay attention. It’s the same reason my mother didn’t let me bring books to family functions: you’re here to spend time with your family, not ignore them all by reading.

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  6. prometheus on April 29, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    I don’t see it as being all that different from texting at the dinner table, tbh.

    Also, from my own experience, I find that I am constantly filling my mind, never emptying it. If one’s church services are not filling a need, perhaps some quiet meditation might prove a relief from the neverending stream of media we are all submerged in.

    Just my thoughts on the matter.

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  7. prometheus on April 29, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Oh, and needless to say, I don’t approve of texting at the dinner table, either. :)

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  8. Anon on April 29, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    I take my iPad to church every week. I have a deal with myself. I don’t play games on it at church, I don’t text while at church (well, except to tell a friend who the new bishop was that was called), I don’t read email either. I use it for my hymnal, class manual, study manual.

    We now have over 1/2 the gospel doctrine class that have iPads or smart phones.

    I put videos on my iPad and help anyone on teaching a class by helping them connect it to the TV from the library or a projector to show in their class. Plus I now have a nice collection of conference talks, church books and interesting blog topics that have come in very handy in discussions in gospel doctrine or other classes.

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  9. Will on April 29, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    I use it to post to wheat and tares.

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  10. Nick Literski on April 29, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    It’s probably rude to read your iPad in church, if you’re reading “Playboy,” gentlemen.

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  11. Stephen M (Ethesis) on April 29, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Well, in high priest’s group today, only three of us did not have our phones, etc. with us, and the lesson involved everyone just pulling a talk off the Church site and reading from phones and ipads rather than making photocopies.

    Made me feel foolish for having forgotten my phone.

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  12. annegb on April 29, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    I always take a book, crossword puzzles and my cell phone. But I stopped texting during sacrament because it bothered Bill and I thought I could do that for him. But Sunday School and Relief Society, yeah, I read. Sometimes I read everybody’s blogs. It’s a bad habit. Or a guilty pleasure. or something. I don’t feel good about it, but I do it. And I’m old!

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  13. Bonnie on April 29, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    It’s distracting to disapprove of people. If I had an ipad I would use it for the tool that it is, but I find that most people who are speaking or teaching need our support and encouragement that we can give by looking them in the eyes and intending to receive something from them. I have unintentionally caught people playing angry birds on theirs while I thought they were looking up a verse we were discussing – and managed to embarrass us both.

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  14. Paul on April 30, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Let’s see. If the purpose of the talks in sacrament meeting and the lessons in Sunday School and priesthood is to draw me into reflection on the gospel and inspire me to draw nearer to the Lord, I might want to follow up, or mark a series of scriptures, or even look for an Ensign article or conference talk. All of that is “reading on my i-Pad” (I use a Kindle Fire…), but it is not, in my mind rude, nor irreverant. Indeed it’s why I’m there.

    If I just had my scripture brick with me, I’d be doing the same thing, minus perhaps the conference talks and Ensign.

    And as Bonnie says, it’s distracting to disapprove of others.

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  15. Bob on April 30, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    #14:Paul,
    But if the purpose of the talks in sacrament meeting and the lessons in Sunday School and priesthood is to draw one into a community, then withdrawing into your iPad would likely having you leaving the ritual of community(?)

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  16. aloneinconviction on May 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    you are at church to commune with Christ– granted this meaning has been largely lost at our meetings and so using electronic media there doesn’t seem so bad to most– but who among us would actually sit down to a sacrament with Christ and bring their ipad with them? one man in our ward spoke one sunday and got up to the pulpit and said “so my talk today is brought to you courtesy of iphone”— i completely believe that any media that provokes behavior as disrespectful to Christ as that, is entirely unwelcome at a place where you should be literally sitting down and connecting with Him– you will never connect with Christ through an ipad.

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  17. Paul on May 1, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    #16: Would you say that I cannot communce with Christ if I’m using my scriptures during church? what should it matter whether they are paper or electronic?

    Of course if the Savior were teaching, I doubt I’d be flipping through my paper scriptures, either, though I might want to take a note or two.

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  18. annegb on May 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Feeling Christ at church and the appropriateness of electronics in church is an apples/oranges discussion.

    I do not feel it’s appropriate to text or play games or check websites (or blog) on one’s iphone, ipad, Blackberry, etc. But then I think many things I do are inappropriate.

    I’m actually going to try to just sit through sacrament without a distraction. I don’t think I’ll be able to listen without one, though.

    Our meetings just aren’t all that spiritual, forget I’m supposed to bring the spirituality. I’m mostly bored, sometimes irritated but seldom uplifted. It’s unfair to expect that of volunteer speakers, but it’s also unfair to put more darn guilt on members by saying “you should feel spiritual and if you don’t, you’re probably a sinner” or a reasonable facsimile.

    I suspect that a lot of people who do that sort of thing have ADD. I always wondered why it drove me crazy to just sit and listen to people talk, then I had a PET scan and comprehensive testing at a fancy clinic, so I have an excuse. I never have just watched TV—I always had to have something else to do, crochet, whatever.

    I further suspect that a lot of people use ADD as an excuse to indulge childish behavior.

    I’m going to try to control myself for the hour of Sacrament meeting and then sit in the back row of Sunday School and Relief Society where my activities will be quiet and discreet.

    Were I perfect, I’d sit quietly with my hands in my lap and soak in every nugget of wisdom and pray to Jesus in my heart for three hours.

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  19. Justin on May 2, 2012 at 6:39 AM

    Paul:

    Would you say that I cannot communce with Christ if I’m using my scriptures during church?

    Though you were asking aloneinconviction — I’ll say that all the prophet-missionaries of the Book of Mormon expounded the scriptures in their missionary discussions , following the pattern that Christ would in 3 Nephi 26 — and the church of Christ is to be “nourished with the good word of God” during group worship services.

    So — we are to have the scriptures, sure — however, you’re assuming that all of those things means the congregation has their noses in a book or an e-book device.

    Bob nailed it when he wrote: “But if the purpose of the talks in sacrament meeting [...] is to draw one into a community, then withdrawing into your iPad would likely having you leaving the ritual of community(?)” We’re currently a group of individual worshippers who happen to be in a group — not group worshippers.

    So I think the same would apply to the paper copy of your scriptures — as well as the e-book versions. If you’re turned-into them, then you aren’t turned into the worship service.

    As people like annegb will admit — they feel no community and no spirit in our meetings — so electronic media is a sign of fruitless worship services that leave most attendees bored out of their wits.

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  20. Hawkgrrrl on May 2, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    I’ve gotten so used to my iPad Kindle App that when I am reading a newspaper, magazine or the physical scriptures I sometimes am highlighting a passage with my finger before I realize that it’s not working.

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  21. Paul on May 2, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    19: “We’re currently a group of individual worshippers who happen to be in a group — not group worshippers.” I guess I don’t know what this means.

    Conversion is an intensely personal experience. Covenant making is an intensely personal experience. Yes, I may make or renew those covenants publicly, but I will experience them in private and spiritually intimate ways.

    Further, individuals come to worship from different places; one is more or less prepared than another; one is more or less open to emotional appeal or rational appeal; one is more or less well-versed in the scriptures. Assuming that worship is a solely communal experience seems odd to me.

    Are there communal elements? Yes. Do many people feel the spirit in a particularly spiritual meeting? Yes. Will everyone? Probably not. I may be wrong (and fully allow that I am), but I have assumed that accounts of King Benjamin’s and Alma’s listeners who answered with one voice were simply literary hyperbole.

    My own personal experience is not one of isolating myself in personal scripture study for the entire meeting. But from time to time, something someone says will remind me of something I recently read or thought about, and I may spend a few minutes in personal reflection. In that moment, I fully admit I am alone in a group. But I don’t see that as a problem.

    I guess I don’t see that as a problem to be solved.

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  22. Bob on May 2, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    #21: Paul,
    Communal experience: We all sit together, we all pray together, we all sing together, we all listen together, in some churches_we stand together__then, we all say Amen together.
    Groups are just persons together. A community is a group trying to be tied together as one.

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  23. Justin on May 2, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Paul,

    I guess I don’t know what this means.

    It means that just because our bodies are occupying the same space at the same time doesn’t necessarily equate to communally worshiping Christ.

    An atmosphere of “separateness” is still maintained — a bunch of islands of separate people and separate families, who’ve just be coordinated to appear in the same room at the same time each week.

    Conversion is an intensely personal experience. Covenant making is an intensely personal experience. Yes, I may make or renew those covenants publicly, but I will experience them in private and spiritually intimate ways.

    Yes — the gospel has an individual component and individual worship — but there is also a group component and group [or communal] worship.

    The Lord embraces the one and the all at the same time. Yes — He wants us worshipping as individuals, but He also wants us worshipping as a group. If too much focus is given to the individual, half of the gospel [communal worship] is lopped-off.

    The two components are not hierarchical, with one on top and one on bottom — but are on an equal footing. The group is not above the individual and the individual is not above the group.

    Certain aspects of the gospel can only be obtained by the individual, or on an individual level [like your conversion], while other aspects can only be obtained by the group, or on a communal level [like establishing Zion]. Both components are important and can affect their counterparts [for good or for ill].

    What the group does or does not do affects the individual’s agency [positively or negatively], while an individual exercising his or her agency can affect the group in both positive and negative ways.

    This is why we find the Lord’s prophets so obsessed with the group or giving group commandments and promises.

    When we’re focused on the individual only — it might seem wise to just have left Laman and Lemuel in Jerusalem. If they wanted to commit spiritual suicide, then why not let them? That’s their prerogative, as individuals before the Lord. They have their agency and are free to do what they want.

    As an anarchist [completely detached from what I know of the gospel], I too would see it that way. Yet, Nephi and Lehi time-and-again labored to keep the group together as long as possible.

    Assuming that worship is a solely communal experience seems odd to me.

    See above. I’m not saying all worship is solely communal — but the sacrament meeting is a group worship service.

    Something like,

    I fully admit I am alone in a group

    is exactly the problem to be solved.

    The experience of annegb is a spot-on description of a spiritually dead congregation.

    Apathy in a congregation, which can be seen in things like poor attendance and noses in books or phones among attendees, is a symptom of spiritual deadness.

    As aloneinconviction [#16] pointed out [and others have admitted], were Christ to be present [and the spirit of Christ manifesting] — we’d all drop our iPads and hang on His every word.

    Well, church is where people come expecting the word of Christ and spirit of Christ to be — and when they find that it’s not, they retreat to something else.

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  24. Paul on May 2, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    #22 Bob, and I do all those things when I go to church, even if I use my e-scriptures.

    #23 Justin, I don’t see my own experience (from time to time retreating to my own thoughts and personal reflection even in the group) as isolating me. As Bob points out, there are many communal things we do in our sacrament meetings.

    But frankly, the communal part of gospel living doesn’t come in church. It comes in those hours of service we can render together — helping someone move, cleaning the neighborhood park, painting the older sister’s home, working at the welfare farm (though opportunities to do that are very limited these days). Further, communal ritual experience is to be found in the temple, as well as in our Sunday meetings.

    I do acknowledge that not every meeting is perfect, and one’s mileage may vary by ward. But my experience shows me that there is shared worship, even in a sacrament meeting.

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  25. Justin on May 2, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Paul,

    As Bob points out, there are many communal things we do in our sacrament meetings.

    I know you said you didn’t understand what I meant in #19 — but that’s essentially describing a bunch of individual worshipers who happen to be occupying the same space at the same time [calling themselves a group] — not group worshipers, or worshiping as a group.

    Zion requires great intimacy and connection among the members. You can’t have it with a bunch of separate-islands.

    The church lacks this intimacy and connection because we are all still strangers — gathering to the same place at the same time, but lacking any sort of “social adhesion”.

    The only way to achieve Zion, or even a Zion-like atmosphere at church, is for members to be connected to each other. As it stands, we are connected to Christ through covenants [individually], but not to each other [communally]. As long as we remain unfettered by covenant relationships with each other, we will never achieve Zion and our church experience will never approach the level of intimacy and sharing required of that ideal.

    the communal part of gospel living doesn’t come in church

    Classic. Well said. I don’t think I could have summed-up the point I was trying to make in #23 any more succinctly.

    I’m going to show that quote to my wife cause I think she’ll agree with you.

    Further, communal ritual experience is to be found in the temple

    Lol.

    Luckily they don’t allow iPhones and iPads in there yet — because if what I hear from people online about how they feel with respect to their temple experience is any indication — noses in media devices would be common there too.

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  26. Dylock on May 6, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    I don’t think it fair to members who don’t have an iPad.

    Scriptures and manuals are free, thus no one is made to feel ‘less’ if they do not have.

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