It can't love you back, people

I went to the temple this morning and when I got to the front desk the sweet elderly temple worker asked my roommate and I if we had cell phones with us. I smiled and said, "No."I refrained from adding, ". . . because I was raised by humans." Even though that's what I think every single time. You already know I have strong feelings on this issue.

But seriously, in the temple? My mom volunteers in the Anchorage Temple and they've had problems with people's cell phones ringing inside their lockers, over and over and over again. I told mom that she should use her master key to unlock the locker, take the cell phone out, and leave a note on the outside of the locker which reads, "Your cell phone had to be removed because it was causing a disturbance. It is being held for you in the temple president's office. Feel the shame."

Only it gets better. Now before we go in for a session, after we've already changed into pretty white dresses, a temple worker announces that if anyone has a cell phone with them then they need to shut it off and go put it back in their locker. When they say this I always look around in disbelief, wondering why anyone would get changed, leave all their other stuff in their locker, but then slip a cell phone into the pocket of their temple dress. I mean, are they thinking they're going to pop out and make a call if things get boring? Are they expecting a call--a call which they feel they're going to be able to answer in the middle of a session? Because really, there's actually no opportunity for that.

I mentioned this to my friend Crow (he of the merit badges fame) and he said he actually saw that happen. He was at the temple and heard a cell phone go off in the middle of the session. Then he saw a woman reach into her pocket, take the phone out, check it, and then put it back in her pocket. And this was after two requests to please ditch the phones.


I think my brain would have ruptured if I'd been there. I actually had a mild seizure when I heard the story. Crow doesn't think any of the temple workers noticed. Because if they do, I believe they're supposed to stop the session and wait until the cell phone owner gets up to take the phone out. Since he is a kinder person than I am, he was trying to think of a reason why one might legitimately need to have their phone with them. I told him there isn't a reason, so he should feel free to judge that person. And maybe throw stuff at her if he ever sees her again.

Because really, if there is a 2-hour unit of time in which you seriously cannot shut your phone off without dire consequences then you just don't go to the temple during that time. Or to church. Or to a wedding. Or a movie. Or a play. You just don't. Also? Quit texting during church. That is just trashy and it makes me want to find some large cell-phone-shaped pacifier and cram it in your mouth or perhaps call your mother up and ask what warped weaning methods she used on you because clearly you do not know how to detach. Which is when Crow told me this gem:

The members of his bishopric sit up there on the stand on Sunday and send texts to members of the congregation.

Yeah. They DO that. One Sunday his bishop came up to him and was all, "Hey [Crow], you never answered my text. I sent it during sacrament meeting." Crow responded with, "Well, I don't bring my phone to church with me. Aaaaaand it's kind of embarrassing that we're even having this conversation." Only maybe that last part was in his head.


Scully said... [reply]

I seriously cannot believe this. Like, how can you have no understanding of proper values? My head is going to explode with this. No wonder there is such a problem in Young Women with cell phones - their parents are setting a horrid example.

Katie said... [reply]

Yep, I'm going to be having a little chat with my Laurels and nip this one in the bud. Better to get them now before they actually have temple recommends. Sheesh.

Desmama said... [reply]

My husband has an insulin pump that he can't take off for a two-hour temple session. He's had more than one temple worker ask him if it's a cell phone or beeper, and they are very kind and understanding when he tells them that it's an insulin pump. And he can turn it on silent so it doesn't alert him about insulin levels being low during a session or something. But the point of that is, sometimes if you see someone take out what looks like a cell phone, it may not actually be that. Insulin pumps look surprisingly similar.

I see what you're saying, and yes, there's a certain need to make sure things are taken care of prior to entering a session and leaving cell phones out completely.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Desmama, I knew another girl who wore a pump like that. Okay, everyone. Before you beat someone with a chair leg in the temple, ask them if that's an insulin pump that's making the noise.

abby said... [reply]

I'm guilty of forgetting to turn my cell phone off and leaving it in the locker of the temple. However, I get no reception in there under normal circumstances and not many people call me anyway. I feel shamed now. I don't always drive to the temple so leaving it in the car isn't always an option.

I do bring my phone to Church but mainly for emergencies and it's on vibrate. Yeah it has its own issues but vibrate is better than hearing "Mr. Brightside" in the middle of sacrament meeting.

Wow I don't think a member of the bishopric has my cell phone number and if they did what would they text me about. I usually see them catching a nap occasionally though.

MidCityGal said... [reply]

Beyond just the rudeness of answering a call or texting, it's also very inappropriate to bring a cell phone into the temple because what if the person with the cell phone decides to take some pictures with their camera-phone or start recording audio or video, etc. Those are huge no-no's in the temple.

(BTW, I'm DesMama's sister. Thanks for letting me lurk.)

lifeinthenhs said... [reply]

There are lots of places where it would be best not to take your cell (mobile - I'm english) phone. But do people actually seem to realise it? No they do not. What on earth did they do before phones became smaller than a brick?

Funniest thing ever was a man sitting in a restaurant with his whole family wearing one of those blue tooth things and chatting to himself while his family got on with eating a family meal around him; sad!

Jenny said... [reply]

I will be sharing an abbreviated message to my little 16 & 17 year old girls as well.

Mona said... [reply]

Texting from the stand? Seriously? And admitting to it? Seriously?

Another reason why I am sometimes ashamed to admit I'm a Mormon--not because of what I believe, but because of the people with whom I associate.

Azúcar said... [reply]

I am going to open up a pandora's box.

I would like to submit that sometimes, the offenders in question at el templo are middle aged folk.

I went to a movie with one 50ish friend of mine whose cell phone kept going off. After the 4th time, I grabbed the phone from her and turned it off.

"How did you DO that?" She gasped.

"How long have you owned this phone?" I asked.

"8 months," said she.


Maybe, if you don't know how to turn off your phone, DON'T GET A PHONE. (That includes you mom, even though you don't read this blog, or any blog.)

I've never seen one of our teenagers or young adults' cell phone go off in church, but there have been many a member of the middle to upper years who have done so.

('Course, we could get into an argument whether 5 cell phones ringing Ride of the Valkyrie equals 1 ringing Sexy/Back.)

webpilot5150 said... [reply]

so, I am a detective with a state law enforcement agency and I am required to have my cell phone with me 24 hours a day, not necessarily physically on my person but within reach... The other night I got a call- out at 11 pm to respond to search for the girl who went missing in South Salt Lake, I responded via text that I was enroute, which also documents the time that I acknowledged notification. My point is that you don't know what peoples circumstances are and although you are painfully aggravated at the situation, you need to just relax and live your life and let them live theirs, personally, I have chosen to not take my phone with me into a temple session but I have it every other place including church, movies etc and use it as I am required to. P.S. You would never know I was a cop sitting next to you. You probably just see me and think "what is that idiot doing with his phone in church" anyway, 'nuff said.

Valli said... [reply]

I have fallen into the "capital punishment" attitude for cell phone etiquette breakers in the past. Having a spouse that is deployed and many friends in like situations I find myself much more lenient on the cell phone etiquette issue at the present. I agree that there is no reason for anyone to hear about some drama at your workplace or like conversation while standing at the never ending line in the post office. However, I do acknowledge there are times when answering a call is best while standing in such a line.

One of the many joys of deployment allot for the deployed person to call home but not receive incoming calls. Some soldiers call once every two weeks. For spouses at home this equates to meltdowns when discovering their cell phone has been left behind while attending some function.

Now I believe this situation does not allow for people taking their phones into church or the temple. The spouses understand (should understand) that there are cell phone inappropriate places. At least mine does and if there are any soldiers that disagree I would like to have a chat with you on the frequency or infrequency of your calls to begin with.

Back to the post office or check out line scenario, it is appropriate to say, “Hi, I’m checking out right now. Give me thirty seconds and I will be out the door.” Then you can give attention to what is in front of you and then give your undivided attention to the phone call solving the world peace issue with your significant other once you have removed yourself from that line and found a private area to converse.

Anth said... [reply]

At our temple they just give the one warning. I find it hard to believe someone would tuck their cell phone into their temple clothes pocket and head into a session!

Our EQP is considering banning all cell phone and PDA use in EQ due to the guys texting each other and/or playing games. Grown men. It's completely lame. The YW leaders have already had to ban cell phones (and take them away from girls) in YW.

Michael said... [reply]

I was going to post something similar to webpilot- that there are some people who, if they couldn't go to church whenever they had to have their phone with them, could never go to church.
These people are, of course, a minority. Most with phones just have them for no reason.

I do think for those required to have them, modern phones are a big improvement over early pagers- which were almost just one way walkie talkies- they would beep and the person on the other end would just start talking. When my mom worked for the forest fire service back in the seventies she said there were a couple of embarrassing moments at church where she had to quickly shut it off and then leave and call in. I personally think that's just fine- we need fire fighters and what not and some need to be on call most of the time on days off. (My mother did not go to the temple when she was on call and had to have her pager on- but she was frequently on call on Sundays and would have been unable to attend church at all if she did not attend with the pager.)

N.F. said... [reply]

I am pulling my jaw up from the floor, it fell literally open when I read your post. Holy.Cow.

Lady Steed said... [reply]

I thought your friend Crow was going to share how the Bishopric text members of the congregation with warnings, such as "no pda in sacrament meeting" or "Bro. Smith, you should be paying attention to this talk", "Dear Sis. Jones, your skirt is too short" and "Please set your cell phone to silent mode." Which, would be kind of awesome.

j said... [reply]

I do bring my phone to church, but mainly, in case of priesthood-based emergencies, like if the person who is supposed to be bring the bread for the sacrament doesn't show. But I'm always careful at the temple to turn off my phone or leave it in the car. I can't imagine what would bring a bishopric to be texting people in the congregation during the meeting. Shouldn't they of all people, be paying attention? Setting an example?

Jenny said... [reply]

Valli, you bring up a good point and I bet that must be the case in your military ward. We, on the other hand, live miles and miles and miles from military bases and so the people that drive us crazy don't fall into your catagory.

If you have to have a phone at church or at the movies, it better be on silent. Or just don't go to places where you are going to be a disturbance. It's like how you don't bring kids to a nice restaurant.

And if you do have to use your phone during church or a movie or whatever, maybe you should go out into the lobby to complete your business.

I think no matter where you are or what your circumstances, you should try to be considerate to those around you.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Note to the detectives and others (like doctors on call) who do have a legitimate reason for needing to be "reachable," even if it is a Sunday:

I don't mean you. And I'm sure you know when to set your phone/pagers to vibrate.

No one who goes to church with me falls into any of those categories. Unless they are undercover. Or a superhero.

jeri said... [reply]

I think it's good that you've included superheros in your "ok to bring cell-phones to church" exemption. But shouldn't superheros be held to a higher standard? Like the Bat Signal or something? Maybe that only works at night. And the "cell-phone-shaped pacifier" made me gag because I laughed so hard. Also I think you might have a best-seller there.

We don't even bring our phones into the temple. I would be so embarassed if I were one of the people with the ringing phone in the locker. It can hang out in the car, ring loudly, take voice mail messages, chat with the iPod... basically just enjoy some alone time. It's good for us all.

I went to a temple wedding where someone answered their phone DURING the sealing. It was after all the formal stuff and right before we started filing out but... still! A friend of ours said really loudly "let's just move away from him before the lightning strikes". Sadly... it didn't.

Melanie said... [reply]

I love the convenience of my cell, but their prevalence in society has brought up so many issues. Like, what ever happened to privacy? I hear the gory details of some people's lives just because they insist on having very loud conversations in the middle of the grocery store, on the bus, etc.

Talking and driving is one of my HUGE issues. I get so annoyed when I am a passenger in someone's car and they're having a conversation on their phone. First, it's rude to ignore me as the passenger, but more importantly, please don't endanger my life by trying to multi-task. If I find out that someone is talking to me while driving I make them hang up and call me back later.

Yankee Girl said... [reply]

My parents serve in a BYU ward and were asked by the Provo Temple President to announce in their ward that cell phones should not be brought to the temple. They too have been having problems with cell phones going off in the dressing room. Apparently though the problem has now escalated to include people answering their phones and carrying on full conversations in sessions and in the Celestial room! The worst of it was when my mom explained the problem to her Relief Society girls they didn't see what the problem was. To be fair they are probably not the current problem since they are freshmen girls but I fear they are not too far off from being the problem. Yeah to those of you who are going to be chatting with your YW now about this issue.

Eva said... [reply]

Cell phones were created for your convenience, meaning that you can answer calls and make them when it's convenient for you.

That means if you're somewhere you can't take a call, you can do so later.

It doesn't make you a slave to technology. You don't HAVE to take a call at all times just because you CAN.

Gretchen said... [reply]

Man, you keep hitting the nail on the head. First the gum, and now this. Thank you.

I'm still embarrassed to admit that I actually got my first cell phone a few months ago. Not that it took me that long, rather that I succumbed to the temptation. It was nice when I got in a bad car accident awhile ago though, so I'm keeping it. Now my new problem is remembering I have it with me since I almost NEVER use it. I'm far to lame for ANYONE to EVER actually call me, so I often forget about it. Any tips for remembering you have one so that you remember to turn it off? I haven't had any mishaps yet, but it's totally a ticking time bomb... Shame on me!

Nemesis said... [reply]

Gretchen, you bring up a very, very good question--one that I'm not actually sure how to answer! I guess if you're only using it for emergencies (like car accidents, etc.) then you could just keep it in your car when you're out and about. I dunno. Any other ideas, anyone?

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

I love you. Some people need to be shot.

Shouldn't there have to be some kind of cell phone ettiquette course BEFORE you can purchase one?

kristen said... [reply]

As a temple worker we are trained to ask patrons to turn their phone off before assigning them a locker. Also, if one happens to go off during a session, the session is stopped and the perpetrator is discovered and asked to take it downstairs. And yes, everyone has to wait. (Actual scenario, thus the rules). That's just gotta make you feel dumb. While it may be intrusive to ask if one is carrying a phone, we are trained to look out for those things, because let's be honest--some people are just not smart. A phone mishap could ruin someone's temple experience (it would ruin mine), and first priority is to maintain the reverence and spirituality that the temple is supposed to be.

Azúcar said... [reply]

I don't care what your job is, you can turn your phone to vibrate while keeping it on your person during a reverence-type situation.

Important to be reachable does not excuse discourtesy during worship.

Jenny said... [reply]

My mother-in-law follows your blog religiously and sent this post to about everyone in her contact list. The members of her bishopric actually text her 18 year-old daughter during sacrament. You were concise but clearly made a point and I really appreciate it.

JustMe said... [reply]

One of the best blogs I've ever read. Seriously people....who are you expecting to call while you are in the Temple? If God needs your ear, he won't use the cell phone.

Trust us on this

JustMe said... [reply]

AZUCAR - Sorry but I just had to respond to your comment. I'm 55 and yes, I do have a cell phone. What's more I can even TEXT at semi-lighting speed with my cell. Take a deep breath when I tell you I even know how to send PICTURE MAIL from my cell phone.

So, of course, I know how to turn my phone on and off. I know how to leave the phone on but turn the ringer off.

I fully expect to receive your "rocking old person" award.

Though I must, in all honesty, admit that last Sunday my phone went off just as they were blessing the sacrament. Not because I was too stupid or too OLD to turn it off, but because I didn't realize it was in my purse.

Sorry to sound so hostile, but I'm feeling a wee bit miffed. I use computer programs my teenagers and 20-something kids have never even heard of, and mostly I'm self-taught. Being 50+ doesn't make us stupid or even necessarily technology challenged.

I was using the internet 15 years ago - long before most people even knew what it was.

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