Governing Body gives green light for tablets to be used from the platform

The Governing Body has approved for tablets to be used by speakers at congregation meetings
The Governing Body has approved for tablets to be used by speakers at congregation meetings

Watchtower has issued a letter to all congregations informing them that henceforth, congregation speakers are free to use tablets from the platform.

The letter, dated October 12, 2013, notes that tablets have become “increasingly common in many parts of the world.” The Governing Body has therefore decided that use of tablets on the platform at meetings and assemblies “should be left to the individual discretion of each program participant.”

The news is likely to receive a mixed response from Witnesses. On the one hand, as tablet technology becomes increasingly available it is inevitable that tablets should eventually be widely used at meetings. After all, books are now considered an essential component of Christian meetings even though Christianity predates the popular use and availability of the codex.

On the other hand, many will point to the fact that tablets are still relatively expensive and beyond the reach of poorer Witnesses, who are already under pressure to forsake material belongings in favor of putting the preaching work first. It could therefore be considered a “showy display” for wealthy brothers to use this technology conspicuously from the platform – especially in impoverished areas. -1 John 2:16

Then there are the practicalities of using tablets from the rostrum. A printed or handwritten sheet of notes cannot black out into a screensaver or run out of power. And you do not need to continually stroke it to scroll up and down.

Indeed, Watchtower’s letter acknowledges there could be technical considerations. It suggests that a speaker using a tablet “should set his device to a mode that would not emit sounds, and he should void electronic alerts, such as incoming e-mail notifications. Additionally, it may be wise for a brother using such a device during his talk to have a backup hardcopy of his notes for use in the event he experiences a technical problem.”

The letter also hints at the fact that use of tablets could prove to be a distraction for those who cannot afford one. “If a brother will be giving a talk in an area where he knows such devices are not commonly used, it would be appropriate for him to inquire if his doing so from the platform would not be advantageous.”


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58 thoughts on “Governing Body gives green light for tablets to be used from the platform

  • October 26, 2013 at 7:45 am

    The Watchtower Organization wields a harsh spiritual whip!!

    1) No independent thinking!! – Don’t think for yourself, we’ll do the thinking for you.

    2) You must believe everything we teach! You will not question what we print in the Watchtower! To do so is the same as questioning Jehovah!

    3) You must give us your un-questioning obedience!

    4) Constant pressure though guilt and fear to: Do more, do more, you are not doing enough!

    They will even decide for you whether or not you can use a Tablet!!! It seems to me that it is a personal decision for each person to make themselves.

    This is NOT Christian freedom!!!
    This is NOT Christian love!!!

  • October 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Johnny B Goode, I appreciate non theist comments as well as theist ones.

    What I don’t like are your sneering, rude, ignorant and unimportant comments.

    To be honest with you, I won’t bother to read your ill informed, passive aggressive comments any more.

    Have a good life and go in peace.

  • October 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Cedar, hope all is well with you and your family. I noticed you haven’t posted any new articles in a while and I’d like you to know I’m concerned and am looking forward to reading more of your articles. I’ve been “lurking in the shadows” reading and trying to digest everything on these “apostate” websites since April of this year and am “StillShocked.” Please know your articles are very much appreciated. I know you devote a lot of time helping us, and we all appreciate your insight.

  • November 4, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Yes I was wondering the same thing, hope he is ok.

    Please contact Cedars, worried about you!

    • November 4, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Thanks kat, I appreciate the concern of you and others. I have been quite preoccupied of late, but I will be posting regularly again soon. Hopefully everyone will soon know what I’ve been dealing with.

  • November 4, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Johnny B. Goode,
    Do you know any atheists? I’ve met over a dozen since my search out of JW world. They have all been delightful, intelligent, content individuals members of society that give back to their communities and support people educating themselves out of organized religion.
    They have also been more polite than any religious people I’ve knowm my entire life. They respectfully listen to all viewpoints. None of them suffer from victim mentality either which makes them so refreshing to be around once you leave JW world.
    As for tablets, I received an Ipad as a gift and what a gem it turned out to be for me in my research of WT history and the many JW child abuse cases and misquotes in WT literature regarding science, earthquakes, world divorce rates etc.

  • November 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I was afraid of that. The witch hunt has begun?

    • November 5, 2013 at 1:24 am

      Not so much a witch hunt – it’s more me taking a stand for what I believe in.

  • November 5, 2013 at 2:48 am

    We’re proud of you. Can’t wait to read about it!

  • November 5, 2013 at 9:01 am

    I personally gave one of the first Service Meeting parts regarding the dangers of the internet. I think it was very important as those dangers have become reality in the form of cyber-bullying, porn, identity theft, etc. As those dangers have become understood, the WT continues, not prohibit, but counsel how to guard ourselves from those dangers. For example, children should use the internet in a public room of the house, having a balanced view of the time spent on the web, etc.

  • November 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Rob, the problems you mention do indeed exist, and sensible advice on how to avoid these is right and proper.

    Where I have a problem is in the prohibition to research critics of WTBTS and alternative views on existence. I see nothing wrong in questioning ones faith. Indeed, the bible urges believers to keep on testing their interpretation of scripture.

    The way that the WTBTS shuts down alternatives and critical debate is unhealthy. The GB should respond to Cedar’s survey and have a debate with him and others.

    Instead people like us are labelled as diners with demons and other such names.

    Access to information is a good thing. I would encourage everyone to use the internet to increase their knowledge, whilst being careful of the dangers that do exist.

  • November 9, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    The last convention that I ever went to, about two years ago, I proudly brought my new iPad. I was sitting in the back of a section totally surrounded by my family. I was suddenly waved to come out of my seat and I thought that there was some emergency with one of my small children (the three of them were sitting with their grandmother in another section).
    The young attendant took me to the older, ‘chief’ attendant to chew me out for distracting people!!! I almost told him to fly-a-kite, for acting like my schoolmaster, while I am a professional, 40 year old firefighter! He wanted to know what cong. I was in, to tell my elder’s on me, no doubt. It wasn’t my District Convention so he didn’t know the congo. Idiot!
    Well that was pretty much near the end for me anyways and it was certainly my last convention.

  • November 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Actually, to “level the playing field”, they should have encouraged eReaders as those are sufficient for WT material (as in download to the PC then transfer over if they don’t have wireless).

    Tablets with Android OS, or posh still iPads, are above and beyond modest and would tend to separate the flock. iPads are too brand name and certainly not to flash about at the door.

  • June 20, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Why does Watchtower have confidential information that should not be posted on information boards? In a free country where religious freedom is available, why should a Governing body hide any information from a congregation?

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  • April 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm

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