Tyler Woolstenhulme might be loath to admit it, but sometimes he’s not paying attention in church. He will happily confess that he’s not the only one. When that happens, he pulls out his iPhone and sometimes plays his puzzle game. Or maybe he texts his friends across the aisle.
- Salt Lake Tribune/Huffington Post
'I take the time in church to catch up with people I haven’t contacted in a while,' he said. 'I text friends or family.' The thing is, he says, about half the congregation also is on phones and tablets during a sermon. 'I see people play games all the time. I’ve seen them watch football games,' he said about other congregants and their mobile devices.
For many bored churchgoers, fiddling with smartphones or computer tablets is the 21st-century equivalent of playing tic-tack-toe or dozing off during services.
It can be a problem particularly with younger members, the first generation to know no life without cellphones or social networks and with whom digital devices are 'like an appendage to their body,' said Colleen Gudreau, spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City. 'They don’t see it in the same context as the adults do.'
In fact, LDS mobile apps containing scriptures, lessons, conference sermons and more can heighten rather than hinder the worship experience.
The devices also can be a godsend for parents wanting to occupy their fidgety children. But sometimes, many can be seen accessing Facebook, checking sports scores, catching up on the news or playing a quick game.