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

  1. Amelia says:

    Being allowed to “stroke” a device while on the platform is not an expression I ever expected to hear!

  2. Jamie Clark says:

    When I was studying toward baptism, I could see the value of a tablet in the field, but not on the platform. I’d see it as too distracting and “showy” especially if it is an iPad.

    Flipping through pages of Scriptures, as congregation members do so, is much better then fingering down or pressing an icon, then waiting for the audience to “catch up.”

    This seems to be a new light as I thought the GB one time discouraged using tablets on the platform. It is another way of using a worldly convenience, like accepting credit cards.

    As worldly conditions get worse, the print will be better than electronic.

    • Amelia says:

      I remember a talk about the year 2003 or so about how foolish striving after having the latest mobile phone or any kind of technology was and why did we think we even need it! :S

  3. rip van winkle says:

    I also remember, just not sure when. Regardless of what was instructed, the Bethelites in my Cong. were always the 1st ones with the latest gadgets!!! And I’m not sure if anyone HAD tablets and ipads before the Bethelites started bringing them to meetings several years ago.

  4. Zeebo says:

    I think its great.. at least those poor JWs can now have their tablet in the meeting and pretend to be reading the WT bull, but instead be reading game or thrones or something much more interesting. Or even surf this website!

    When i was forced to attend a yawn-athon meeting i took my ipad and was reading a storm of swords.. some bros actually craned their neck to see what i was reading lol

  5. Aletheia says:

    WT is dealing with unimportant things…but it is a problem that there has always existed between them. Sending letters and explaining things that have no practical use for Christian and his life in Christ. The Bible is big book and and contains a wide collection of themes, for example Ephesians 4:4 – “…one Hope” – There is no explanation of this verse in WT library…, but it is important to explain how to use an electronic device. This is the best religion for person who wants wasted life! Unfortunately, this is exactly what I go through! THIS IS MY SHAME!!!

  6. Spongebob Anonymouspants says:

    “As worldly conditions get worse”.

    What do you mean by that?

  7. Tiger says:

    My closest friend and I did a demo on the convention showing why the use of iphones and other technology were a monumental distraction from the good news. We did the demo 4-5 years ago. I was a salesman trying to sell the brother a smart phone with a ton of apps. He did a soliloquy of all the reasons such a device was a distraction. Oddly enough the brother that pressured me into doing the demo brought his new iphone to my house 2 weeks later, telling me how invaluable it is. The G.B. are teachers for sure. The lessons I have learned are simple.

    1. B.S. sells as long as you call it new light and wear a shirt and tie when you tell it.
    2. Lying to the poor is big business
    3. Being old and creepy does not keep you from being popular.

    With this in mind anyone want to join my new religion, Tiger The Source of Light.

  8. Vincent Deporter says:

    I do find it odd that the WTS increasingly ignores the ones that have no computer or the money to spare for any modern technology. The separation of the rich and the poor is now even obvious at the Kingdom Hall.

  9. Shakeem says:

    I’ve already seen some Witnesses using tablets and iPads at the meetings to read and study the Watchtower magazine, prior to the release of this letter, and the society has encouraged its publishers to share with the public the website from these electronic devices as well. This could prove to be not such a great idea in areas where these are coveted devices.

  10. Just Thinking says:

    I just remember using my iPad at the last convention I’ve been. Actually the talks were so boring and full of contradictions and logical fallacies that I opened one of Raymond’s Franz books and started reading “apostate” material right there. It felt so good that I could do such a thing and get away with it :). Now it’s official. You can use the iPads without elders bothering you that it’s not appropriate, because some of your fellow believers might violate the 10th commendment because of your iPad.

  11. ApostateOfTheCentury says:

    I wish all JWs would buy tablets, bring them to the Kingdom Hall and open up JWSURVEY.ORG at the same time.

  12. Jorge says:

    That was in response to Amelia’s first comment

  13. JBob says:

    Wow, Just Thinking, I remember sitting in an assembly hall a few hundred miles away from where Raymond Franz landed and experiencing the same logic fallacies during the discourses from the platform. No tablets in those days, but I walked the heck out of my legs and around city blocks to clear my head.

    Cedars, Is this a good time to interject regarding the fallacy of 607 BC ?

  14. JBob says:

    Cedars, try to show the image of this supposed letter. I find it weird that HQ would need to issue a “permission” for persons to use available technology. However, it reflects Watchtower HQ’s centralized control–total control. It’s a matter of brand control (image), if not quality control. And, also reflective of the caliber of “recruits” that it needs to warn early adopters of the frailties of technology.

    I disagree that a tablet user reflects a “wealthy” Witness–some tablets are available for under $50, and with “welfare cellular” programs offering data and tablet plans, these are not out of reach for average publisher. And, also times have changed, whereas many Witnesses were mopping floors to survive in lieu of college, the younger individuals (and new converts) hold middle income and higher income jobs and entrepreneur/free-lance roles. These types mesh with the Millennials (Generation Y) which pursues economic opportunity outside-the-box, using iSkills and social media to carve out earnings.

  15. Nick B says:

    My mum has advised they are also encouraging publishers to take tablets door-to-door. Trying to discreetly find out from her if this is an “official” stance or not….

  16. Joe Spud says:

    I remember an assembly called “Keep Your Eye Simple” using modern gadgets is a total contradiction of that assembly, yet they say the true religion has no contradictions.

  17. WT Critic says:

    You’ve heard of iWatch well how about iWatchtower. You get a new story every year.

  18. AFRICAINE says:

    Its so nice to have a device “to play with” during a meeting – and you are bored out of your mind. Of course it will become a status device in some congos too – same as cars and other material trappings. But it can help pass the time. Great if you have a friend in the hall [or not even] at same time to play a game against -

  19. Thrilled says:

    I participated in your 2013 survey but forgot to leave a comment so I will post my comment here. (sorry if this is out of topic in the above post)

    I was raised in a non-Witnesses family. Being a baptized JW for almost 10 years, I don’t have any objection of their teaching after carefully studied with them, their teachings and history. I also did researched on internet about them, that’s why I discover this website 5 yrs ago (not sure) but I regularly visiting this site and read your post against JW’s and WBTS organization. But unfortunately it didn’t changed my conviction to believed that this religion (organization) is with God and still holds the truth. Maybe you will say that I was brainwashed by elders and by Watchtower Society.

    But thank you for allowing me here. Proud to be JW!


    • Cedars says:

      Hello Thrilled. Thanks for visiting our site and, most importantly, taking part in our survey.

      I’m impressed that you managed to visit us as far back as 5 years ago when we’ve only been online since October 2011!

      But seriously, glad to have you with us.


  20. Aletheia says:

    aaaahhahahahaha this is Thriller, aaahahahaha!!!!

  21. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    I’m happy that the witnesses will be able to use tablets at the meetings. It’s great that they can access any information that they want.

    Cost issues are a factor, but as other posts said, the price is going down.

    Technology is one of the things that will help topple this organisation. Any access to wider study and research has to be welcomed.

    Keep up the good work, Cedars!

  22. Thrilled says:

    That’s why I said “not sure” because I’m not really sure when I was first visited your website. Sorry for that. I also downloaded the result of 2012 survey and now reading it.

    Thank you Cedars,


  23. Thrilled says:

    That’s why I said “not sure” because I’m not really sure when I was first visited your website. Sorry for that. I also downloaded the result of 2012 survey and now reading it.

    Thank you Cedars,


  24. iclone says:

    Just more flip flopping. First, you cannot use tablets, now you can. Of course the minions will follow whatever direction the FDS (Fickle and Disillusion Slave) will spew out. In a few months once they realize the majority are using their tablets to kill time during the meetings; they will once again refine their “instructions” and predictably; the majority will show their allegiance to the FDS and promptly follow their guidance!

  25. Just Thinking says:

    Ooooh, official use of tablets makes fading much more easier. You have an official excuse to use the tablets during the meetings, which can be used to read the right material for progressive deconditioning.

  26. kat says:

    See them at conventions all the time, many use them, but not in the KH in western countries as yet, it is common in some middle eastern countries where books are not allowed. Not sure about Russia.

  27. Eu também vou adquirir um Tablet e levá-lo à reunião. Gostaria que os irmãos pudessem também abrir minha página em seus tablets:

    Apóstolo TDS

  28. tk2012 says:

    Yup, I agree with you…what does using or not using a tablet have to do with giving glory to God?

  29. Jeannette says:

    I smell a rat. They know human nature and mind control, and they know all witnesses will get an ipad if they possible can. THEN they can give the instructions that they say may seem unreasonable, but will you obey it?? Put it on the ipad!

  30. Mandelay says:


    Also, you won’t find much written about Mark 9: 38-42 in the WT library–Jesus said it would not be correct to label as an enemy one who expelled demons in his name independently without being part of his group. Jesus said this person would have his reward in heaven, too.  

    How are we to reconcile this text with the elitist-group mentality of the organization? 

  31. Aletheia says:


    You can’t! – Sorry, you can… if you understand that they are part of Apostle Paul’s prophecy about “Man of lawlessness”(NWT) in 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4

  32. Johnny B. Goode says:

    The WT has repeatedly changed their mind about the identity of the faithful and discreet slave. If you read what they’ve said from 1881 to 2013, it’s comical, even ridiculous. I posted the references in another article on this site, I can repeat them here if you need.

    After all their FDS flip flops, why trust them to correctly identify the man of lawlessness.

  33. Aletheia says:

    Johnny B. Goode

    That is a good question. I have researched views of other churches (Seventh day adventists, Baptists…) about man of lawlessness, and generally they agree that it is Antichrist or papal system (se book “A woman rides the beast” by Dave Hunt) . Witnesses have similar viewpoint ( see book “God’s kingdom has approached;18 chapter), but they don’t apply it on themselves, rather on others (read christendom). If they try, and apply that to themselves they will come to amazing discoveries.

  34. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    Folks, what has the man of lawlessness got to do with the use of tablets?

  35. Aletheia says:

    New light :))))))

  36. 70wksofyrs says:

    Hello Joe,
    they say the true religion has no contradictions.

    Well said, and welcome to the site. Its nice to see new ones making comments


  37. 70wksofyrs says:

    Nick B, welcome to you too
    “”My mum has advised they are also encouraging publishers to take tablets door-to-door.”"

    Hahaha!! If we did that in our territory they’d all be nicked before you could get your hour in.


  38. Thinking of leaving says:

    Isn’t it funny how 25 years ago they were literally demonising the internet and now you can bring them right into the house of Jehovah.

  39. Johnny B. Goode says:

    “what has the man of lawlessness got to do with the use of tablets?”

    AFAICT Cedars goal is to help people see the WT objectively, and let them decide for themselves how to react. He plainly says it’s not to be a forum for evangelizing.

    So why are atheists here, spewing their propaganda? They don’t call it “evangelizing,” but that’s self delusion. Is it lonely out there in atheist land? Does your misery need some company? Go find other committed atheists and be miserable together. Leave JWs alone. If they want to become atheists, they can figure that out for themselves, without any atheist proselytizing.

  40. BeenMislead says:

    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!!!

  41. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    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.

  42. StillShocked says:

    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.

  43. kat says:

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

    Please contact Cedars, worried about you!

    • Cedars says:

      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.

  44. Gypsy Sam says:

    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.

  45. StillShocked says:

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

  46. StillShocked says:

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

  47. Rob says:

    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.

  48. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    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.

  49. David Vessey says:

    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.

  50. Jamie Clark says:

    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.

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