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 20, 2013 at 1:08 am

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

  • October 20, 2013 at 1:12 am

    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.

    • October 20, 2013 at 1:23 am

      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

  • October 20, 2013 at 2:28 am

    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.

  • October 20, 2013 at 4:08 am

    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

  • October 20, 2013 at 6:08 am

    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!!!

  • October 20, 2013 at 7:07 am

    “As worldly conditions get worse”.

    What do you mean by that?

  • October 20, 2013 at 9:38 am

    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.

  • October 20, 2013 at 11:56 am

    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.

  • October 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    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.

  • October 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    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.

  • October 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm

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

  • October 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm


  • October 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    That was in response to Amelia’s first comment

  • October 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    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 ?

  • October 20, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    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.

  • October 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    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….

  • October 21, 2013 at 3:06 am

    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.

  • October 21, 2013 at 5:12 am

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

  • October 21, 2013 at 5:46 am

    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 –

  • October 21, 2013 at 5:59 am

    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!


    • October 21, 2013 at 6:14 am

      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.


  • October 21, 2013 at 6:27 am

    aaaahhahahahaha this is Thriller, aaahahahaha!!!!

  • October 21, 2013 at 6:30 am

    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!

  • October 21, 2013 at 6:42 am

    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,


  • October 21, 2013 at 6:43 am

    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,


  • October 21, 2013 at 9:08 am

    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!

  • October 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    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.

  • October 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    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.

  • October 22, 2013 at 8:31 am

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

  • October 22, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    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!

  • October 23, 2013 at 6:34 am


    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? 

  • October 23, 2013 at 6:52 am


    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

  • October 23, 2013 at 8:33 am

    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.

  • October 23, 2013 at 9:07 am

    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.

  • October 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

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

  • October 24, 2013 at 9:44 am

    New light :))))))

  • October 24, 2013 at 10:02 am

    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


  • October 24, 2013 at 10:06 am

    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.


  • October 25, 2013 at 2:23 am

    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.

  • October 25, 2013 at 11:42 am

    “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.

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