Cell Phones

The story in the Kalona community is told of the young Old Order Amish woman who was talking to her bishop about the use of the cell phone.  The bishop was denouncing its usage, saying it was not in compliance with the rules of the church.  As the young lady was expressing her agreement with the bishop’s remarks, her purse rang.

Like most Americans, I have a cell phone.

Unlike most folks, mine is ancient.  It’s a 5-year-old Nokia.  No bells, no whistles.  The screen bears a hairline crack, the result of a long-ago tumble from a nightstand.  I use it for calls, and text messages.  That’s it.

Amish youth (and adults) with cell phones would laugh at its primitive nature.  Today’s phones are stunning in comparison.  Internet access, cameras, touch screens, applications.  I recently heard them described as containing hard drives similar to desktops of a few years back.  They’re basically pocket-sized computers.

My cell phone is a functional tool.  Its function level is low.  But I haven’t yet felt the need to update it. Maybe because of that, I use it only minimally.

I’ve never had a compelling need to check email while on the go.  There were times it would have been convenient, sure.  But email can usually wait til I get home.

Cell phones have tacitly entered Amish society.  But Amish concerns about the negative effects of easy phone access remain.  One wonders about its effects on non-Amish society.

What do you think–are cell phones essential?  Is it worth having an updated model, with all the bells and whistles?  And do cell phones improve life, or take away from it?

Kalona Amish story source: “The Kalona Amish: Retention and Defection Patterns of the 20th Century”, Erin Miller

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    1. Mark Biernat

      I am happily in the minority of people who have unplugged from cell phones.
      I am a man of the world, but cell phones are one of the biggest time eaters there are. When kids get a hold of them they are text messaging 100+ sms a day, and checking even more. It promotes bad behavior among teens and disquiets the mind.
      I am really surprised, and I have to say a little disappointed the Amish use cell phones.

    2. richard

      good morning folks…. welcome back erik, i think your back?. i myself dont really like talking on the phone, but thats just me but i do carry a cell phone really for emergencys. otherwise how will i be calling AAA, right. as far as the amish are concerned, if i were in a high position with the amish church i myself wouldnt have a issuse with cell phones. if your restricting things like these for the amish, then what are you protecting the amish from?. the amish use phones mostly to talk with family anyway. but at the end of the day i respect the way the amish do things, i just may not agree with some of of it………. richard from the amish community of lebanon,pa

    3. Carolyn Kirk

      Cell phones may be necessary for some people for their job, but most people don’t need one. It is an expensive toy that they have to make them feel important. I agree with Mark that they are time wasters. Cell phone use can also take away quality interaction with people face-to-face.

    4. Alice Aber

      I have a cell phone and use it as my primary phone. It is the number I publish with my business advertising. It is newer and does have a lot of “bells and whistles” on it,,,, most of which I have no clue how to use, LOL. It certainly is not the most expensive, biggest and baddest cell phone on the market today. I really don’t need all that stuff.

      I also prefer the cell phone because I live with and take care of a man who has a very serious heart condition. Less than 20% of his heart is functioning now. If I am out shopping, running errands or visiting with friends he has a way to call me if he needs me. So it gives me the freedom to get out and leave him home alone for a while.

      But I can honestly say, I don’t live for my cell phone and it does not control my life.

      I refuse to talk on the cell while in a grocery store, restaurant or driving in the car. I will look at it to see who is calling then shut the wringer off, except of course if it is Frank as it might be an emergency. Drives me nuts when you are in a restaurant and some rude person the next table over is talking in a high volume on a cell phone, LOL.


    5. richard

      i respect your view on this carolyn, the only thing is the amish pretty use phones anyway, am i right, so why not allow cell phone use on a limited basis with no text features, no internet, and limited mins……….. richard from lebanon,pa

    6. Carol

      My personal opinion is that the phones are very useful to have in case of an emergency. The one I carry (when I remember) is very basic and just for important messages. I do not pick up the cell when I am in the store just to chat with people…don’t talk in restaurants…even have trouble using up the minutes I have. I am appalled by the behavior of most young people who have access to the internet via their cells. Whatever happened to “real life?” They are missing so much while hunched over a phone playing games or trading inane comments with their peers. Where do we go from here? I noticed virtually no children were out playing with their Christmas toys like we used to, when we got sleds and skates and skis as gifts. Not so easy playing outdoors with an iPad or xBox. I know times change but this does not seem to be a healthy trend.

    7. richard

      i have a question, hi alice i see you made it on and good morning. the question is, how do i get a picture on here like you alice. i see a few with them on here?……….. rich

    8. Katie Troyer

      A few years ago one of my Amish sisters called on her cell phone and said they are on their way down to visit me on Pinecraft but she is going to keep her cell phone turned off, because she doesn’t want anybody to know she has one. I agreed with her that I won’t give her a call. But lo & behold the bius was delayed 3 hours and guess what? She turned on her cell phone and gave me a call.

      Seriously the cell phones are changing the Amish way of life and the leaders are having a loosing battle in trying to get rid of the thing.

    9. richard

      hey katie, are you in pinecraft now, if so we could have used your comments on sunday regarding pinecraft…….. richard

    10. Damon Hickey

      I’m not a Luddite or technophobe at all. We have computers, HDTV, cable, and an iPod Touch. But I’ve never liked cell phones. My wife and I each have one for emergencies, but that’s all we use the for. Mine stays in the car, turned off, most of the time, and I never make calls while driving. Our car is even equipped for hands-free cell service, but I asked the dealer not to activate it. There are 2 reasons I dislike cell phones. First, they’re a distraction: from driving, from conversations, from meals together, from concerts, from church services, from meetings, from classes, etc. I even went to hear a speaker who had to stop in the middle of her talk to take a call from her daughter! I’ve been at meals where all conversation had to stop while one person carried on a cell phone conversation with someone who wasn’t at our table. That brings me to my second reason for disliking cell phones. They transform shared public space into private spaces. I was in an airport when a woman was screaming into her cell phone in a language other than English. She was so violently angry, I almost asked a security guard to separate her from her phone before they hurt each other. Another time I came out of a restaurant to find a young woman sitting on the pavement crying her eyes out into her cell phone, with no apparent concern that people were walking by. I’ve asked people in libraries to take their conversations outside because they were disturbing everyone else. In all these cases, the reaction I’ve received from the caller was shock and anger that I would intrude on a “private” conversation. There’s no question that cell phone communication is “real” conversation, but to me, it’s a matter of priority. Except in emergencies, present company should take precedence over not-present company. Public space should not be violated. Driving trumps talking. When we had to go into a phone booth and close the door to make a call, we knew that implicitly. The cell phone has reversed our priorities and, to me at least, falsified reality.

    11. Alice Aber

      Good morning Richard!! Yes, I made it back on this morning and feeling much better after resting yesterday. How much snow did you get?

      As far as the picture, there is a web site you need to go to and add a picture which will post it to most blogs you chat on. Here is the web site: http://en.gravatar.com I hope I got that right, LOL. Erik if I didn’t please correct me!

      Blessings, Alice

    12. richard

      in the end, i see the amish not only allowing cell phones on a limited basis, i also see them buying phones with limited mins and letting church members buy these phones at no, or a low profit. thats my prediction in looking in to the future…………. now how do i get my mug on this site………… rich

    13. Alice Aber

      Amen Damon!! Cell phones need to be used responsibly. They do serve a good purpose, but need to be used in the right way. I have on more than one occasion, asked for a cell phone chatter to be removed from the restaurant. And in each case the manager was more than happy to oblige.

      I think my biggest pet peeve is standing on line in a busy grocery store while one person is holding everything up chatting on the phone and ignoring the cashier. Too busy talking to pay the bill and move out of the way. Am I bashful at telling these people they are just not that important? NO!! “Hey, pay your bill and get out of the way, the rest of us would like to check out today, thank you!”

    14. richard

      hey alice, i was just at the older post we were on the last few days, i see eriks back and i left a comment. we didnt get that much snow atleast on my side of penn, the western part of the state recieved alittle more, but overall we got very lucky. i can not say the same thing about new york state or new england states. the winds though are bad here right now, garbage seems to be everywhere, i had to run outside a few times just to look for my garbage can and a box. i found those down the street,lol. well id better take-off now, ill be back on later, so keep the conversation going alice, you did a great job while erik was away………. ill be back……. richard from the amish community of lebanon,pa

    15. Alice Aber

      I saw that Richard. Glad you did not get inundated with the white stuff. I heard from a friend of mine in Port Jervis they were expecting any where from 8 to 14 inches of snow, but have not heard how much they actually got yet.

      You did a great job keeping the conversation going to Richard!! It was fun and I really enjoyed chatting with you, even though no one else really got involved, LOL.

      Talk to you later Richard!

    16. Cheryl

      I have a rather “ancient” cell phone myself. It is about 4 years old and doesn’t have all the latest features. I believe having a cell phone is a luxury not an essential. In fact my family gets quite upset with me that I don’t carry it with me when I walk the dog or answer it every time it rings. People survived quite nicely going to the store and running errands without everyone being able to contact them every moment of the day. I don’t have a home phone or internet at home so by many I am primitive. I look at it this way; people survived quite nicely without instant communication for centuries and with (in my opinion) a better quality of life. It has it’s use but I don’t let it rule my life.

    17. Lloyd W.Gingrich

      Cell phones are like every thing else how you use them determines whether or not they are good or bad.

    18. Kate

      I am SO glad my future community does NOT allow cell phones. They do not line up with the Amish simple life and why, if they don’t allow computers, would they allow phones with that access? I just don’t understand why they couldn’t see those dangers that cell phones can pose. I don’t think the simple phone itself is a problem but the extra ‘bells and wistles’ are the problem. This is just my opinion and comes from a girl with a “boring” old cell phone with no bells or wistles 🙂

    19. Forest Hazel

      I attended a funeral (non-Plain) some weeks ago, and one of the things I will never forget is that five different cell phones went off during the service. I know very few people (none, actually) who are so important that they can’t turn their phones off during a funeral. I have seen folks with two or three phones, which I guess they must use to talk to themselves. They can be handy in emergencies, but 99% of the use they get is non-emergency use. Children should not, in my opinion, be allowed to use them, or take them to school. Using them while driving should be illegal.

      For What It’s Worth

      Forest in NC

    20. Alice Aber

      Hi Forest, I agree. At my Pastor’s funeral in November cell phones were going off. Also during church services every Sunday morning. It is irritating and disrespectful. I keep my cell on vibrate and do not answer it unless I am in a private situation where I won’t disturb someone else.

      I did one time have an emergency call while at church,,, but even so, before answering it I stepped out into the foyer. It was the man I take care of and he was having chest pains, so I quietly left. No one was disturbed in the process.

      Using a cell phone while driving is illegal in some states. I hope they all pass laws with stiff penalties for using a cell phone while driving.

      Kate, please don’t take this the wrong way because I am glad you are here,,,, but if the community you are joining does not allow computers, then why are you on one now? And why do you still have a cell phone? Just curious!

      Lloyd, you are correct, how you use it determines whether is is a good or bad thing. Not abused or misused and cell phone like any thing else can be a useful tool. Mine allows me the freedom to leave the house from time to time and still be reachable if Frank, the man I take care of needs help. It would be extremely difficult for me to get out and do grocery shopping and take care of other errands otherwise.

      Erik, this has turned out to be a very interesting topic. Thanks for getting it started!


    21. Rosalie

      I and my husband both have a cell phone. We hardly ever use our landline phone and have it just for internet connection and TV. I DO NOT TEXT and HATE when people text me. I NEVER USE A CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING. The only extra I have on phone is the camera and I like musical ring tones.

    22. Christina

      My husband is in the Navy and has been on 3 6-7 month deployments since we’ve been married. This last time, he actually bought a pre-paid cell phone in Panama and it came in quite handy for us to talk when he was in port. If he had limited time and couldn’t get ahold of me at home, he most likely could get me on my cell. I do get annoyed if I am talking with someone, and they stop me to answer their phone for someone local. If it is one of my Navy spouse friends getting a call from her hubby, that is different. We all covet the time we get to talk with out husbands during deployments since they might only have a short window of time to call.


    23. Mona Greer

      This is an interesting topic….but I do not see anything wrong with the Amish having just a simple cell ph. for emergencies….Just like I do not see why they can’t have a car….would make their life so much easier and travels safer, I think……It must be freezing riding in those buggies in the winter…..having a car with a heater…..what is wrong with that ?????
      Just like having electric……how much easier their life would be….especially for the women, who do all the laundry…….how do they iron with no electricity????? I think it’s time the Amish got together with their head of their church and discussed this…..making your life easier should not be a sin…. Mona

    24. Leo

      I have had a basic prepaid cell phone for aboutt a year. It’s my first; I received it as an unwanted gift and I was pressured into activating it. I have taken it with me when traveling out of state, and I do appreciate having it to call 911 or AAA, although I have never had to use it for an emergency. I have made a few long distance calls on it while out of town and there was no access to long distance where I was staying. My phone has the capacity to take photos and text message, however, I have chosen to not even learn how to use these functions. My ringtone sounds like an old-fashioned mechanical phone ring like I remember from childhood. I do not usually carry this phone with me and I would NEVER use it while driving.

    25. Lance

      In the Northern Indiana Amish area, there is a weekly paper called the People’s Exchange. One ad sells cell phones without cameras, internet, texting, etc. for just $9.95 per month. Pretty nice deal, huh?

    26. linda saul

      I totally agree with Carol. I had a cell phone got it as a gift a few years ago. Used it for a short time now don’t have one. I just feel they are way too expensive and we have survive for years without one. I do agree they are good to have for emergency, but that does not mean you have to talk while you are in a store shoping, that is just disrespecful.. As far as young children are concerned, get rid of all this texing. Make them only that they can phone out for emergency. If anyone needs one it is the women who are out driving alone and the young people out walking. But again for EMERGENCY ONLY.

    27. Alice Aber

      Hi Mona,,,, I don’t believe the Amish think making your life easier is a sin. The problem is with the object that makes your life easier if it becomes more important in one’s life than God.

      For example,, let’s take TV. If a person has a TV and winds up watching the TV before daily devotionals, prayer, church etc. Watching the TV becomes a sin,,, not the TV itself. The bible tells us that God is to come before anything and anyone. The Amish, I believe take this very seriously and literally. I can understand why. It is way too easy to let material objects control our lives and what we do.

    28. Lance


      Use or disuse of technology by Amish is a paradox. There are Amish with electricity, computers and broadband internet in their businesses, yes they are New Order. While at the same time, there are Amish that think all those things are the beast, anti-christ or even Satan himself. You will find, daily, Amish using library internet computers to check their email accounts and surf the web all across the northern Indiana area. I doubt the same could be said where there are only Swartzentruber Amish, although I know of one Swartzentruber Amish man that regularly has his english neighbor send email for him for business purposes. There are no simple sweeping rules for Amish technology usage. I have found it is hard for people from large monolithic denominations to understand Amish diversity of practice. Each Amish church district is complete free from all others. There is no central Amish committee or synod to keep everyone the same.

    29. Alice Aber

      Yes Lance,, I realize that,,, I was speaking in general terms and about the basics of why some technologies are not allowed by some Amish. And that it was “not considered a sin, to make life easier.” That in response to Mona’s post. There is a difference in thinking Amish in general are not to use certain technologies and thinking they believe it is a sin to make life easier.

    30. Lance

      I was addressing the comment to Kate, who is not yet a church member and therefore not under the church’s rules against cell phone or computers. Since Kate still lives english, with her parents, she is still requires to honor them, even the Amish would want to see such obedience. It will be interesting to see if her Amish church will allow her to continue to keep posting to her blog, stop and leave it alone, or force her to delete it.

    31. richard

      greetings folks im back….. man is it cold outside. looks like we all are turning on each other regarding this cell phone topic,lol. im kidding folks, lets talk maybe about hot choc instead, how can anyone have a problem with hot choc, right,lol. how are you holding -up alice, i think somebody needs a nice hot cup of hot choc, im just saying. i will sum-up my comment on cell phones, as long as you using it does not effect me in a neg way, i say go for it regardless if your amish or not. so thats my bottom line on that subject. winds are said to be up to 60 mph over my way alice, some amish buggys seem to be rocking side to side from the wind, its pretty bad. but no snow, so it could be alot worse maybe………. richard from penn

    32. Alice Aber

      Ah, Lance,,, I am sorry, I thought you were referring to my reply to Mona. As to Kate, I realize she is not living under the ordnung at this time. Was just curious why she did not go ahead and start practicing what she intends to live is all. After all she did state they do not allow those things in the community she is going to join. What she does is certainly her decision,,, I was just curious that’s all. No harm meant.

      Welcome back Richard!! I don’t think anyone is turning on anyone,,, Just a lot of curious thoughts and conversations,,, its all good.

      Richard I would love a nice cup of hot chocolate, especially if you are fixing it. 😉 LOL I heard those winds were getting pretty wicked out your way. Stay in, warm, safe and sound, i’d hate to hear you got blown away to NY or some place, LOL.

      Did you figure out how to use the gravatar program yet or have you had time to check it out? If you need some help you can email me at ceramics_lady@mchsi.com

      Blessings, Alice

    33. Daniel Endy

      Personal opinion, cell phones definitely detract folks from engaging in “real life.” The story is cute though.

    34. richard

      thanks alice i have that site, i just need to finish the reg, but ill get it done. when i lived in fla, we were used to high winds but this wind has a chilling cold mixed-in, so i will need to get re-used to it all over again. is re-used a word, who cares its my post and i like that word,lol. im seeing alice on tv our old home state of new york got blasted with snow and wind, how we dodged that bullet here ill never know. i look foward to tues topic, i only hope its not about politics,lol. im not even sure a cup of hot choc would help calm things for that one….lol. good night folks and everyone have a great night wherever you may be,,,,,,, night alice…………. richard from penn

    35. Alice Aber

      Hahahahaa, Richard you are so cute! Yeah the wind is definitely colder in the north this time of year.

      Hope you have a good night too. I need to get the animals fed and the dog for a walk.

      I have heard Port Jervis, Middletown and surrounding areas have been hit hard. Glad we only got the 7 inches here, LOL.

      Good night my dear friend and everyone!

    36. Lance

      I call cell phones “Life interruption devices”

    37. Alice Aber

      Hahahaaa Lance, good name for them. They certainly can be that!

    38. Kate

      Hi Alice,
      I don’t mind your question 🙂 I have a cell phone for the exact reason Lance said. My parents said I have to have it for emergencies and I want to obey them, therfore I have a cell phone. As for the computer that is a long complicated response because of my convictions. I use my blog as a witness for Christ. I have gotten SO many emails saying how I have encouraged others through my story etc. I also use email and read a few other blogs. Since I am old enough and have grown in my convictions I realize that those few things I use the computer for are NOT becoming an ‘idol’ to me. I use them to stay in touch with people and to be encourage/give encouragement. Now, someday when I have children I will not want them to be on a computer. Why? The horrible ads on the side or bad websites you can so easily get to. So why do I use it? I guess the simple answer is because I feel I am mature enough to stay away from those things and use it only for communication. Please tell me if I’m not making any sense 🙂 I’m trying to explain but it’s hard haha.

      Lance, Once I am able to live Amish after I graduate I will not use the computer anymore. While I could use it for those reasons I mentioned above I will respect the Amish rules and stay away from it. I will not be blogging anymore and I highly doubt the church would make me go and delete it? That just doesn’t make much sense to me.

      This was a good topic! Sorry it took so long for a response Alice I was gone all day.

      God bless,

    39. Jory

      Hello all. Hope everyone had a blessed Christmas. Haven’t been on the Amish sites for a few weeks so it is good to be back. Katie T. I am going to really miss your web site. I hope you are able to get your site going again. . . Your photography is beautiful and I so enjoy reading your postings. PLEASE don’t go away, good byes are too sad.

      As to the topics this evening. . .I view cell phones as a great safey feature IF they would work in all areas. I have one with phone cards, purchased a few yrs. ago, and have not had it out of it’s package yet. On the other hand cell phones have increased the incidence of brain tumors. Some Amish believe conversing on the phone may lead to idleness, gossip, and threaten face to face communication amongst community members. As to TV, I believe I understand why Amish don’t want them – they take time away from family togetherness, could increase curiosity about the secular world they prefer to stay separate from, can complicate the simple life, increase wants, and have lots of immoral programs, as well as many other negatives. Some Amish believe cars
      increase the pace of life and threaten family cohesiveness. They increase the
      cost of living and require insurance. Supposedly, the rules the members choose to live by benefit and protect the community way of life as a whole. It has been said that the Amish are the happiest Americans. However, physically there are some concentrated genetic health problems. To reduce this hazard there is a need for openly inviting non Amish Christians into the fold.
      Blessings to all,

    40. Stephen B.

      I wonder how many folks here that say they don’t have a cell phone have a land line phone instead?

      The reason I ask is that I eliminated the land line phone and by doing so, the cell phone bill replaces the bill for the traditional phone, making it no more expensive. I get the portability of a cell for emergencies and other trouble times, people can reach me that really need to reach me with the simplicity of only one phone number.

      I should say that my phone is a simple one, four years old and that I only make and receive perhaps 10 calls a month total.

      A single cell phone replacing a traditional phone can be a simple, cheap, solution.

    41. Bob Rosier

      The Amish all have limits set by the Bishop, and this has worked all these many years. Perhaps the answer is a simple cell phone, limited minutes, and no Internet access. I would rather not see the cell phones intrude into the Amish community, but perhaps in a limted way.

      I am Quaker, but my Amish friends have always been a true inspiration to me. In comparison to our fast-paced society, the simpler, family-centered Amish way of life holds a special fascination. The Amish and their simple peaceful lifestyle is an inspiration, and they set a wonderful example for the rest of the world.

      I don’t want this to change.

    42. Alice Aber

      Kate, thanks for your reply, and please don’t worry about it taking a while, we all have things that keep us busy.

      As for your explaination, it made perfect sense.

      I wish you well in your journey.

      Blessings, Alice

    43. Matthew

      I can’t get cell phone access where I live down in the hinter lands (we’re happy just to have a regular phone line when it works!), but I regularly see the Amish men at Walmart buying cell phones and blackberry type devices, along with disposable diapers and other conveniences. This particular community seems to have changed a lot in the past decade. Its not all that uncommon to see some of the younger woman wearing sweatpants under their dresses now when working outside (which hems seem to keep going up as well).

    44. The timing for this post turned out to be pretty good.

      I was in a train traveling home today, and the lady next to me was talking off an on for the better part of an hour, in a voice just two notches down from a shout. She kept receiving and making calls. The guy trying to work on his laptop across from me kept shooting her dirty looks, but she kept on oblivious to the 5 other people in the compartment. Not to mention the poor girl next to me trying to take a nap!

      One of the biggest drawbacks of cell phones are situations like this–when people ignore etiquette and common courtesy. She could have excused herself and stepped into the corridor, or saved it for later. I find this sort of thing pretty common. Unfortunately.

      I remember reading sth about cell phone capability becoming available on airplanes. There was a lot of kickback I recall. The deck of an airplane is one of the last few cell phone-free places. A lot of people want to keep it that way, it seems.

    45. Bob Rosier

      Erik made some excellent points and the things he mentioned happen much too often. People should realize that everyone around them do not want to become a captive audience.

      If they become available on airlines, that will be another good reason not to fly.

    46. richard

      greetings folks on another very windy day in penn. was just reading the comments on here and enjoying a cup of coffee…… richard from lebanon,pa

    47. Cell phone social stigma like smoking?

      Bob, agreed, I can only imagine with the ratio of businesspeople who fly, how many phones would be going off all flight long.

      I just had a chance to read through all the comments, I do see Damon and Forest and Alice already have hit the point that I was making with my lady-in-the-train story today. Looks like it is a pretty common experience.

      It’s also interesting to read how some of you have asked people to take the conversation outside or keep it down. I wonder if speaking on a cell phone around others will ever carry the stigma that say smoking does.

    48. Diane Paulson

      Someone may already have commented on this. I haven’t read all the comments, but I’ve always wondered how the Amish can use them, as the phones connect them with the world in a very personal way. Certainly this gizmo does not go along with the scripture they use, “come out from among them and be ye separate.” I’ve heard that cell phones can be traced anywhere. Do the bishops know this? If I knew them, I would certainly inform them of such. I don’t have one and live in the middle of Silicon Valley. I know people who think I’m dumb and others who admire my lack. Then I have relatives who are pushing me as they want to have quick access to my schedule, as they are controlling. I tell people that I don’t want a “leash,” and that when I’m gone I like to be “gone.”

    49. Cell phone intrusive

      And Damon I am not really a technophobe either. The cell phone just seems much more intrusive and offensive to ‘real’ living (like your examples show). Experiences like the one I had today remind me of that.

      And don’t get me started on some of the ringtones I hear. People like to be noticed, me thinks:)

      And Lance that People’s Exchange phone sounds almost like the one I carry! But yes, good name. Let’s shorten it to “LIDs”. Remember to switch off your LIDs, folks.

      But before I sound too gloomy on cell phones, I do think they have value, and like Lloyd Gingerich succinctly pointed out, it is like anything, depends how you use it. They can take over your life if you let them, like some of you said here.

      I am all for having one for emergency usage, though. I wonder how many times this little piece of tech has saved a life. Also, as Christina’s example shows, it may be the only connection to loved ones. Christina I have a lot of respect for people like your husband, bless you both.

    50. Matt

      I have to admit it. I love my cell phone in all its internet-connected, SMSing, MMSing, glory. I know some of you may shudder at that, but I can’t deny it, to myself or the world. It is a gadget I could only have wished for (and did) as a child. I love feeling its hefty weight in my pocket. I am amazed every time I use it that even 10 percent of what it can do is even possible! No, I am not one of those people you glare at standing in line at Wal-Mart. I want my conversations as private as everyone else does! I don’t use it while driving either.

      Erik, I doubt if using a cell phone will ever be regarded as a bad thing. In fact, a doctor at the hospital I work for said that he thinks we older folks will have to change our ways of interacting with youth. While I still consider it rude for my son to text on his phone while I am talking to him, the doctor said that we will have to come to expect that, sooner rather than later. He believes that it is a culture shift–the youth of today can, and do, text and talk at the same time without any problems, and that texting while talking to someone is not a sign of disrespect; it is just life as usual for a teen. I have seen tables full of teens at restaurants, talking, laughing, interacting, and still checking their cell phones for text messages every 10 seconds.

      Cell phone use by the Amish, however, will threaten their entire existence. Easy connections to the world will undermine everything they believe in and I think can be the slippery slope to the end of their way of life. I can’t begin to conceive how a people who grudgingly accepted having a telephone at the end of the lane can successfully leapfrog to having it in their pocket. I have lived near Lancaster County all my life, read a lot about the Amish, and met them at times. I respect them for their beliefs and way of life (even when stuck behind a buggy for 5 minutes trying to pass them in my rush to be somewhere!) and on a quiet sunny spring day in southern Lancaster County I even feel a bit envious when all I can hear is the clip-clop of hooves of a horse and buggy half a mile away. But I don’t think they can survive the introduction of cell phones and remain what they want to be.