I am feeling sick after reading the question box - it's so cold and unfeeling toward those who use the telephone to listen to congregation meetings.
The WTS desire to control their weakest members - the infirm and chronically ill - by guilting them into "putting forth the effort to be personally present " at the kingdom hall is disgusting.
They are heartless bastards...
Why is there a need for good judgement in connection with the use of a telephone hook-up for congregation meetings?
Many congregations have made it possible for individuals who at times are unable to attend congregation meetings at the kingdom hall because of illness or some other unavoidable circumstance to listen to the meeting at home by means of a telephone hook-up. Ensuring that this loving provision is used by those who are truly in need requires good judgement and careful organization. Hence, the elders overseeing such an arrangement would want to organize and monitor its use so that "all things take place decently and by arrangement." 1 Cor. 14:40.
Elders will see to it that priority is given to publishers in their congregation with chronic illness or infirmity or who are otherwise shut-in. A publisher temporarily ill or incapacitated, or a progressive Bible student who may be shut-in, might likewise benefit from this provision and be included in the attendance count. Where there are not enough telephone lines to accommodate those with a legitimate need, perhaps other arrangements, such as providing them with a recording of the meeting, can be made.
Of course, nothing can compare to the benefits derived from being personally present at our meetings. Our direct association with our brothers results in "an interchange of encouragement" and helps new ones better appreciate the need to attend. When we are present at our meetings, we absorb far more from demonstrations, the elders are able to give us personal assistance, and we experience firsthand the warm love of the brotherhood. True indeed are the sentiments of one elderly sister who, after receiving a hug as she was exiting the kingdom hall exclaimed: "You can't get this over the phone line!" - Rom. 1:11,12
Like Anna "who was never missing from the temple", today, many of our older ones are regularly on hand at Christian meetings as their health and circumstances allow. (Luke 2:36,37) While using the telephone hook-up when necessary, they do not view it as a convenient alternative to attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall. In imitation of their fine example, may we continue to delight in putting forth the effort to be personally present at our meetings as we worship our great God, Jehovah. - Ps. 95:1-3, 6; 122:1.