How do you feel about Mormon Pop Stars? Have you ever been to a church meeting to find one ‘making the circuit’? I’ve been to many a church sanctioned meeting to find a Mormon Pop Star sharing his or her wisdom and awesomeness from the pulpit. I’ve been told by these beacons of talent that attending angels have guided them in their work, but I could not expect the same kind of help unless my mission paralleled in importance to theirs. I’ve been told that as soon as the closing prayer is concluded, I am welcome to come to the front for an autograph. I’ve been told that the great gifts that the speaker holds are rare and priceless gems that only a select few are chosen to hold.
In a stake we used to live in, it became such a problem that the Stake Presidency prohibited anyone from outside the Stake to address us without express permission from him.
I think what surprises me the most about this is how many people still swoon. Cuz’ I’ve got to be honest, I have a serious problem with fame. I do not respect it. I know I’ve got to overcome my own tendency to judge a person harshly because of their cultural popularity. But I have seen fame come to people I know, and I’ve seen how it came sometimes so randomly, I’ve seen how they have reacted, I’ve seen how it has changed them, and I want no part of it.
There is particular peril in Mormon fame, I think, largely because it seems to somehow portend a degree of ‘righteousness’. If you have a particularly ‘fame-inducing’ talent, the assumption is that great pearls of righteous wisdom seem to magically appear.
Maybe it’s just my inner populist? Maybe it’s some unspoken jealously? It feels wrong. Using the church for personal advancement, and to elevate one person above another feels wrong. Now, at Education Week or Women’s Conference, I think there is room for more latitude. If I want to learn how to be a better writer, a great person to learn from would be a successful writer. If I want to attend a class about musical composition, a successful composer might come in handy. But please don’t step into a sacred place of worship to peddle your wares.