The question is really two fold. Are we creating Mormon celebrities? And, if we are, is that good, or bad?

I think we are creating Mormon celebrities and I think it is bad.

I have nothing against Time Out For Women or Especially For Youth or other things like that. However, when I see people like John Bytheway flanked by colorful banners and people lined up to get his autograph, it just doesn't sit right with me.

I'm using John Bytheway as an example because I actually think highly of him. He has a way of extracting lessons from scripture that make them relevant, interesting and insightful. He seems to have a gift for it.

Of more concern, is the people and entities promoting him in the way they are. We shouldn't be peddling religious ideas like we peddle soap. It's just not right.

Shouldn't we be celebrating the ideas, the action taken or the unique insights we obtain rather than the person? Heavenly Father can use many conduits to speak truth, but they are still conduits.

With much of my academic training in management, all these events and all these speakers remind me of management seminars or motivational seminars. It is a lot of rah rah and not a lot of substance. Everything is packaged well and people feel good, but not much else actually gets accomplished. The following story from President Uchtdorf is instructive:
When I was called as a General Authority, I was blessed to be tutored by many of the senior Brethren in the Church. One day I had the opportunity to drive President James E. Faust to a stake conference. During the hours we spent in the car, President Faust took the time to teach me some important principles about my assignment. He explained also how gracious the members of the Church are, especially to General Authorities. He said, “They will treat you very kindly. They will say nice things about you.” He laughed a little and then said, “Dieter, be thankful for this. But don’t you ever inhale it.”
That is a good lesson for us all, brethren, in any calling or life situation. We can be grateful for our health, wealth, possessions, or positions, but when we begin to inhale it—when we become obsessed with our status; when we focus on our own importance, power, or reputation; when we dwell upon our public image and believe our own press clippings—that’s when the trouble begins; that’s when pride begins to corrupt.
Apparently, Elder Faust was reviewing something he was taught by Elder Hugh B. Brown:

Thank you, President Price, for those kind remarks. President Hugh B. Brown once told me, “It’s all right to hear these nice things about you, as long as you don’t inhale.” 
There is danger for us if we are involved with promoting religious ideas and people this way.

There is danger for us if we are the ones being promoted in this way.

There is danger for us if we are buying religious ideas being promoted in this way.

There is absolutely zero scriptural support for these types of efforts and a great deal of instruction opposing it. Jesus Christ did most of his good deeds and miracles in a quiet, unobtrusive way. He castigated his apostles for trying to figure out who among them was the most important. Righteous leaders always gave credit to God, trying to deflect attention away from themselves.

Truly righteous people do not try to attract attention to themselves personally. It just doesn't happen. Having entities like Deseret Book and BYU involved doesn't legitimize what is inherently wrong.

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