Apostle Fan Protocol: Is there one?
by Nick Galieti
Rock stars, pop stars, and even some sports figures garner attention from their fans in a very perplexing fashion. Some fans hang a poster in their room, or wear a t-shirt declaring their allegiance or support for the particular band or artist; others faint or cry in some irrational form of adulation upon the mere sight of their favorite star.
In the LDS faith, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and The First Presidency are sometimes seen and treated by members as rock stars. In a recent visit from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve to my ward in West Valley City, Utah, some members of the ward treated this Elder with what appeared to be reverence for his calling, while others seemed to dote on him, relating stories of how they saw him speak once and it was “so amazing,” how he is their favorite Apostle, or offering unsolicited information about how they met once, or know someone related to him. In some ways he was mobbed and treated far differently than other members.
I’ve reflected on this and I am left wondering what is the appropriate protocol, if there is one, of how to approach someone who is a special witness of our Savior Jesus Christ, in a way that recognizes his noteworthy office and position, while understanding that these are just men? These are men who make mistakes, men who want the focus to be on the message, not the messenger.
- Is asking for an autograph appropriate; if so, where?
- Do we take pictures with them? If so, where?
- Do we offer compliments on a particular General Conference talk or is that simply inappropriate adulation?
- Are questions appropriate or are we to simply shake hands, and help them feel welcome, in the same way that we would any other member, or non-member, of the church?