Saturday, July 12, 2008

X'ed for Missionary Calendar?

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- A Las Vegas man who devised a calendar that features shirtless Mormon missionaries is facing a disciplinary hearing and possible excommunication because of the project.

The "Men on a Mission" calendar featuring shirtless Mormon missionaries.

The "Men on a Mission" calendar featuring shirtless Mormon missionaries.

A lifetime member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Chad Hardy was summoned by letter to a Sunday meeting with a council of elders to discuss his "conduct unbecoming a member of the church."


A takeoff on calendars of firefighters and returned U.S. servicemen, Hardy's project debuted with a 2008 calendar featuring 12 returned church missionaries in mostly modest poses, minus their trademark white shirts, ties and black plastic name badges. It has sold nearly 10,000 copies.

"You see more in a JCPenney catalog," said Hardy, 31, who once worked for Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller and now has his own entertainment company. ..

The calendar was designed to shake up Mormon stereotypes, Hardy said. The pages include photos of the men dressed in standard missionary garb. In biographical sketches each missionary talks about his beliefs.

Davie on Friday confirmed sending the letter and the plans for the meeting. He said the calendar was the primary concern.

A returned missionary himself, Hardy acknowledged he has not been an active member of the church since 2002. He said he's never been contacted by anyone from the church encouraging his return to the fold and he suspects the current inquiry was driven by the church's Salt Lake City headquarters.

"I'm still a good Mormon boy in many ways," said Hardy, who says he bears no animosity toward Latter-day Saints, but never felt he fit in. "I still want to hold onto my heritage."

Some of the missionaries in the calendar, many of whom were recruited by Hardy's friends at church events, have been asked by their church leaders about the project, but none has faced disciplinary action, Hardy said.

"The biggest concern was, whether this was an attack on the church, and when they determined it wasn't, it was no big deal," said model Jonathan Martin, a 25-year-old Utah Valley University student who was contacted by a church elder in May.

Martin said he was told the inquiry was being made after a letter was sent to his church leader by higher-ups in Salt Lake City.

Church spokeswoman Kim Farah declined to comment on Hardy's specific situation, but said that "any church discipline is the result of actions not beliefs."

"Because the fundamental purpose of church discipline has always been to help members, rather than simply punish, disciplinary councils are considered a necessary step in repentance on the way back to full harmony and fellowship in the church," she said.

Members have been excommunicated for reasons including criminal activity and scholarly works of history or theology that contradicted church claims.

The 2009 calendar -- which drew 100 inquiries from interested missionaries -- will be released in September.

Read the entire article here.


ClairB said...

He was Xed, FYI.

ClairB said...

BTW, the maker of the missionary calendar - Chad Hardy was excommunicated. Here is what he has to say about his excommunication:

I know everyone is speculating about my excommunication, and thinking there must be more to the story that I am not telling. Well I am the only one who can ever openly say what went on in the court that day, but I will say this, and say it by swearing on the Bible and everything that is good and holy on this planet: There was NO talk of ANY form of personal transgression AT ALL during my disciplinary council. The "other" charges that Frank Davie casually broke confidence and slyly shared with the Associated Press to create this assumption was simply that I do not honor my priesthood (by not attending church meetings) and do not honor my temple covenants (by choosing to remove the sacred garment.) The entire meeting was about the calendar, and after I spoke, all the questions that were asked by the council ALL had to do with the calendar. Just for the record, my reasons for leaving the church had nothing to do with transgression.

Continue reading the rest of the story here: