Monday, July 14, 2008

Beefcake Update

Last October, I reported on a new calendar featuring Mormon men in various states of dishabille.

Called "Men on a Mission," it was designed to introduce people to the Mormon faith in a rather unconventional manner.

Now it turns out that the creator and marketer of the calendar, Chad Hardy, has been excommunicated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon church, that is).

According to the Daily Telegraph in London:

The creator of a calendar featuring pictures of bare-chested Mormon missionaries has been excommunicated after a disciplinary meeting with local church leaders in Las Vegas.

Chad Hardy, 31, said he accepted the decision and had "no ill feelings" towards the council of elders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I felt like I spoke my truth," the Las Vegas-based life-long Mormon said. "Bottom line, they still felt the calendar is inappropriate and not the image that the church wants to have."

....Frank E Davie, leader of a group of Mormon congregations in the Las Vegas area, confirmed the 12-member council's decision but would not comment further.

Once excommunicated, a person can still attend services but is removed from official church rolls, prohibited from receiving the sacrament, entering church temples and performing church callings such as teaching or preaching during meetings.
An earlier report in the Las Vegas Sun noted the reasons Hardy was facing discipline from his church:
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."
The Sun's article suggests that Hardy achieved the sort of dialogue he was seeking to unfurl:
Blog entries on the social networking sites MySpace and Facebook show a range of reactions to Hardy's work. Some find it offensive and say it degrades the church by displaying missionaries as sex symbols, and that it contradicts church teachings about modest dress for all members.

Others praise the effort for rattling perceptions that Mormons are "stuffy." Some who identified themselves as younger Mormons said the calendar might make it easier for their non-Mormon friends to consider exploring the faith.

"It has created an interfaith dialogue," Hardy said. "People of all faiths have logged on and shared what they believe. They're talking about what's really important, not how bad it is that you took your shirt off."
Despite the excommunication, the 2009 "Men on a Mission" calendar has already been sent to the printers and will be ready for stuffing stockings this Christmas.

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