SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Brigham Young University has yanked the diploma of a man who created a calendar featuring shirtless Mormon missionaries and was later excommunicated from the church.
Chad Hardy of Las Vegas attended graduation ceremonies Aug. 15 after finishing up his last four units of study online in June. But on July 13, in between completing his studies and the graduation ceremony, he was excommunicated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A Sept. 30 letter from Norman B. Finlinson, the school’s executive director of student academic and advisement services, said a nonacademic hold was placed on Hardy’s record after the church-owned university learned of the excommunication.
“If in the future you are reinstated as a member of the church in good standing, you are invited to contact my office regarding your possible eligibility for the awarding of a degree,” Finlinson wrote.
Hardy, 31, plans to challenge the school’s decision.
“I intend to fight this tooth-and-nail,” he said.
Hardy’s excommunication for conduct unbecomiong a church member was rooted in his failure to pay tithing, a lapse in other religious obligations and, according to Las Vegas regional church elder Frank E. Davie, his involvement with the 2008 “Men on a Mission” calendar.
PROVO — Selling a calendar of shirtless returned missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first cost Chad Hardy his membership in the church.
Now it’s cost him his Brigham Young University degree.
Hardy walked in BYU commencement ceremonies in August, but a BYU administrator informed him in a letter dated Sept. 30 that he had been deleted from the August graduation list and would not be awarded his degree in broadcasting.
BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins confirmed BYU has not granted Hardy a diploma.
“When a student applies for graduation, he or she must be in good standing with the university,” Jenkins said.
The BYU letter said Hardy’s degree is on hold because he was not in good honor code standing because of his excommunication. The LDS Church owns and operates BYU.
And a related story:
A dozen Mormon missionaries are again taking off their trademark white shirts for a calendar that seeks to strip away stereotypes about their church.
The 2009 version of the Men on A Mission calendar was released Thursday – two months after its creator was excommunicated by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for producing this year’s calendar.
“I know they did what they thought was right,” Chad Hardy said.
The calendar was intended to shake up the straight-laced, cookie-cutter Mormon stereotype that doesn’t fit many in the church.
“People like me are bound to stereotypes that don’t fit,” Hardy said. “I think we can all have the same faith and still have different outlooks.”
At least one model from the 2008 edition was asked to explain his involvement, but no church disciplinary action was taken.
Calendar model Cody Bloomfield, who graces the 2009 cover, said he’s not worried about disciplinary action. He said shining a light on the church’s younger members is good.
Hardy sold nearly 11,000 copies of the 2008 edition at $14.99 each. News reports of his excommunication have helped secure a larger U.S. distribution and international contracts for 2009.
It’s also helped draw a flood of would-be missionary models for 2010, when the plans feature a second calendar featuring female church members under the title “Hot Mormons Muffins: A taste of motherhood.”
The 2009 calendar includes a disclaimer that it is not associated with or endorsed by the Salt Lake City-based church.