Row erupts over Mormon beefcake calendars
CALENDARS featuring hunky topless Mormons are the centre of an escalating battle between the Church of Latter Day Saints, and a former devotee, Chad Hardy.
Hardy, 32, first clashed with the Church when he published his Men on a Mission calendar in late 2007. This led to his excommunication – but he refused to buckle to censorship, and followed up the controversial calendar with a 2008 version.
The Church hit back by revoking Hardy’s BA degree in Communications Studies at the Mormon-owned Brigham Young University – and has enmeshed him in a legal battle aimed at stopping the calendar project in its tracks.
But Hardy, according to this report, is fighting back. Given the Mormons “heavy involvement in the politically charged agenda targeted at discriminating gays and dividing families in California,” he believes a robust response was timely, and he has launched a fighting fund via his website to raise money for a legal defence of his project.
Having come from a sixth-generation Mormon family, lived in Utah for eight years, and served a two-year religious mission himself, Hardy has an in-depth understanding of the LDS church and its devotees.
Hardy’s first calendar, which has a shirtless Mormon for each month, was applauded by liberal-minded churchgoers when it was released in 2007. But as time passed and the Mormon Church faced unflattering publicity over a raid on a polygamous breakaway sect in Texas and its support for a gay marriage ban in California, others complained that the calendar was damaging the image of the faith.
One of the kinder Internet posts about Hardy calls him:
An attention whore who can contribute to bad LDS stereotypes and raise public disdain of church members.
He plans to release the third Men on a Mission calendar online this month, much earlier than usual, to help pay his legal bills.