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(UNDATED) The former Mormon who was excommunicated for publishing a calendar of half-naked Mormon missionaries said Friday (March 6) he will sue a church-owned university for denying him a degree — and plans to publish two risque new calendars.
Chad Hardy, a former missionary and sixth-generation member of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he will announce details of the lawsuit against Brigham Young University next week.
“It’s completely on principle,” Hardy said. “I don’t need (the diploma), I deserve it. This is a campaign against intolerance.”
Officials at BYU, which is owned by the Mormon church, yanked Hardy’s degree last year, after he published the “Men on a Mission” calendar and was booted from the church. The calendar features half-dressed Mormon missionaries in seductive poses.
After reviewing the situation, BYU Dean of Students Vernon Heperi said in a Feb. 27 letter that Hardy cannot be granted a diploma because he has been excommunicated and violated the school’s honor code.
“I concluded that you have not demonstrated conduct and personal behavior in harmony with the principles and values reflected in the Honor code, including, among others, the principles of living a chaste and virtuous life, respect for others, and participating regularly in Church services,” Heperi wrote.
Heperi called Hardy’s calendars “offensive and disrespectful” because they portray “returned missionaries, who were ordained ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in an inappropriate context.”
The Salt Lake City-based church routinely declines to comment on Hardy’s calendar because it is neither sponsored nor approved by the church.
Hardy said in an interview Friday that he has no plans to stop making the calendars. In fact, he is planning to publish one calendar featuring a shirtless male missionary recreating a famous painting of the angel Moroni, and another depicting Mormon moms.
The calendar is called “Hot Mormon Muffins: A Taste of Motherhood.”
Hardy said he began making the calendars to encourage a discussion about Mormonism and to raise money for charity, but is now on a “campaign against intolerance.”
“I’m sure it will push some buttons,” Hardy said, of the upcoming calendar featuring the Moroni pose. “The church is giving me so many reasons to really be creative.”
By Daniel Burke c. 2009 Religion News Service
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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