SALT LAKE CITY — The creator of a 2008 calendar that featured shirtless Mormon missionaries was excommunicated Sunday after a disciplinary meeting with local church leaders in Las Vegas.
Chad Hardy says he bears no ill will toward the council of elders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He says an official letter severing his ties with the 13 million-member Salt Lake City-based church should arrive in about two weeks.
Sunday’s meeting lasted about two hours and the 12-member council deliberated about 45 minutes before making its decision.
“I felt like I spoke my truth,” the 31-year-old entertainment entrepreneur said. “Bottom-line, they still felt the calendar is inappropriate and not the image that the church wants to have.”
“Men on a Mission,” which has sold nearly 10,000 copies at $14.99 each, included pictures of 12 returned missionaries wearing black slacks, but not their trademark white shirts, in modest poses. The men are also photographed in traditional missionary garb and share their religious beliefs in biographical sketches.
Some of the 12 models have also been called to disciplinary meetings, but none were punished. “I have no ill feelings toward any of those people,” Hardy said of the church council. “They did what they believed was right and I really do feel it was the best decision for both of us.”
Frank E. Davie, the senior leader over a group of Mormon congregations in the Las Vegas area, confirmed the council’s decision in a telephone call to The Associated Press. He declined further comment.
Regional church leaders who called the meeting raised three concerns with Hardy during the meeting: the calendar and his failure to keep some church covenants.
Hardy has been inactive in the Mormon church for the past six years. He no longer pays tithing or wears the religious undergarments considered sacred. In an interview last week, Hardy said he had always struggled to fit in and live up to the expectations of membership.
Hardy said he considered resigning his membership to avoid the hearing, but decided against it out of respect for his family. Hardy is a sixth-generation Mormon. His parents live in Utah.
“I really feel sorry for my family,” Hardy said. “They are going to be so sad. But I feel empowered and free and I feel like I no longer have to apologize for anything.”