By JENNIFER DOBNER – 2 days ago
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," said Hardy, who learned about the hold a month after graduation.
For reasons of confidentiality, BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said she couldn't discuss Hardy's specific case. But Jenkins said all universities require students to be in good standing before a diploma is issued.
At BYU, that includes abiding by an honor code that dictates student conduct and behavior standards that mirror the religious principles of the church.
"We do make it clear that even though a student is cleared to walk at graduation, a student must still be in good standing from an academic point of view and an honor code point of view," she said.
Hardy's excommunication for conduct unbecoming 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.
Hardy's calendar sold nearly 11,000 copies and features 12 returned church missionaries in mostly modest poses, minus their trademark white shirts, ties and black plastic name badges.
The calendar was intended to shake up the stuffy, cookie-cutter stereotype often associated with Mormons, Hardy said.
News reports of his excommunication helped sales of the 2008 calendar and have landed Hardy larger U.S. and international distribution contracts for the just-released 2009 edition, which carries a disclaimer that it is not directly affiliated with or endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
On the Net:
LDS Church: http://www.lds.org
Calendar site: http://www.mormonsexposed.com