(Face buried in hands. Again.)

Ok, if you haven’t seen the news yet, the guy responsible for the Mormon missionaries cheesecake calendar has been summoned to a disciplinary council:

Chad Hardy, the brain behind the Men on a Mission calendars, which feature topless returned Mormon missionaries doing their best to look sexy, is facing discipline and possible excommunication because of the project.

Check out this Associated Press article on the controversy.

The basics are this: Hardy got a letter from Frank E. Davie, a Las Vegas Mormon church leader. The letter summoned him to a meeting with the church’s council of elders to discuss his “conduct unbecoming a member of the church.”

Of course, all the news articles are playing up the “possibility of excommunication”, though in truth I can’t imagine that any stake president in his right mind would excommunicate someone for this calendar.

UPDATED 07/13/08: Sheesh, well, I guess I was sure wrong about that last statement.

I understand the concept of disciplinary councils to ‘protect the good name of the Church’, but in cases such as this, it appears to me to have the opposite effect. The Church looks silly and the calendar (and its creator) gets far more publicity — and, most likely, far more sales — than if the Church has just maintained a dignified silence over the whole matter.

Sigh. ..bruce..

4 thoughts on “(Face buried in hands. Again.)

  1. If you read the article, however, it looks like the guy is really disaffected with the Church. It looks like the calendar brought him to the attention of the Church leaders, but then they discovered he was pretty critical of the Church and was just waiting to get kicked out. He broke temple covenants and such. I doubt either one of the events would get him excommunicated by themselves (how many people leave the Church w/o getting officially excommunicated?), but taken together were grounds for expulsion. From what I read, it sounded like he really wanted to be kicked out. They just granted his wish.

    If a fully active Bishop, for example, released a similar calendar, I doubt he’d get more than a slap on the wrist. Just a guess, of course.

    (Now topless photos of Sister Missionaries would probably be a different issue).

  2. I agree that Hardy makes it clear that he’s disaffected with the Church, and he didn’t seem terribly upset over the excommunication. But if he simply wanted to leave the Church, all he’d have to do is write a letter to his bishop and ask that his name be removed from the records.

    In other words, I think he very much welcomed and wanted all the press coverage and publicity. The stake president handed it to him, while making the Church look a bit silly in the process. And, as I’ve noted before, the Church never speaks about what goes on in disciplinary councils, so Hardy is free to spin the excommunication as a heavy-handed move dictated by Church headquarters to suppress his calendars, when it could just as easily have been for unrelated moral issues.

    Actually, I think if a fully active bishop released a calendar like that, he’d end up released from his calling very quickly. 🙂 But I do agree that I doubt he’d be excommunicated. I think. ..bruce..

  3. I thought Church disciplinary councils were primarily for administering needed discipline to the individual, for his sake so that he could soberly determine whether or not to correct his course. It’s not an image control thing, where we’re protecting the church from bad press.

  4. From LDS.org (click on ‘Additional information’):

    Formal Church discipline begins when a presiding priesthood leader determines that it is necessary to hold a disciplinary council. The purposes of disciplinary councils are to save the souls of transgressors, protect the innocent, and safeguard the purity, integrity, and good name of the Church.

    There are lots of (mostly inactive) LDS Church members who are engaging in conduct that would typically warrant a disciplinary council, but the Church as a rule doesn’t track down and hold councils on such. The news coverage for this particular council and excommunication was extensive and actually brought the individual far more publicity (and, I suspect, sales) than he would have had otherwise. And it was clear from news reports that this was someone who had been inactive for several years and who didn’t seem at all broken up about his excommunication.

    In other words, in this case the disciplinary court neither helped the calendar-maker nor did it “protect the good name of the Church”. In my opinion, anyway. ..bruce..

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