SALT LAKE CITY – The creator of a calendar that featured shirtless Mormon missionaries was excommunicated Sunday after a disciplinary meeting with local church leaders in Las Vegas.
Chad Hardy said he bears no ill will toward the council of elders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"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 also were 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 overseeing a group of Mormon congregations in the Las Vegas area, confirmed the 12-member council's decision in a telephone call to The Associated Press. He declined further comment.
Hardy said the purpose of the 2008 calendar was not to tear down the church or its 13 million members.
"The project is about stepping outside the stereotypes and stepping outside of the image," Hardy said. "Not everybody fits the image and I let them know we're not trying to portray an image for the entire church."
An excommunicated person is removed from official church rolls, but are still welcome at church services. Excommunicated members are prohibited from receiving the sacrament and can't perform church callings such as teaching or preaching during meetings. They also cannot enter church temples.