Brigham Young University Denies Diploma to Creator of Shirtless Morman “Men on a Mission” Calendar

When Chad Hardy created the “Men on a Mission” Calendar of shirtless Mormon hunks, he thought is was a fun idea. Church elders disagreed and excommunicated him. Now, Brigham Young University has denied him a diploma and said that he cannot receive on until he is reinstated by the Mormon church. This could make for a very interesting constitutional and contractual challenge.

On July 13, Hardy was excommunicated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 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. He informed Hardy: “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.”

That raises some interesting questions about the duty of BYU to issue a diploma that has been earned by a student, even one found to be “faithless.” Assuming that BYU receives grants and other public money, it could create a basis for a challenge. Moreover, this is church-owned university but it is not a seminary. It issues recognized degrees and has sought to refute the image as merely a religious rather than an educational institution.

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26 thoughts on “Brigham Young University Denies Diploma to Creator of Shirtless Morman “Men on a Mission” Calendar”

  1. You’re correct about the church supporting the prop 8 initiative. There are certain issues that directly affect the doctrines of the church, and the church will assert a position in those cases. But that has only happened maybe three times in the 20th century: Repeal of prohibition, the ERA, and now prop 8. What you don’t hear is the statement read from the pulpit of every LDS church around election time stating that the church does not support or oppose any candidates, positions, or parties. Members are encouraged to pray about these matters and then vote according to their impressions. There are many prominent LDS politicians that are Mormon; Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader, is an active member of the LDS faith and a staunch democrat.

  2. Proof of LDS influence n government is supported by their overwhelming funding of the prop 8 initiative in California

  3. “It’s hard to seperate chuch and state completely when an entire system of government and law is founded on Judeo-Christian principles. What do you think?”

    Great post and as for the statement above I couldn’t agree with you more. My only answer is a return to elementary and high school Civics courses which teach the fundamentals of the Constitution and our way of governance to the young. This of course has problems because individual school districts/educators may well have a wide variation of perspective. However, even though I’m in my 60’s and have seen much to make me cynical about our society, I cling to the notion that average people are a lot smarter than intellectual elites of any political stripe give them credit for. If the people have the knowledge than it is my hope they will do the right thing. Of course I admit that this may be merely the hopeful musings of a lifelong liberal, optimist.

  4. Mike,

    I couldn’t agree more about the importance of the seperation of church and state. But like you, it is the “how” that raises the real issue. I think that you are right about many politicians and their egos disguised as love of God. I don’t know if you believe this or not, but Mormonism teaches the imporatnce of tolerance for individuals of all beliefs or non-belief systems. The former leader of the Church, President Gordon Hinckley, gave numerous sermons on this point. I think that that principle should absolutely translate to government. Mandatory belief systems should not be imposed on people by government. But even when you articulate the most stringent seperation of church and state policies, individuals elected to administer those roles inevitably bring with them inheret bias. Individual perception of the world and how it should normatively exist is inevitably predicated on a person’s religious views or even areligious views. It all colors an official’s course of action. I don’t know how you will ever succeed in seperating a political view of the world from religious overtones. It will be difficult in a place like Utah where 90% of the legislature that would pass the “contravening laws” would be acting against interest, especially when their constituents do not want them to vote in the opposite manner. Any ideas as to how this would be done would inevitably be contraversial. It’s hard to seperate chuch and state completely when an entire system of government and law is founded on Judeo-Christian principles. What do you think?

  5. Nate,
    I’ve read your recent posts and I compliment you on your honesty and thoughtfulness. I would not attack LDS beliefs per se because I believe that each human should have the right to develop their own faith, or lack of same, without interference by governments and/or people who want to control others beliefs. The problem with all organized religion is that rarely are those who rise to power worthy of the belief. They are for the most part religious politicians and are motivated more by ego than a love of God. As a law student I would think that you would well understand why church and state must remain separate. In the case of LDS the intertwining of church and state government is much too intricate. How this could be separated is indeed a conundrum.

    I would hope that the experience of the Catholic Church in today’s Europe would begin to be mirrored by the LDS in Utah. While countries like Spain and Italy are overwhelmingly Catholic, many of their laws are in contravention to church teachings. To me this is how it should be world wide. While I respect the religious beliefs, or lack of same, of all humans adherence to those beliefs should remain a matter of individual conscience and not government fiat.

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