Man excommunicated, has Mormon university diploma revoked for assembling risque calendar

Chad Hardy of Nevada, excommunicated several months ago by the Church of Jesus Christ and Latterday Saints has now had his diploma revoked from Bringham Young University for publishing his “Men on a Mission” calendar featuring fully clothed and shirtless pictures of male Mormon missionaries.

The excommunication happened some months ago, but the revocation of the diploma was a recent development. I’m fascinated by the story for its weird expression of double standards. Compare an excommunication-worthy picture from the offending calendar:

mormon beefcake

…and this nude of Eliza Dushku, an observant enough Mormon to continue to abstain from alcohol:

eliza_dushku_allure_0409

I see two defining differences between the piece, which explains why one is an excommunicable offense, and the other good ol’ fashioned, wholesome objectification material. Dushku is not being framed in a Mormon context,  unlike Hardy’s “Men on a Mission,” an explicit attempt to reframe Mormon sexuality in the popular imagination:

The calendar was intended to shake up the stuffy, cookie-cutter stereotype often associated with Mormons, Hardy said.

I can’t believe gay hysteria didn’t also play a role in the Church’s decision. To be the subject of cheesecake photography has traditionally been solely a feminine function. When men transgress the boundary of photographic aesthetic objectification–and all the preening, makeup, waxing, and wardrobe quibbling it entails–is met with the suspicion and hostility transgression of gender roles usually are. In other words, mostwould be quicker to assume a man compiling a sexy calendar with men would be assumed to be exclusively homosexual far quicker than a woman compiling a girly swimsuit pictorial would be believed to be a lesbian.

(Someone will probably call me out for my umbrage at the “Poll Dancing” cover yesterday and implicit disappointment in BYU and the LDS’s church’s respective descisions. But note I never called for the resignation of the Journal’s editors.)

Furthermore, excommunication doesn’t seem like a mature way to deal with degradation of an institution’s image. Banishing someone who haven’t committed an offense worthy of incarceration from the institutions of a culture is unconstructive and damaging to the social cohesion religions are so dedicated to fostering.

My sentences have far too many words crammed into far too clauses, so I should probably stop right now and let our commentators fill in the gaps.

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7 Responses

  1. Since when do religions have to act mature?

  2. Clearly they haven’t noticed the “sexy Catholic school girl” trend. Don’t worry, next Friday it will become apparent that the Mormons overreacted.

    But I agree with your point about double standards. Eliza Dushku can run around in her birthday suit with no consequences, but when a male Mormon does it, everybody run for the hills.

  3. Couldn’t agree more with you about the double standards, but I was confused about what you meant by
    “(A deathly unproductive hobby of mind is quantifying people by attributes I share with them, according to Wikipedia; teetotalism, major depressive disorder, incompatiblism etc.)”

  4. Junia: Oops. That was a spelling error. I’ve since rephrased the passage in question for clarity.
    I meant to say “I deathly unproductive habit of MINE…” That is to say,
    1)I have a habit,
    2) that I consider bad because it is unproductive, and,
    3)that habit is making mental lists of people with whom I share attributes (a commitment to abstinence from alcohol, diagnosis of major depressive disorder, and belief in a deterministic account of volition being three examples I offered).
    I mentioned this habit to explain how I knew off the top of my head a ’90’s starlet abstained from alcohol. I hope I didn’t sew too much confusion.
    Glad to have your comments!

  5. To compare Eliza Dushku as a “devout member” just because she abstains from alcohol is a huge exaggeration.

    The questions one must consider:

    1) Were both temple endowed?
    2) As you suggested already, has Eliza ever put out a magazine “Sisters On A Mission.”
    3) Do you have all the facts of why he was excommunicated besides just what is posted? A lot more goes into an excommunication than just a magazine. (I admit the revoking of the BYU degree, this is weird)
    4) What is their knowledge and understanding?

    Many people besides Mormons abstain from alcohol. If you want to use Eliza as your model for a double standard, then you will need to offer more facts as why she is “devout” and a good comparison, and why she isn’t excommunicated.

    Best.

  6. I am the daughter of the woman who wrote the book “Secret’s” with Blaine Yorgason and I can tell you I have witness MANY tragedies that have come from the high mormon offices. Members who have done heinous crimes and not been excommunicated because the bishop was their close friend, bishops who molested their own children and grand children only to have the higher offices say the children had to be making it up, and last but not least………..

    A woman writes to the prophet multiple times requesting right to adopt her grandchildren instead of giving them back to their capable mother to raise like she originally agreed, only to have the prophet finally give permission after several times saying no.

    I don’t attend the Mormon church anymore. My belief in the teachings has not changed, I just choose not to attend a congregation of judgmental people who take God’s will into their own hands without seriously consulting him!

    The fact that they took this mans diploma from him is beyond ridiculous!

  7. Is the photo of Eliza Dushku supposed to deliver the message that alcohol will make you loose the shirt off your back? I thought that was the Crystal Meth campaign.

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