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BYU alums featured in calendar of bare-chested men

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The latest calendar featuring bare-chested former Mormon church missionaries includes the man who was excommunicated for coming up with the idea for a twist on the church's stuffy image.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The latest calendar featuring bare-chested former Mormon church missionaries includes the man who was excommunicated for coming up with the idea for a twist on the church's stuffy image.

The 2011 edition of "Men on a Mission" focuses on a dozen men who graduated or attended the church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo.

Among the models is the calendar's creator, 34-year-old Chad Hardy.

Hardy, who now lives in Palm Springs, Calif., was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in July 2008. Weeks later, BYU cited the excommunication in withholding a diploma from Hardy, who completed his credits for graduation through an online course and was allowed to walk in commencement ceremonies.

Hardy's church leaders and a BYU dean said the calendar was not in keeping with Mormon church values. Hardy appealed the diploma decision to the office of the dean of students and lost. Hardy also petitioned the Northwest Commission on Colleges and
Universities for an investigation on the grounds that BYU accepted publicly funded school loans to pay for his education. But the NCCU, which accredits colleges in seven western states, declined in April to investigate.

Hardy said the fourth edition's college theme grew out of his realization that most of the men seeking a spot in the 2011 calendar were BYU alums.

The same was true of models in past calendars - all of whom were questioned about the calendar's appropriateness by church or school authorities.

"No action has been taken on any of them," Hardy said.

From the start, Hardy has said the calendars were designed to shake up stereotypes that paint Mormons as stuffy or hyper-conservative. A female edition last year, "Mormon Muffins, A Taste of Motherhood," dressed young Latter-day Saint homemakers in '40s-era pinup style. Hardy said he's begun planning final installment of the men's
calendar.

"2013 will be the last one," he said. "It makes money every year, so I could continue to do it, but the message has been said. It's time for me to move on to my next project."

A spokeswoman from the BYU communications office declined comment.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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