You might recall the blog I did a million years ago about the cat who made a calendar of young, attractive Mormon males, all returned missionaries for the church–only sans their white shirts, ties and black name tags, if you catch my drift, wink wink, nudge nudge.  Okay, I just grossed myself out.  So this dude, Chad Hardy (such a Mormon name), was excommunicated yesterday after a disciplinary meeting with his local church leaders.  I thought you would want to know.  Okay, I thought you would probably not care, but I needed something to blog about, and this story seemed to have potential.  Also, I’m too lazy to look up more relevant current events.

Some people–a lot of people, actually–probably think this punishment was a little bit of overkill.  I mean, it’s not like it was a naked calendar, just a shirtless one.  Also, they included pictures of the young men in their missionary attire, along with their personal testimonies of the Gospel.  It was, like, an alternative missionary effort, if you will.  Plus, part of the proceeds went to charity.  So what’s the big deal?

I don’t know what the big deal is.  I’d bet dollars to doughnuts, though, that it was more than just the calendar.  According to media accounts, some of the 12 calendar models were also called in for disciplinary meetings, but none was punished.  Prior to his church court, Hardy said, “You see more in a JCPenney catalog.  I just feel like my right to free speech is being violated.”

I always find it odd when Mormons get upset with the Church interfering with their right to free speech.  Not that I think people should just sit there and like it when the Church disciplines them for something as innocuous as a pretty boy calendar, but I just think it’s a strange way to characterize what is happening to them.  They can’t just say, “The church is way too uptight about x, and they shouldn’t be punishing me for this.”  No, it has to be something glamorous and earth-shattering, like their free speech is being violated–despite the fact that this isn’t a breach of the first amendment unless you’re just really confused about what the first amendment means.

I also notice that people will get all huffy about their rights being violated, but will say very little regarding their feelings about being formally separated from the body of Christ.  One would think that relevant, if they were upset about the possibility of excommunication.  But maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, after his church court, Hardy didn’t seem real torn up about the results.

“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.”

Which is convenient, since he doesn’t have a choice.  Just kidding.  I believe that Hardy is just fine with the decision, as he hasn’t been active in the church for several years, and hence he isn’t missing out on much by being excommunicated.  (Not in this life, anyway.)

I have about a dozen cynical takes on this, but none of them is very funny.  I was hoping for some funny to come out of this.

The 2009 calendar has sold about 10,000 copies.  On a totally unrelated note, does anyone happen to know how many gay men live in the Rocky Mountain region?  Just curious.

(And no, I’m not poaching TheTheologiansCafe‘s blog.  #1, it’s impossible to poach Dan’s blog.  #2, Mormons have the inalienable right to blog about Mormon-related stories before all other bloggers, even Theologians.)

(#2 “And no”–I don’t think Chad Hardy is really going to hell.  I don’t know where he’s going.  I don’t even know where I’m going.)