Mormons mortified by missionary positions

As an entrepreneur, it's rarely a good idea to launch a product that will alienate key stakeholders.

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Unfortunately, 31-year-old Chad Hardy found this out the hard way. The lifelong Mormon has been excommunicated from the church after producing a calendar that featured 12 Mormon missionaries in various state of undress. His ‘Men on a Mission’ calendar has sold more than 10,000 copies since last year, so some people obviously liked it – but unfortunately, the Mormon authorities don’t seem to be among them…

On his MySpace page, Hardy protests that his calendar was simply ‘a message of religious and cultural tolerance with a sense of humor’ and insists he was merely trying to ‘step outside the status quo of the stereotypes surrounding being a Mormon’. And he certainly managed that – it’s the first time we’ve ever seen a calendar of semi-naked full-time Mormon missionaries (even if they look more like male models than bookish clerics). ‘This calendar has created a really cool phenomenon,’ says Hardy. ‘It has created interfaith dialog all over the world, and [the models] have exposed their stories of service and love, as well as their perfect abs.’

But although the calendar has been flying off the shelves, it hasn’t exactly improved Hardy’s standing in the Mormon community. Apparently he’s received ‘the most appalling hate mail’ from other believers (plus a few born-again Christians), and has now been excommunicated, while his 12 models have also been hauled across the coals (although they appear to have escaped the same fate). The Church’s answer to Hardy’s heartfelt plea – ‘Can't we all just be more tolerant of each other?’ – appears to be: ‘Not really, no’…

So as an entrepreneurial venture, the calendar’s been a mixed success. It may have generated about $150,000, but Hardy seems to have alienated a large part of his core constituency in the process – which could make the business unsustainable in the long term. Although like every good entrepreneur, Hardy is refusing to give up easily – apparently the 2009 edition goes on sale on September 1. You just can't keep a good missionary down...


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Mormons mortified by missionary positions

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