Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Controversial “Men on a Mission” Calendar Returns
Producer Does New Edition After Church Excommunicates Him
by LEO E. LAURENCE
Copyright © 2010 by Leo E. Laurence • All rights reserved
PHOTOS, top to bottom: Kenny Church, © 2008 Sebastiani Studios. Used by permission.
Eric Healey, courtesy Eric Healey.
Straight and very hot, young Mormon guys stripped down to their muscular, bare chests for one of the most exciting 2010 calendars for Gays: “MEN ON A MISSION.”
It’s available at the Obelisk bookstore at Tenth and University in Hillcrest, or online at www.mormonsexposed.com. The name of its Web site says it all: Mormons exposed … but not naked.
While the calendars’ appeal will be strong in the Gay community, most of the models showing off their bare pecs are straight. Some Gays will find that even more appealing.
“It was my first-time modeling,” says Matt Moser, 24, who appeared on the cover of the ‘08 “Men on a Mission” calendar. “It turned out to be pretty cool. It was fun.”
Another straight guy who stripped off his shirt and posed bare-chested is Kenny Church, 24, of Ogden, Utah. He’s married and said his wife was sitting next to him during the telephonic interview for this article.
He was 19 when he served as a missionary in New Zealand, and is now a sophomore at Weber State University.
“When the first calendar came out in 2008, some friends suggested I model for it, so I sub-mitted photos,” Church explained. (The producer) liked them and I went to Las Vegas for a pro-fessional, photo shoot.
“Looking at that (‘08) calendar, I thought it might be fun to do a calendar,” said cover-boy Eric Healey, 26, now living in cold Chicago and appearing on the 2010 cover showing a very HOT body. He was originally from Provo, Utah.
“I loved doing (the photo shoot)” in Las Vegas where the producer, Chad Hardy, 33, lives and also owns a corporate team-building company, Healey reported.
Hardy’s calendar Web site is www.mormonsexposed.com, and interested Mormon missionaries who would like to try modeling can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The unique Men on a Mission, beefy calendars show close-ups of bare-chested, young, Mor-mon missionaries who served when they were 19-20 years old.
Each month displays the former, Mormon missionaries posing bare-chested with lots of skin showing.
In sharp contrast to that large, sexy pose, off to the side in an inset photo is a much smaller, gold-framed photo of the same guy in the standard “uniform” of a Mormon missionary: with a white shirt and tie and reverently holding the Bible.
The visual contrast is stunning.
“Why the beefy Mormon calendar? I wanted to make a statement that not everyone has to look a certain way to have faith, and that not all Mormons are bigoted,” producer Hardy said in an ex-clusive interview with Zenger’s Newsmagazine.
“There are a lot of stereotypes attached to you being a Mormon, even if that doesn’t really de-scribe you as a person,” Hardy said, in explaining why he first created the bare-chested Mormon calendars in 2008.
“That was always my problem with the church. I loved being a Mormon, but I was embarrassed to tell people that I was a Mormon” — because of the stereotypes.
Indeed, the Mormon Church largely bankrolled Proposition 8, the successful ballot measure that killed future Gay marriages in California. Challenges to the Mormon’s financial activities are now pending in different administrative courts. Several persistent formal complaints of state-law violations related to Prop. 8 were filed by Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate (www.FiveforFred.com).
As might be expected, the Mormon officials came down hard on producer Hardy. But, the church did not punish the mostly- straight models. Indeed, several are still very active in the Mormon Church.
Hardy’s first bare-chested, “Men on a Mission” calendar appeared in ‘08. He was excommu-nicated in July 2008. Next, after he graduated from Mormon-owned Brigham Young University in August 2008, his university refused to give him a diploma.
“The ex-communication created a ton of sales (for the calendar). We’ve probably sold a total of over 25,000 so far,” Hardy reported.
Initially, it cost about $25,000 to produce the sexy calendars. “But we know how to do it now and we got our costs way down (to about $20,000).
A Girly Calendar, Too
With the success of the sexy Men on a Mission calendar, with their close-ups of bare-chested, muscular, young guys; Hardy decided this year to add a female edition, but its style is really dif-ferent.
The new edition, however, doesn’t have the class of the male version.
The calendars of guys are professionally posed and shot from largely from the waist up. While showing lots of skin, the poses are professional and the models are in positions that might easily appear in posters on the wall of a commercial workout gym.
But, the women in the female edition, called “HOT MORMON MUFFINS, A taste of motherhood,” are “dressed” and posed in a manner more likely to appear on the wall of an auto mechanic’s garage.
Producer Hardy says they are “more flirty” than the male calendar poses.
Admitting that the female calendars are really different that the male Mormon edition, Hardy explained that “it was my intention to make them sexy, but they are not bikini-clad calendars.”
Profits Helping Charities
“A portion of the profits of the sale of this calendar benefit charities around the world,” both editions of the calendars say on the back.
“For the first couple of years, the guys contributed to their own charities. But, now we have two, major charities: (1) putting computers in underprivileged schools and (2) benefiting breast cancer treatments for women,” Hardy explained.
Copies of the calendars can be obtained online at www.mormonsexposed.com, or e-mail to email@example.com
Contact writer Leo E. Laurence at (619) 757-4909 or firstname.lastname@example.org.