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Mormon missionary calendar-maker facing discipline

Published: Saturday, July 12 2008 12:00 a.m. MDT

"The biggest concern was, whether this was an attack on the church, and when they determined it wasn't, it was no big deal," said model Jonathan Martin, a 25-year-old Utah Valley University student, who was contacted by a church elder in May. "When you don something outside of the norm, it doesn't matter what group of people you're in, it's going to unsettle them."

Martin said he was told the inquiry was being made after a letter was sent to his church leader by higher-ups in Salt Lake City.

The LDS Church takes disciplinary action when leaders believe a person's behavior or actions are openly incompatible with the faith's teachings and could potentially damage the church.

Church spokeswoman Kim Farah declined to comment on Hardy's specific situation, but said that "any church discipline is the result of actions not beliefs." Decisions are made at the local level and are based on individual circumstances and merits, she said.

"Because the fundamental purpose of church discipline has always been to help members, rather than simply punish, disciplinary councils are considered a necessary step in repentance on the way back to full harmony and fellowship in the church," she said.

Disciplinary action can range from disfellowship to excommunication. In the past, members have been excommunicated for reasons including criminal activity and scholarly works of history or theology that contradicted church claims.

An excommunicated person would be removed from official church rolls, although they are still welcome at church services. Excommunicated members are prohibited from receiving the sacrament and can't perform church callings such as teaching or preaching during meetings. They also cannot enter church temples.

The 2009 calendar — which drew 100 inquiries from interested missionaries — will be released in September.

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