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JANIS - Is the man who submitted that calender with shirtless return missionaries a relative of yours? Can the Church withhold a diploma just because a person is excommunicated or is there more to the story? Mr. Hardy claims the Church won't give him his diploma because he was excommunicated. Hope you can shed light on this.

JOEL - There is no Chad Hardy among my known living relations, although it is possible our ancestors connect somewhere in the past couple of centuries.

Mr Hardy's excommunication from the Church and the withholding of his diploma by BYU are two separate although related issues. Any reason that would cause a member to be excommunicated from the church, would also be considered evidence that the student was in violation of the BYU honor code, which would result in the withholding of his diploma.

BYU is a private organization and as such can pretty much do what it wants(within reason) to those who have violated the universitiy's code of conduct, which all students agree to and sign (including Mr. Hardy) before beginning their scholastic career at BYU.

The Church does not release the confidential details of disciplinary action taken on a member, so we don't really know if there is "more to the story". The Church may have considered his decision to publish the Calendar as "conduct unbecoming a member of the church" and therefore one of the reasons for their action. If this is true BYU would conclude that he also violated the honor code, which prohibits the "involvement with pornographic, erotic, obscene, indecent, or other offensive materials, expressions, or conduct" (BYU Honor code).

Another reason for Church discipline as stated in the church handbook could be for "transgressions that significantly impair the good name or moral influence of the Church". BYU graduates and returned missionaries are seen as representatives of the Church in the eyes of the world. The actions taken by the church in this matter is a message to the world that the calendar Hardy published does not represent the standards of the Church or the school. But like I said we don't know all the reasons or the main reason why he was excommunicated. The above two violations may not have been the main reason.

Students routinely are denied their diplomas until they remedy outstanding issues (even as small as parking tickets). Chad's outstanding issue is his excommunication from the church. If he follows a repentence process outlined to him by church leaders and is fully readmitted back into the church, the issue will be cleared up and he can again apply for his diploma.

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