Chad Hardy graduated officially from BYU on Aug 15, 2008 and walked with his class in the convocation ceremony.
One month earlier, on July 13, Chad was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for ‘conduct unbecoming of a member of the Church’ (which was specifically related to his part in publishing a calendar depicting shirtless return missionaries, the “Men on a Mission Calendar”).
Shortly after that, Chad received a letter from BYU dated Sept 30 informing him that his name had been removed from the August 15th graduating class list because of his excommunication prior to the posting of his degree.
Some interesting facts about the case:
- Chris claims, “the Church [tried] very hard to try to find a moral transgression by spying on me so they could excommunicate me for that instead of having to embarrass themselves by excommunicating me over the calendar.”
- BYU has explained to Chris that if/when he ever rejoins the church and is in good standing, he may talk with them about the possibility of receiving his degree.
- The calendar made media headlines in Utah for over a year before the Church contacted him about it.
Whether you agree or disagree about Chris’s excommunication, it seems a little heavy handed for BYU to withhold the degree. I tend to agree with Chris’s statement that, “Had Hinckley been alive, he would have never allowed this to happen. He was a very media savvy man.”
We read the following in D&C 19:6-7:
It is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. . . . it is written eternal damnation
On the surface, this doesn’t make sense. Jesus is saying that the scriptures don’t say there shall be no end to the “weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth” of those consigned to damnation (see verse 5). Yet he also says the scriptures say there will be endless torment.
How can it be with an end and endless at the same time? It seems like a mystery.
Luckily, he says in verse 8: I will explain unto you this mystery. The explanation follows in verses 10?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú12:
I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore, eternal punishment is God?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s punishment. Endless punishment is God?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s punishment.
It seems then that Jesus is saying there’s no such thing as unending punishment in the afterlife. In other words, punishment in the afterlife has an end.
This is interesting when we take verses 16?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú17 into consideration:
I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I.
All this brings a question to mind.
If Jesus’s suffering redeemed those of us who repented, does that mean the suffering of the unrepentant will eventually redeem them since the suffering will have an end? If so, will they have the opportunity to change kingdoms after they are redeemed?
Can someone who is consigned to the Telestial Kingdom for murder redeem himself through his own suffering and then go on to inherit the Celestial Kingdom?
In Alma 14, many women and children were killed because their husbands and fathers believed the words of Alma and Amulek and converted. They were actually thrown into a fire. Amulek was astounded at this and wanted to use the priesthood to stop them (perhaps by some miracle):
“How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.” (verse 10)
Alma said that he felt inspired not to intervene because they are automatically saved for their belief in God.
“The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.” (verse 11)
The last part of verse 11 was interesting. Another reason Alma gave for not intervening is that “the Lord . . . doth suffer that . . . the people [presumable the ones doing the killing] may do this thing unto them . . . that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just”.
So he’s not going to intervene in order that God could punish (exercise judgement upon) them? If Alma and Amulek had intervened and no one was killed, God wouldn’t have needed to punish them. Wouldn’t that have been better all around?
Issues on which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has felt compelled to take a firm stand include civil rights, MX missile testing in Utah, same-gender marriages, pornography, gambling and Utah alcohol laws.
The Church does not extend reprimands or ecclesiastical punishment to persons who choose not to support its views on these issues.
Given that a large proportion of excommunicated members rarely come back to church or take a very long time if they ever do (based solely on anecdotal evidence), is the practice of excommunication a good thing?
In Mosiah 12:7, Abinadi preaches to King Noah’s people and says, in part:
[They] shall be smitten with a great pestilence?¢‚Ç¨‚Äùand all this will I do because of their iniquities and abominations.
Can we infer from this that all calamities and pestilence are a result of a people’s iniquities and abominations?