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Hot, Steamy Mormons: Are the Latter Day Saints Getting Sexy?

Calendars and videos featuring scantily clad Mormons are helping redefine images of the Latter Day Saints -- but not everyone in the Church is happy.

The young lady starring in this YouTube video has the right stuff to be a pop star, a dancer, a reality TV hopeful -- she's curvaceous, poised and pretty, with a plunging neckline and a flirty little wink that puts Sarah Palin’s to shame.

Her plunging neckline, however, is attached to a short-sleeve sweater over which she's tied an apron. This is Sister Farr, member of the Church of Latter Day Saints and star of the "Mormon Muffins for TV Dinners" videos, an offshoot of the "Hot Mormon Muffins" in which beautiful, scantily clad Mormon women adopt vintage pin-up poses and offer a favorite muffin recipe. Some have legs so long they could reach Heaven just by putting on heels. The calendar will benefit breast cancer research, inspired by one model who survived breast cancer and in memory of the sister of another model, who did not. The Muffins are the 2010 companion to "Men on a Mission," now in its third year, a calendar of shirtless Mormon guys built like brick privies; dudes with six packs who have probably never touched a six pack in their lives.

But back to Sister Farr, who is saying that in preparation for the Last Days one should store a two-year supply of food, including fresh muffins, which she shows us how to preserve by suggestively sucking the air out of a Ziploc bag. By the time she’s done I want to 1) eat a muffin; and 2) go out and shop for something that will make me look as sexy as…a Mormon mom?

Inspiring that kind of counterintuitive thought isn’t easy. The man behind it is entrepreneur Chad Hardy, the 33-year-old founder of the calendar company Mormons Exposed. Hardy is a sixth-generation Mormon and former missionary.

"I went to Brigham Young University and I hated the fact that I had to dress like everybody else," he says. "On devotional days, Tuesdays, if you didn’t wear a shirt and tie people looked at you like you were disobedient." That level of conformity was one of the reasons he created his calendars. "I wanted to make a statement that you don’t have to look the same as everyone else."

Hardy wanted to break down stereotypes. Boy, did he succeed.

"When this thing first came out," Hardy says about "Men on a Mission" in a phone interview, "I had a lot of church members say 'If there were more church members like you I’d have never left the church.'" Others have thanked him for showing the world that Mormons aren’t all stodgy, that they have a sense of humor about themselves. And non-Mormons appreciated getting to see a side of Mormons they didn’t know existed.

The praise, however, was not universal. Hardy was excommunicated. He couldn’t even go to his sister’s wedding because he couldn’t get a temple recommend, a certificate granting entrance into a Mormon temple (to talk to Hardy is to spend time looking up a lot of Mormon terminology later on). He gets lots of hate mail. (One of his relatives even de-friended him on Facebook. "Twice!" he says in disbelief. The first time the person claimed it was an accident. "I can’t even figure out how to get rid of friends," Hardy says. "It’s a process to get rid of a friend.")

He still considers himself a Mormon "by family culture, yes, by mystical beliefs, no," he says. While he sometimes misses the structure of the church there were a number of things he was at odds with, including the ways church leaders were making decisions "affecting people’s lives," for example, the issue of gay marriage.

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