Twelve good-looking Mormons missionaries defied the stereotype of suit-wearing, bike-riding, door-to-door disciples by posing bare-chested in the inaugural "Men on a Mission" calendar, Mormons Exposed announced Thursday.
“Behind the eye-candy, this calendar has a deeper story -- one that can reshape perceptions ... and perhaps inspire a broadened acceptance of human and religious diversity,” says Chad Hardy, co-founder of Mormons Exposed, based in Las Vegas, and producer of the Men on a Mission calendar.
The "Men on a Mission" calendar highlights missionary work the models performed, such as helping the poor, feeding the hungry and building schools and homes, Hardy said. Each missionary who posed for the calendar can donate a portion of the proceeds to a cause in the area he served.
“The calendar is more about people than it is about religion," Hardy said.
Hometown: Provo, Utah
For as long as he can remember, Austin has been interested in helping others, both in the U.S. and abroad. Currently a member of the National Guard, Austin served his mission in the Philippines where he influenced lives in some of the more rural parts of the country. Although he said at times he felt like a rock star because kids would scream "American, American" when they saw him and would ask him if he was famous, Austin's actions were anything but ostentatious. His service projects included building homes for poor families, teaching English to children, planting crops, and cutting and transporting sugar cane.
Austin believes one of the great things about a mission is that it is a two-way street. Some of his best memories revolve around visiting the local villagers - getting to know them and their culture better. According to Austin, the Filipino way of life is much slower.
"Time almost seemed to stop sometimes," he says of his experience in the Philippines.
Austin gained a much bigger worldview after coming home from the Philippines, and was inspired to go on a mission at home. Remembering the stories his father used to tell him when he was a child made choosing to serve a mission a very easy decision. He now knows that he will have similar stories to pass down to his children when he gets married and has a family of his own.
But for now, Austin is taking his desire to help others one step further by posing in the 2008 Men on a Mission calendar.
"I consider this a good opportunity to spread the word about the church and let people know who missionaries are and what we are doing; how we have changed the lives of so many, and how we continue to change the lives of others," Austin says.
However, more than anything he wants people to know that "at the end of the day we are normal guys just trying to do the right thing."
Here's the MySpace Account for these hot guys.