The body modification world is not just full of people trying to look freak and weird. There are people out there who believe body modifications help them spiritually, in an earlier post I wrote about “Stalking Cat” who said his modifications where done to bring him closer to his spiritual animal guide of the tiger. There is even organized religion of people whose body modifications have made them more spiritual.
Church of Body Modification (CoBM) as originally founded in 2000 by Steve Hawthorne who was a groundbreaker in the body mod world. Allegedly the religion as started for people who where modified to rely on if they got fired from there job. The church could then sue for religious discrimination.
As of 2008 the church had been reformed and organized and is now a recognized non profit religion in the United States of America. It is incorporated in Pennsylvania, before it was in Arizona. From what I was able to find out the church practices are ritual of body manipulation to test the limits of the body and spirit of its member. Manipulation events include suspension, hook pulling, fasting, corsetry, fire walking and other things that would test a person’s spirit and body.
Any person who is feels a spiritual connection from their modifications or wants to gain a more spiritual connection through modifications and manipulations can apply for membership. Any tattoos, piercings, or more serious modifications are what they consider under their definition of being modified.
Here is the CoBM Mission State as written on their website (link can be found below)
We, the congregation of the Church of Body Modification, will always respect our bodies. We promise to always grow as individuals through body modification and what it can teach us about who we are and what we can do. We vow to share our experiences openly and honestly in order to promote growth in mind, body, and soul. We honor all forms of body modification and those who choose to practice body modification for any reason. We also promise to respect those who do not choose body modification. We support all that join us in our mission and help those seeking us in need of spiritual guidance. We strive to share a positive message with everyone we encounter, in order to act as positive role models for future generations in the body modification community. We always uphold basic codes of ethics and encourage others to do the same. We are a dynamic community, always growing and changing, continually promoting safety, education, and experience in body modification.
Here is the CoBM Statement of Faith as taken from their website (link can be found below)
As followers of this faith, it is our purpose to educate and inspire, to share ideas, and to help each other achieve our dreams. We strive to unify and strengthen our mind, body, and soul so we can overcome any challenges we may encounter. We assert and protect our rights to modify our bodies and to practice our rituals.
We believe our bodies belong only to ourselves and are a whole and integrated entity: mind, body, and soul. We maintain we have the right to alter them for spiritual and other reasons.
Affirmation of our living, breathing, physical beings is paramount to our self-identities and helps us define who we are. The Church of Body Modification promotes affirmation and growth of a more expansive perspective of our physical and spiritual being.
I gathered my information from CoBM’s website and BMEZINE Wiki