FAQ

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What does the Church of Body Modification believe?
To learn about our beliefs, take a look at our Statement of Faith and our Mission Statement.

Is the Church real?
Usually, when people talk about a church being real or “Federally recognized,” they are talking about two things – incorporation as a non-profit entity doing business within a particular state, and a tax-exempt status from the IRS as a non-profit entity. In both of these ways, yes, the Church is real.
You may search for the Church of Body Modification’s legal status here. You may also want to read to read the IRS’s position on Churches here.

Does the Church have 501(c)(3) status?
Yes. See IRS Publication 1828 for more information.

Where do the donations go?
Your donations go directly toward paying website costs, office supplies, and other costs that arise in running an organization such as this. Church administrators nor ministers profit from money received in membership donations or from any other moneys received. All the work done to keep the Church going is strictly voluntary.

Is the Church a loophole to keep people from being fired from their job?
No. We take our beliefs and practices seriously. If a person attempts to join the Church as a ploy to gain legal protection, they will not be accepted.

Will becoming a member in the Church of Body Modification save me from being fired from my job for visual modification?
This is a complicated question. In essence, no, simply being a member of the Church of Body Modification will not keep you from being fired due to your body modifications. The question is complicated because you may have a case for a Constitutional right violation if you were fired because of your religious affiliation. First Amendment violations are complicated and we recommend you seek legal counsel. Although we may be able to help mediate your situation, all legal matters should pass through the office of a qualified attorney. If you are in conflict with your employer over your modifications, advise your employer of your spirituality and your religious affiliation. In the course of your discussion, please make every effort to come to some sort of compromise WITHOUT compromising your personal beliefs and spirituality. If possible, give your human resources department written notice of your religious affiliations before an issue arises. The President and Ministers are more than happy to make contact with your employer and help explain the spiritual side of body modification, if needed. Additionally, if your employer requires written proof of your membership in the Church, a letter can be sent to your employer on your behalf.

Why do I have to apply for membership?
The membership application is the first way we get to know a new member. Through the application, we make sure that potential member’s beliefs are in line with the CoBM’s and that the potential member understands that they are joining a legitimate Church with distinct religious beliefs. Some people who submit membership applications are under the impression that the CoBM is simply a social network of people who have body modification in common- this is not the case.

What if my membership application wasn’t approved?
Chances are that you did not provide enough information in the membership application you submitted. Please contact us directly, via email, so we may assist you in answering the membership questions and putting your thoughts onto paper.

What is required of a CoBM member?
Nothing is required of members other than a belief in the Statement of Faith and Mission Statement. Members are not required to make donations nor attend specific events or rituals.

Does the Church believe in God?
To answer simply, yes. However, the full answer goes much deeper. Though some members will use the term “God”, many members prefer other terms such as: “Universal Truth”, “the Almighty”, “Goddess”, “Divine Being”, and others.

Is there a physical location?
The Church of Body Modification is different from most churches as there is no central, physical location at which all members congregate to worship. For members of the CoBM, a place of worship may be one’s home, a studio, or even a park. CoBM members may create sacred space, individually or in groups, anywhere they wish to practice.

Are there regular Church meetings?
Ministers and members of the Church congregate for an online class the third Sunday of every Month. Classes make take the form of a sermon, where a minister gives a lesson on a specific topic, or the class may be moderated as a round-table discussion. Topics vary but are always related to body modification, spirituality, and the CoBM.

Am I still a member if I joined years ago but haven’t been recently active?
You are still a CoBM member, though it’s likely that we do not have any of your current contact information. It would be helpful to us if you would submit a new membership application with updated information and simply let us know that you were a previous member. We’re happy to have you back!

I was a minister (board member, liaison, etc) before February of 2008. Do I still hold my previous position?
The short answer is no. Members who held positions prior to February of 2008 do not currently hold any position other than CoBM Member and hold no power. However, we encourage members that held prior positions to contact the current administration to re-establish contact and to potentially re-apply for their previous position.

Does the Church believe that body modification is essential to spiritual health?
It is our belief that body modification is one of the safest and most societal responsible ways to stay spiritually healthy and whole. We accept the possibility that there are other means to this end, but for us, this is our chosen method.

What types of activities do you mean by body modification?
By “body modification” we mean anything that involves a significant modification to the body. In this we include piercing, tattoos, scarification, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery and the many other ways in which the physical biological development of the body can be controlled and subverted.

What types of activities do you mean by body manipulation?
By “body manipulation” we mean body suspension, hook pulling, play piercing, fasting, binding, corsetry, firewalking, and other rituals that test and push the limits of the flesh and spirit.

Who operates the Church?
As a professional, non-profit organization, the CoBM is run by a President and a Board of Advisors which abides by the approved Bylaws.