What do you see as your major strengths or talents?
My strengths are the ability to listen and give sound advice to those who seek it. I speak from the heart when it comes to the body modification industry for I have a passion and a love for my vocation which I am always willing to share to allow others to come to their own personal self fulfillment. I make a constant effort to speak the truth and develop the knowledge of things I am not sure of before making a statement about something. I am an unplugged person, meaning that I do not let the television rule my thoughts (for I have not watched television in over 10 years), my mind is my own. My talents are that which I have done with a tattoo machine and piercing needle for the past 13 plus years.
What do you feel are your major weaknesses?
I tend to be somewhat long winded when involved in conversation or questioning,especially when it comes to things I have passion for. I procrastinate a little. I can sometimes think too much about things (such as this application). I am generally reserved and solitary in my personal life enjoying more the company of family and friends.
What previous experience do you have that relates to being a minister in the CoBM?
As a artist and piercer I have educated and helped people obtain the tattoo or piercing that best suits what they are trying to express with their body modification. I have been a neutral ear to those that have needed it, listening to their happiness, sadness, worries, fears, accomplishments, and reasons they choose the body modifications that they do. I express insights to those that need it, experience their emotions, positive or negative, and have made life long friendships through my talents and the person I am.
In your own words, what do you know about the CoBM and being a minister in it?
Knowledge and experience are good things. Sharing that knowledge to help someone make an informed decisions about their choice of body modification benefits the individual and helps the world of body modification to grow, not by fad, or fancy, but by education. I meet a lot of younger people (under the age of 18, due to WV State law allowing body modification of minors with parental consent) and some adults just coming into the world, that believe that they know all there is to know about body modification, because they have seen it on TV or watched a friend go through it. Being a minister to me is having the ability to perform the tattooing or piercing rituals while also educating with legitimate reasoning both the new and experienced. In that way knowledge and experience grow with each individual and they can take what is learned and share it correctly with others. Rather than fad, they may become dedicated to their body modification practices and find the beauty of mind, body, and soul oneness that we all share.
Why do you want to be a minister in the CoBM?
All my life I have sought a belief system that suited me. I was raised Roman Catholic until age 9 where I began studies in the religion of the Cherokee peoples. These studies continued until the medicine priest passed on when I was about 19 years old. At that time I was in the Air Force and introduced to various other religious belief systems through interaction, self study, and travel. I would say that my Cherokee religious studies have stuck with me, and have been adapted into my personal belief system. I have always viewed my tattooing and piercing experiences with a spiritual thought, for I have changed with each and every modification I have done to myself or allowed others to do. I have taken this into my practices in dealing with my vocation in the body modification industry, giving people an avenue for spiritual and personal growth through their body modification. I feel that I am doing the same for people as a healer would that has knowledge of herbs, spiritual prayer, or shamanism. I see each and every tattoo or piercing as a ritual both for myself and the people that I work on, and feel the humility that accompanies my talents. I am merely a servant to the people, no more no less.When I came across CoBM I found a organization that states what I have believed about my vocation (mind, body, soul) and how tattooing and piercing effect the human experience. I feel that a ministry would allow others in the general area around me to have a source for information, a means to contact others of a like mind, and provide a support others that have the same feeling as the CoBM mission states. If I am selected to be a minister it would allow further growth to CoBM and educate the populace in a face to face forum either individually or in groups.
What do you think you can contribute as a minister?
I have been in the body modification industry for over 13 years now and have approached my vocation with the thoughts of informing and educating the clients, friends, family, and others that the choices they make in body modification should be those to indicate life choices and changes in ones life. I express that tattooing and piercings are the outward symbolism of the inner self that the individual wishes to share with the people that view them, though people may not understand the symbolism of the tattoo or the piercing it opens the door for conversation, where there may not have been one in the first place. As a minister of CoBM I feel that more credit will be given to my spoken word, practice and possibly more understanding for the people who listen, knowing that my words not only come from a professional standpoint but also by personal choice to do what I do, and the dedication to the practice to become a minister of my desired beliefs.As this relates to the question posed here: My knowledge and understanding will contribute to CoBM, giving people in my surrounding area a point of contact to the CoBM. Allowing a personal contact, rather than an internet connection or a minister that lives in another state or country, to be available for their question, concerns, information, and as a source of a way to get the people to the one's that can answer the questions I cannot (ie. Scarification, Suspension, Branding et. al)
What have you contributed thus far as a member?
Since, and before, becoming a member I have informed people that the CoBM exists and given the web address to people so that they can make the choice as to sign up or not. Though I am still new to the CoBM I believe that in time my contributions and dedication to the practices will help it grow and educate those that are less aware the world of body modification and what CoBM ,as an organization stands for.
Where would you like to see the CoBM 5 years from now?
I would like to see CoBM become an international organization with a strong membership, accepted by most rather than the few. At the very least have a presence in all 50 states of America with a strong ministry and support base for its members.
Aside from the CoBM, what are your personal goals for the next 5 years?
I would like to have my own land, crop, livestock, and become as self-sufficient as I can while still running and performing my vocation in my tattoo and piercing studio as a want rather than a need. Then I would not have to feel the burden of charging for something that should be given freely.
What would you do if you overheard someone speaking negatively about the CoBM?
I would inquire of the person as to what they felt was negative about the organization, and try to enlighten them as best as I could to try to remove any misconceptions or misinformation that might be floating in their thoughts, but ultimately I would use the time to try to educate them so that it might allow them to make informed decision toward their thoughts about the CoBM.
The CoBM has evolved greatly since inception. As a minister, you will be expected to be knowledgeable about the various evolutionary steps the CoBM has taken. If someone asked you about the current status and goals of the Church, how would you compare and contrast the Church’s current state against previous years and under previous management?
CoBM has made steps that it needed to make in the time it has needed to make them. All things done in the past have allowed the Church of Body Modification to come to it's present standing and growth. It is not left to fate that this organization has come to exist, it is there because of the dedication of the people that have given the effort to make it possible and will continue as the effort of future people help it along. Only through our understanding of ourselves can we put forth the effort required to keep CoBM strong and growing.
List all of your modifications, past and present. Then choose one of those mods and describe what spiritual significance it has for you.
Piercings: Bilateral nipples 14ga, Navel 14ga, Lip 14 ga, Deep Cheek 14 ga, Double earlobe piercing bilaterally 12 ga, Nasal 20 ga, Septum 14 ga, Hand Web 14 ga, Scrotal 14ga.
Approximately 40% of my body has life significant tattoos. The one that stands out the most for me is my tattoo of one of the machines I use with my daughter's names over it. It signifies to me the battle with cancer I face (for it was placed there after I recovered from my surgery, by a traditional tattoo artist that I admire and respect) and indicates that my vocation in life is there to provide for my children whom I hope follow in my footstep one day if that is where their life path takes them. It also signifies that my vocation is as much a part of my life as my family is to me.
What do you think the differences are between a person who modifies their body with piercings, tattoos, etc. and a person who never explores body modification?
The choice is the only difference between these people. Either requires the respect of the decisions that they make. To modify or not is the choice of the individual and cannot be dictated or mandated by anyone else.
Can a person with only a navel or ear piercing claim to be as spiritually modified as someone with brandings and a split tongue?
All body modification to me are a life changing event, regardless of the type of modification, the person endures the process and leaves with a new self awareness and a new outlook on themselves. Body modification changes a person, both in the decision to do it and the process of doing it. Personal choice of the way they show it is as individual as the person receiving it.
Describe what spiritually modified means to you.
Spiritually modified means to me that whatever adornment one chooses for their own body, it has a significance of the person at the time of the receiving of the modification. It indicates a life change in some form or fashion, something that has changed the way a person views themselves, their life, and the world around them. It is a marking of a point which can never be returned to, and is also a point where a person grows from their life experience, marking for remembrance of what led them to that point and the person they have become.
Have you ever been convicted of a crime, other than a minor traffic violation?