I was never a boy scout but I have always tried to be prepared. And, given the amount of scandal around, I thought I had better survey some religious choices in case any of my readers decided that they needed to switch from the Catholic Church. In fact no request for information has come my way but I see no reason why all my hard work should be wasted. So here were the choices I came up with; I think they would appeal to two quite different temperaments.
The first, the Raëlian Church, came to my notice when they recently filed a suit against the Pope on the grounds that he had violated human rights by claiming that condoms don’t stop Aids. As they have made a particular point of attacking the Vatican over the last several years they would be well suited to anyone of rebellious turn of mind. A dim memory reminds me that they claim to have cloned a human being, although I have no record of further evidence for this.
Their core belief is that life on earth was created by a species of aliens – known as Elohim, who occasionally manifest themselves by appearing in the shape of small humans, often being mistaken for angels. Their messengers include Moses and Jesus – as you would expect, although the Raëlian message does not seem prominent in the Bible. They have an abiding interest in UFOs; presumably these provide a ferry system with other planets.
They believe in adult consensual sex of almost any kind and with any number of participants. But although they believe in voluntary sex for the young, they are strongly against paedophilia – which might well be an additional reason for choosing them . They are, so to speak, generous to a fault– having donated 10,000 condoms to Catholic students in Canada. In 2007 it had over 2000 members.
Now, if the Raëlian religion does not appeal (or it appeals but you feel that you lack the energy) you may well be attracted by the Church of Body Modification, whose members “promise to always grow as individuals through body modification and what it can teach us about who we are and what we can do.” It describes itself as “a non-theistic faith that draws people who see tattoos, piercings and other physical alterations as ways of experiencing the divine.” Its membership is around 3,500.
You may not have come across the spiritual science of body modification, and perhaps the best way I can give you a flavour is by quoting some examples given by faithful devotees.
One woman writes: “Right now, I have ½” lobes on both sides, the second lobe hole is 4g, and the third lobe hole is at 8g. In front of my tragus on both sides I have 16g ½” surface bars. Both of my nostrils are pierced (18g), as is the bridge of my nose (14g). I have my septum pierced and stretched to 8g.I also have my navel pierced (14g). I have a number of tattoos and scarifications, each with spiritual significance. My nostrils have each been pierced 6 different times, though only one hole in each nostril at any given time.”
I am not sure that I understand all of this. I am sorry to hear that she has only one hole in a nostril at any one time. A multiplicity of holes and good fingerwork would make a good built-in ocarina.
Her male colleague adds of himself: “Piercings: 0 ga flats, 10 ga rooks, 00 ga traguses (big), 1 1/4” lobes, 10 ga labret, 10 ga (x2) brows (ret.), 6 ga tongue stud, 10 ga (x2 each) nipples, dermal anchors in neck (ret.),and 00 ga Prince Albert (ret.). He lists a large number of tattoos – each with its own significance, and 4.5 hours of flesh removal.
I need a translator for much of this but I am sure that some of you will get the reference to Prince Albert; let me say no more than that it refers to an alleged piercing of the Consort himself, and designed to ensure that he would never be embarrassed in public. “ret.” here, I imagine, means no longer in active use.
I think we would agree that these faithful are fully committed,. Indeed one American girl has complained that her First Amendment rights to freedom of religion have been denied by her school for suspending her for nose piercing. I assume that a Raëlian, insisting on a multiple orgy during school hours, would make a similar claim. Freedom of religion is not to be sneezed at – particularly through an over-punctured nostril. I would be fascinated if any of you can track other examples of interesting religions. Beachcomber, thou shouldst be living at this hour!