As requested

Since there's all sorts of speculation as to why I left the church, and people are coming up with numerous ludicrous theories as to who got into a fight with who, and who has a grudge against who, I feel I should explain before things get out of hand. Leaving out many of the more obvious logical arguments, I am simply going to tell a story here to clarify.

I was recently walking with an old friend, a far wiser person than I. We were talking about the Church of Body Modification and he asked me, “Shannon, why do you stretch your ears, and why do you take part in these suspension events?”

I told him a long story about the relationship between inner and outer body images. Then I did my best to explain to him about the relationship between body and soul, and about how body modification could strengthen these connections. I tried to describe my spiritual experiences from ritual as well. I told him all about the potential spiritual benefits, and then pointed out how important it was that we all be able to express these things.

He paused for a minute, and then turned to me and asked, “but does it make you happy?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Isn't that good enough? Why do you need to tell me anything other than that?”, he said to me, and, in a moment of clarity it became obvious that any formal organization or doctrine that I try and pile on top of these honest truths simply obscures them. I don't need a church to be happy. I need my freedom, and I need my friends, but I don't need a church.

I spoke to him a bit longer, and I told him that I felt that maybe the real reason it was so difficult to build the church was that we weren't spiritually mature, and maybe it would make more sense to form an organization that dedicates itself to spiritual research to attempt to answer the questions of doctrine.

He told me that he appreciated what I was looking for, and that forty years ago he'd been desperately looking for the same thing. Eventually though, he came to the conclusion that these things are best found through personal journeys, not through preaching — these things are vapors, and are perfectly understandable and valuable as beautiful mysteries.

And then we sat and watched a heron fly over the lake, and for a moment, I was at peace and happy.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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