Church of Body Modification: Teen Pierced for God? (PHOTO)

Ariana Iacono (Personal Photo)
Ariana Iacono (Personal Photo)

(CBS) Why do young people get nose rings and piercings? Is it rebellion? Self-expression?

For 14-year-old Ariana Iacono of Clayton, N.C., it's all about self-esteem and spiritual growth.

Ariana calls her nose piercing a religious symbol - and it's not one she dreamed up on her own, according to ABC News.

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Ariana belongs to the Church of Body Modification, a religious group that promotes body modification.

"We strongly believe in the relationship between mind, body and soul," says 22-year-old Richard Ivey, III, a minister at the church. "Sometimes what you do to the body can strengthen the mind and soul or bring the mind and soul into harmony with the body," he told ABC. "All this little girl Ariana wants to do is wear her nasal piercing to remind her that she's a beautiful person," he said.

Ariana's mom, Nikki Iacono, supports her daughter's decision to wear her barely there stud. She says it's a tangible manifestation of her her daughter's ability to overcome obstacles.

"She had been abused as a kid, as a young kid, for several years. She struggled with self-esteem and self-worth," Iacono told ABC. "This was for her a symbolic representation of reclaiming her beauty and her self-esteem."

Unfortunately for Ariana, Clayton High School doesn't see things that way. It suspended the teen on the first day of school for violating the school's no-piercing dress code.