Name: William R Martin
Meeting: Venice Friends Fellowship
My first introduction to naturism was more than 50 years ago learning of the Farm and Wilderness Quaker Camps when I served as the chairman of the Young Friends of Baltimore Yearly Meeting.
Then in 1960, my sociology professor at George Washington University conducted a class on “minorities”. First he chose Quakers (at the time of McCarthyism – and our opposition to war). Then for the next 45 minutes, he discussed Naturists. I was actually astonished – less than a 1% divorce rate compared to 16% nationally; no teen pregnancies, greater social maturity and much more.
Thus a seed was planted and it took 40 years to really sprout (after retirement including half of my life developing and managing Quaker retirement homes).
Then in about 1999, it seemed that no one was really taking up the cause to explore the very positive aspects of respect for the human body and to help stop advertising based on sex appeal.
Having taken leadership roles – including personal attacks on me, it was time to begin an active ministry to help rid our country of body shame. First I started a Yahoo group – but Yahoo disapproved of the content; thus came www.naturist-christians.org – a website for all persons. It’s now the largest faith based naturist web-site with over 20,000 worldwide members from every branch of Christianity and many others of other faiths.
Unfortunately some American groups are using naturism as a cover for sex, something not generally found in much of the US nor in Europe. In September my wife and I spent a week at Solaris Naturist Resort on the Adriatic in Croatia. We’ve also been members of Cypress Cove Naturist resort in Kissimmee, FL and together with other members of Naturist Christians undertook a one hour British documentary which they entitled God’s Nudists. I’m a member of The Naturist Society and of the Federation of Canadian Naturists (formerly a member of the American Association for Nude Recreation).
I only heard of Jon Watts because another member of our website posted a link to is video. How welcome and encouraging it is to find another (and younger) Quaker to advance not only naturism – but also our peace and justice testimonies.