NAKED BEFORE GOD
By Daniel D. Ziegler

"....heart specialist prescribed a dose of nudism as part of his
treatment after his second heart attack."

Chapter 8 JERRY’S MESSAGE

NUDISM IS A TOOL for nurturing the self. But most who try nudism for the first
time, have already nurtured themselves to the point where they can participate
fairly easily and with enjoyment almost from the start. For them, there are no
more growing pains associated with gaining confidence that THEY ARE WHO
THEY ARE. There is only the enjoyment of having already arrived.

Unfortunately, nudism is seldom recognized as a tool for nurturing and
therefore seldom tried by those who could benefit the most. Only occasionally
does a doctor or therapist understand the value of social nudism and
prescribe it as a treatment for low self-esteem or for a variety of stress related
illnesses, including heart disease.

Such was the case, though, for Jerry Conklin of Colon, Michigan, whose heart
specialist prescribed a dose of nudism as part of his treatment after his
second heart attack. Jerry had no trouble swallowing this pill, however,
because he and his wife had already practiced nudity around the house and
on camping trips. The medicine for him was like eating candy and his
recovery is proof that the treatment of choice, for him, was successful.

But that is not the end of the story for Jerry. It may be only the beginning, for
Jerry's growing appreciation of the nudist lifestyle led him to telling others
about it, "to spread the word" so to speak, including to the minister of his
church.

Now, this kind of "confession" to a minister or priest is probably not all that
common, but probably does little more than draw comments like, "I don't see
any thing wrong with that," at best to, "It's wrong, stop doing it," at worst. But
Jerry is no ordinary parishioner, he had more to risk and so the response to
his admission was also not ordinary. Jerry was an ordained minister and had
served his church for seventeen years, four of those as assistant minister. So,
because of his admission of participating in the nudist lifestyle, he was
relieved of his duties and stripped of his ordination. That, for Jerry, was a
bitter pill to swallow.

But Jerry is no ordinary person either. Having had to deal with such hardships
as losing his wife of thirty-seven years to cancer, has given Jerry a respect for
life. Also, having been honored as an entertainer (magician) on the road for
over thirty years, has given him an appreciation for living. Jerry has learned to
live life and to live it from his heart. His participation in and love for the nudist
lifestyle comes from his heart; from his love for life and for living.

Life often closes doors behind us, but, at the same time, it opens doors in
front of us. Jerry recognizes this fact and so to not dwell on the past. He is
already thinking of starting his own church based on his strong Christian
beliefs and his conviction of the wholesomeness and, indeed, holiness of the
human body. His conviction is strong and his message is clear as he
demonstrated Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994 when he conducted a worship
service at Turtle Lake Resort, a clothing-optional recreation facility near Union
City, Michigan. His message emphasized love and honesty as taught by
Jesus and practiced within the nudist community.

Jerry's improved health is an example of the nurturing power of the nudist
lifestyle. His courage to risk his position in his church demonstrates that HE
KNOWS WHO HE IS, and his willingness to charter a new church, should he
"receive the calling," means many others will hear his message. * * *

A note: This article is based on an interview from a series of interviews I
conducted with people, who like myself, participate in social nudism. While
working at Turtle Lake Family Nudist Resort, Union City, Michigan in 1993
and '94, I began doing the interviews and writing subsequent articles to
better inform the public about this often misunderstood lifestyle that has
such a profound effect on people’s lives. A total surprise to me was that the
interviewing process itself had a profound effect on the persons interviewed,
as well as on myself.

As for me, I have been deeply touched by each of their stories as they
shared their pain and their healing, and I have come to realize that the
nudism experience has an even greater effect on the lives of the people
than I had previously imagined.

As for the people I interviewed, looking back, through the help of the
interview process itself, each now feels that nudism miraculously came into
their lives as exactly what they needed when they needed it, as if the
Universe knowingly handed them each a gift. And perhaps, more
importantly, uncloaking their souls, through the interview and article, has
had a similar healing effect as did initially baring their bodies--a new and
more confident person has miraculously emerged.

That I have been privileged to be part of this process, has been a gift from
the Universe to me. ddz
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