Gainesville Nudist Group Takes Au Naturel Approach to Religion

By on March 5th, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For those looking to find their faith but lose their clothing, a newly formed naturist group could be the answer to their prayers.

According to a Gainesville community Craigslist post, Jonathan Griffin, 32, is reaching out to residents “who love Jesus Christ and like skinny-dipping, naked potlucks, naked movie nights, naked in nature, and so forth.”

Griffin, the group’s creator, has been a naturist for about 14 years and has been involved with several nudist groups in Utah and Florida. Griffin came to Gainesville after visiting a friend and soon realized Florida is home to some of the nation’s most popular nudist resorts and beaches, including the famous Haulover Beach in Bal Harbour.

He said he started the new group specifically to congregate with other Christians, regardless of denomination, who feel closer to God without clothing.

Griffin said he aims to make friends with similar beliefs, and hopes to promote self-confidence through biblical texts.

“We were created in God’s image,” Griffin said, “so why should we be ashamed?”

To support his cause, Griffin referenced a verse from the Book of Job: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.” Other examples he gave from the Bible included Christ removing his robes to wash his disciples’ feet and Isaiah’s three-year journey walking “barefoot and naked.”

Though the Bible verses Griffin cited seem to allude to nudity, Pastor Hayden Norris at Harvest Bible Chapel said it is folly to interpret them out of context, such as the case of Adam and Eve. Although they were naked in Genesis, he said, God covered them with clothing in Chapter Three.

“It’s symbolic,” he said. “But there has never been a push to go back to being naked.”

He said the only time nudity is apparent in the Bible is when it’s a sign of shame, such as when Noah’s nakedness is uncovered.

However, Norris said he’s not surprised someone would start a group like this because, as a college town, Gainesville has diverse cultures and subcultures that often create unconventional groups. He said he can understand the idea behind naturism, but that nudism is “not connected biblically” to Christianity.

Florida Young Naturist founder Robbe M. White, who expressed interest in joining Griffin’s new group, said there are still parallels to Christianity and the nudist movement.

“Christians make good naturists because both Christians and naturists promote respect of the body and mind,” White, wrote in an email.

But beside religion, White, 30, said he wants to join the group for fellowship and use it to spread the word about naturism. White said he has participated in Vita Nuda and the Naturist Society — both naturist groups. Although it is not customary public behavior, White said people have a misconception about those that like to strip down.

“We are all pretty normal,” he said. “We do normal things and have normal lives just like everyone else. We just prefer to be naked.”

Griffin said although a select few nudist groups cater to swingers, he said his will strictly be for virtuous activities, such as Bible readings, nature walks and going to resorts together.

There are no fees to join, and Griffin said the group is open to Christians of all backgrounds.

Ever since becoming a naturist at 18 years old, Griffin said he’s gained self-esteem. Griffin encourages others to experience a nonjudgmental atmosphere and liberating lifestyle.

“Everyone should try it at least once,” he said.

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    nice job, well done! nudists are just normal as you and me

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    Let’s enjoy this nudist life.

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    Let’s enjoy this nudist life.

  • Lamdba

    Adam and Eve first covered themselves when they were trying to hide from God. After they were evicted, it makes sense that God would give them clothes to help protect them against the harsh world outside of Eden.

    With context, the verse about Isaiah is even clearer. The command from God is “Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot.” The verse continues, “And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia…”

  • Boyd Allen

    Congratulations on your new group. I can see that pastor they quoted has very little knowledge of Church history or anything about what Adam and Eve did and what God did. If you want more information and support from a group that has been around for several years, you may want to contact me (see my FB account) and join up with Christian Nudist Convocation, where we are “not ashamed of the image and likeness of God”. We have annual events at different resorts. Two times at Lake Como in Florida!

  • Steve Yna NY

    The pastor quoted in opposition has a very naive view if both scripture and church history. The issue of nudity is diverse in both. The Bible portrays nudity like many things in life across a full spectrum ranging from negative through neutral to positive. It’s a well documented fact that baptisms were performed in the nude for mixed gender and all age groups for the first few centuries of church life. For a much more serious treatment of nudity and Christianity I recommend James Cunningham’s tome ‘Nudity and Christianity’ and the novel ‘Meet me at the River’ by David Hatton.


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