Who Knew?

Some online naturist friends from Twitter have been featured by various news outlets recently for wanting to spend Christmas nude. I made the mistake of reading several of the comments under some of their stories. In a way, I’m glad I did, however. I knew a negative bias exists against naturists, since I once held those very antagonistic beliefs. But after years of being more open minded and free in my views, I needed a reminder of the pervasive ignorance that is out there, and these comments emphasized this point and then some. This is another reason Aching for Eden exists and why I have enjoyed reading from the relatively small niche of naturist fiction books. They are doing what they can to offer a level-headed and accurate portrayal of what naturism actually is. It is not at all what the general public thinks or imagines it might be. Naturist fiction is a great way to normalize naturism against the tide of popular opinion.

We’ve reviewed a few different books and authors on this blog (here, here, and here). Over the holidays, I got to read another book that I had preordered on kindle and just came out. That is the subject of this quick review.

“Who Knew?” by Rowland Jr. was a pleasant Christmas treat. According to the about the author page, “Rowland Jr was a former University Professor, who in early life lived and worked in numerous locations around the world. Still working into his late seventies right up until his death in March of 2021, even attending conferences worldwide when his expertise and knowledge were required, he wrote profusely on many subjects, both fiction and non-fiction and on many fora. He was a published author, and a devoted and blissfully happy husband and proud father with an unshakable faith. He loved books and buying books, was a cheese connoisseur with a fascination for ravens and a love of naturism.” This story was first published in 2016 on naturist-Christians, but in this form this year. I did not know Rowland Jr. while he was alive, but I very much appreciate his offering into this much needed space of both information and inspiration.

Going back to the intro of this post, the stories and situations in this book, though fictional, could come from real life. As a naturist, I can relate and envision how these scenarios in the book could play out in my own relationships or acquaintances. There are accurate portrayals of the knee jerk reactions of people who are outside of the know when they hear about naturism for the first time. This is a lot like the ignorant comments I mentioned before on Twitter. What I love about naturist fiction is the affirmation of my own beliefs manifested in other characters and their interactions with others. It gives me a good sense of relief in knowing, “I’m not crazy!” Left to the crowd-sourced opinions of most everybody, you’d be left to assume that we are all crazy. However, when you really study what naturism actually is, those opinions are shown to be the actual crazy positions. In naturist fiction like “Who Knew?” and others, young people who are from naturist families prove to be more well adjusted in life over their non-naturist counterparts. The craziness of naturism becomes the better philosophy over the common alternative of body shame and squeamishness. 

“Who Knew?” is a nice story with several interesting characters and plot points. As a naturist, it’s a delight to read. What’s more? As a Christian naturist, the scenes depicting Christians who are also naturists are entirely relatable. What seems so outlandish to so many becomes humorous to those in the know. In “Who Knew?” there are pastors and deacons and church leaders who happen to enjoy the freedom of clothes free living from time to time. In real life, the same is true. Who knew?

There are also those whose practice of religion forbids them from ever entertaining the idea, let alone studying to see how it reconciles with God’s original intent in scripture. In “Who Knew?” and in real life, it’s their loss.

One more pleasant surprise in this Kindle volume, is the original artwork done by Ben Nijssen throughout the book. Get your own copy today.

Click the image to see on Amazon.

You may also read about other fiction featured on this blog:

Chain Breakers by R. B. Mears

Muse by David L. Hatton

Novels by D. H. Jonathan

D.H. Jonathan’s Books

This is a review of the naturist fiction novels of D.H. Jonathan. If you read this blog often, you may have already heard of D.H. Jonathan, even if you don’t know it. It’s the pen name of our friend Dan Hawkins, who we have featured a couple of times already. Here’s a video of Dan explaining his books, and then I will share my thoughts. The transcript is included at the bottom, if you don’t want to watch the video which features nudity.

As Dan stated in the video, these aren’t Christian books. However, they have some Christian themes coming through them. They are meant for a wider audience, not just the very small niche that is Christian naturism. I appreciate this approach, to introduce some Christian ideas and concepts in a non-threatening and tactful way. For this reason, there are also some elements in the stories that might make some Christian uncomfortable. Some language. Some eroticism. However, his characters are portrayed as real, and that these things are to be expected. He will be the first to admit that the characters have some wrong ideas about nudity and grow through them as the stories develop. I can commend Dan on this authentic progression.

I’ve read all three novels. I think my favorite is his newest, “The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes.” Here is one section that resonated with me quite a bit:

“Tell me,” Don said, “have you ever heard of Imago Dei?” Adam wasn’t sure he heard him correctly, so he just shook his head no. “It’s Latin for ‘Image of God’. Genesis says that we, human beings, were created in that image of God. When God was almost finished with creation, he called it ‘good’. Then he made us human beings. And he called that ‘very good’. We were made in the image of God, and it was that image that upgraded creation from good to very good. So when we humans call the nude body obscene, call ourselves obscene in fact, we are also calling that image of God obscene. I cannot abide that, especially in this day and age when the Internet has given us an epidemic of pornography.” “Pornography?” “Yes. A pandemic of it.” Adam scratched his head. “You know, a lot of people called Dani’s Stossel episode pornographic.” “And therein lies the problem. When people, and especially those within the church, take a pornographic or sexualized view of the body, they become unable to distinguish between what God has called very good and what Satan has used for lies.” “So you are anti-pornography?” “Oh yes. Absolutely. Pornography is one big lie. It’s addictive and destructive, both of those who make it and those who consume it.” “But you don’t think what I’m trying to do is pornography?” “What is it you’re trying to do?” That was a good question, Adam thought. (page 164)

And later this excerpt:

He took a long pause, looking out at everyone in the makeshift pews. “I’m going to be honest with you. We have a pornography epidemic. And I’m not talking about in the world; I’m talking about within the church. And not just within the church membership. Within the clergy.” He paused again, as if to let what he had just said sink in. “In one survey I’ve seen, 63 percent of pastors confirmed that they are struggling with secret sexual addiction or compulsion, including, but not limited to, the use of pornography. 63 percent. And what does it tell us that 63 percent of the people who are supposed to be guiding us have a problem with pornography? First, what is pornography? What is its essence? Pornography is a lie. A lie from Satan. It lies about how people look, how people act, how one can achieve pleasure with no responsibility, no consequences, no sacrifice, no patience, no kindness, no love. And how do you counter lies?” He paused, and Dani heard a few people mumble “Truth.” “Truth,” the pastor said, holding up a Bible. “Truth. Truth is not found in the rules of society, in legalism. Truth is found here, in the word of God. (page 206)

So you can see here that there are sections with the naked truth being revealed and propped up in stark contrast to the lies we have typically believed. This is done in a way that is both entertaining and inspirational. He pulls from his own experience, mostly in his “Life Models” book, but also asks himself what the characters in all his stories may be feeling. Those raw emotions come through the pages in very real ways that you as the reader can sympathize with and feel.

If you haven’t read anything from D.H. Jonathan, you may want to add him to your reading list!

Click on the book covers to view on Amazon:

For more on Dan, see “Meet Dan Hawkins” and “When Naturism Gets Misunderstood.”

Transcript of video:

I’m an author right under the pen name D. H. Jonathan, which is actually kind of a variation of my real name because I was blessed with two middle names Daniel Hoyt Jonathan Hawkins. So I’m up here names, dates, Jonathan, the first novel is called “The Volunteer.” It’s about a an experiment in public nudity. And it’s kind of an idea I had, you know, modeling for a class and having to get dressed to leave.

I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could just be naked all the time?” So I started turning that idea into a novel and then to draw up more conflict I thought, “Well, what if somebody had to be naked?” Well, that changed the whole the whole idea around. And then the second novel is called “Life Models.”

And I worked on that a lot longer than I worked on “The Volunteer.” It’s fiction. There are some things in it, some just episodes that actually happened. But the whole story is just fictional, made up, and it’s basically a love story between two people who model together for an art class, and that’s how they met. And actually, the genesis of that idea came from watching a movie called “When Harry Met Sally.” And when Harry met Sally there are these scenes that are intercut with the main part of the movie where couples or older couples are sitting on the couch talking about how they met. And I remember the first time I watched it, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if this old couple came on and talked about how they were both naked when they first met?” So that was the genesis of what became “Life Models,” because I started thinking, well, how can I have two people first, me naked and just modeling for our class?

I just went with it. And of course, there’s a lot of of me in that book, a lot more so than “The Volunteer.” They both delve into the faith of the characters, Christianity, but they’re not really Christian novels. I wouldn’t call them faith based novels. I never really considered writing a faith-based novel because I always thought it was like preaching to the choir.

I want to reach a wider audience, and even if I just put a hint of faith or Christianity in it, maybe, maybe somebody will get an idea that, “Hey, you can be a nudist and a Christian at the same time.” Because most people, especially people I’ve gone to church with see them as incompatible, because that’s what we’re taught by society, that naturism and Christianity are two separate things.