Nude Sailing

imageChildhood Sailing

As a boy, my dad taught me to sail.  I loved it.  We sailed often.  When I married and started raising a family, our first recreational purchase was a 16′ catamaran.  My children will recall many, many exciting memories of sailing through the surf in the Gulf of Mexico.  With crashing waves and strong wind, catamaran sailing is more thrilling & exhilarating than the most extreme roller coaster.  I still have a 19′ Nacra sitting in the garage.

At the not so advanced age of 63, my days at sea are no longer frequent.  But…..with whispers of nude sailing, my windy, watery sport may be winging its way to new life.

Hearing Restored With Nudity

A few days ago, I was outfitted with hearing aids for the first time.  My doctor is an attractive woman, somewhere in her thirties. She applied the miniature devices to my ears.  A round disc shaped object was hung from my neck.  I was seated in front of another and larger disc.  Wires were strung from both these devices, connecting them to a computer.  Testing, programming and fine tuning began.  The doctor: “Sally sells sea shells on the sea shore. How did that sound?” And so it went.

Between adjustments and repeated tests, we small talked.  Until….she said something about sailing.  Rarely, do you run into a fellow sailor.  Once she knew of our mutual hobby, the fitting stopped and she began regaling me of her maritime adventures. They had begun at age 9 on the Chesapeake Bay.  She recounted her sailing history; the lessons, the boats, the storms, the fun, the excitement.  Right up to this past weekend.

Then this: “Last week I was in a NUDE sailing competition with my daughter.” I had been listening with great interest.  Now my attention was riveted.  NUDE SAILING?  What the heck!  She said it so casually that it wasn’t appropriate to drop my jaw.  But, mentally, my jaw dropped completely open.  NUDE SAILING?  A BARE NAKED COMPETITION?

Suddenly, visions were dancing in my head. Not of sugar plums, something else instead.  Naked on a small sailboat?  With others all about?  How do you do that?  What does it look like?  Pulling the rudder, trimming the sails, holding the sheets.  Bending and twisting in the waves and the wind.  Sunscreen?  Tan lines?  Coed?  What??  NUDE SAILING???  And, a competition, to boot?

But, wait, maybe the new devices weren’t working well.  Maybe I just misheard.  Could it have been crude, or prude, or lewd?  Wait a minute.  Now, I’m just thinking of things that might be connected with NUDE.

Not missing a beat, she kept talking.  Then, my thoughts went back 30 years.  My dad, my 3 brothers and I rented a large sailboat in the Caribbean.  For 7 days we sailed from one island to the next.  The little French isle of St. Bart’s held an eye-popping surprise.  We anchored in a small uninhabited cove.  Beautiful water, beach, vegetation.  Another boat pulled into the same protected harbor.  Maybe 50 yards away.

Before long, everybody on our boat had detected something intriguing about their boat. We were clad in swimsuits. They were clad in none. Necked they were.  I didn’t want to stare, with my dad and brothers there.  But….I wanted to stare….just like my dad and brothers, who were there.  So, we all stole furtive glances until sunset.

Finally, my curiosity couldn’t be contained. Timidly, I queried, “The hearing aids might need more adjustment.  I’m sure this can’t be right, but did you say NUDE sailing?”

Her response was a mischievous giggle.  Uh…oh….what now?  I’m just getting hearing aids, right?  I hope?

Chuckling, she replied, “I did say nude sailing. But, that’s N…O…O…D.  It stands for National Offshore One-Design.” We got a good laugh out of the misunderstanding. Now, we both knew that my hearing was crystal clear.

New, but Not NUDE, Couple in the Hood

A few years ago, my wife and I sponsored a get-together for National Night Out.  We distributed flyers, set out chairs & tables, ice cream & treats. Two men walked up our driveway and politely introduced themselves.  They had recently moved into the neighborhood and hadn’t met many neighbors, yet.  They were a delightful COUPLE. That’s right. They were a gay couple. The first one that I’d ever met. And….they had 2 adopted children. Within a few short months they had moved away.

This encounter got me thinking about the Mormon church’s stance on gay people. Would accommodations ever be made to allow room for them in our religion?  My wife and I discussed it.  I don’t know why I spent time considering the issue.  I just did.  Finally, I came to the conclusion that somehow changes would have to be made.  Somehow gay couples would have to be included.  Because….there are children involved!  Jesus made a point to point out that he loves all children. Without the parents, these children would likely remain unreachable.  Children are treasured much more by the Savior than any policy.

Little did I know that the church would soon move in the polar opposite direction.

The New, and NUDE, November Policy

November 2015 held a shocking surprise. A church wide policy was announced.  Gay couples, who have the audacity to engage in legal and lawful marriage, would be declared apostate.  Children of gay parents were to be stripped of their right to baby blessings, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and temple attendance.

A friend of mine is married to the love of her life.  Two women with five children between them.  Their darling family of 7 were active believing members.  In faith, this couple had managed to cope with the church’s stance on being gay.  How much faith does THAT require?  I can only imagine the difficulty.  Never-the-less, their righteous desire was to see their children raised in the church.

November changed all that.  The edict from Salt Lake City crushed their faith. This precious family of 7 no longer attends.  A few days ago, the bishop contacted my friend to schedule their disciplinary council.  Insult added to injury.

This new policy has been dressed up as a pronouncement of love & protection for the little ones with gay parents.  But, when all the rhetoric is stripped away, it’s a just a NAKED program of rejection, exclusion and stigma.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus gently counseled that the pathway to heaven was traveled by reaching out to the “least of these.”  Two thousand years later, we have resorted to casting them out.

18 thoughts on “Nude Sailing

  1. I would be embarrassed to sail nude. However, I’m sure I would enjoy seeing others sail nude, (if she were the right gender and shape, and I don’t mean the boat).

    Similarly, I would be embarrassed by such a policy toward gays and/or children. Unfortunately, unlike sailing nude, it isn’t more attractive when others are the ones doing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really had a laugh trying to imagine how I would react to the NUDE/NOOD sailing discussion. I doubt that I would have had your composure. I am afraid that I would have fallen out of the chair laughing. I admire your sensitivity.
    As you are aware, I disagree with the Nov. gay’s children’s policy. I don’t understand it and would have liked to have been a fly on the wall as that discussion took place. I am sure that the Brethren must have discussed the Fundamentalist policy which I believe is the same. I would think that the legal ramifications of allowing this to continue (ie, fathers or mothers who didn’t want their children blessed or baptized into the church) was also discussed. Because I don’t know what their reasoning was, I accept it and voice to my Stake President during a Temple Recommend interview that I don’t agree. I would like to hear the policy explained in a way that I could understand how this makes Heavenly Father and Jesus happy. My heart breaks for your friends who wanted to raise their children in the Church. I must admit, I am a bit confused as to how they would teach them of the plan of salvation and celestial marriage. Would it be a do as I say, not as I do talk. How do teachers teach children of a gay couple the same thing without making them feel that they are different? My friend, who is legally married to his husband, made the statement that he still believes in the church that Joseph restored as Christ’s Church on the earth today. But since they don’t accept them and have excommunicated them, they attend a Catholic Church in SLC where they feel accepted. He wants the LDS Church to accept the fact that he and his husband are Telestial beings and that they have accepted this and welcome them and forget that they are living in a lifestyle that goes against the doctrines of the Church. I don’t know how the Church can do that. We can not forsake the Plan of Salvation that we all agreed to in the Pre-Existence. I am in a quandary on this matter because I don’t want the children to suffer, but I also don’t know the answer to this question either. I don’t think anyone buy Heavenly Father and Jesus know and that we are just going to be patient with this matter. We are going to have to have faith that They will work this out in their time frame and not ours.


  3. Two thoughts. First of all let the church say amen to your comments about gay couples and the November policy. Secondly don’t discount nude recreation either sailing or what ever. As a temple recommend holding GD teacher and card carrying nudist/naturist I can testify it’s a lot of fun. Plus I’m not alone:

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh GBSmith,

      I love to laugh. I only got to “Secondly, don’t discount nude recreation.” A loud and happy guffaw was unleashed. Never had I heard a whiff of LDS nudists. Are you open with your ward members about it?

      I think I’d really like to visit your GD class.

      Thanks for reading my blog in the raw! Feel free to share it in your Skinny Dipper Forum. Still chuckling.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bro. Young, in regards to your question “Are you open with your ward members about it?”, in a word, no. SS is exciting enough as it is.

    On a serious note you’re doing a good work and God bless you for it. Leadership needs to know how we feel and that we’re not going anywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The second great commandment is to love our neighbor as ourself. This is Christ’s own words. If there were any doubt, I would choose this over some silly passage in Leviticus…
    and even so, that is their problem, not ours. We are to love, it is only God’s place to judge.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Mr. Bitherwack,

      “Silly passage in Leviticus?” You realize that we have modern LDS scripture that backs up the imperfect, “as far as it’s translated correctly,” bible.

      Take, for instance the Book of Mormon. It was written specifically to address the issues of our day. The most correct book on the planet. We get closer to God by obeying its precepts than any other religious volume. The keystone of our religion. The FULLNESS of the gospel flows in it’s pages. No translational errors possible. Twenty four hundred years of God’s prophetic words to his American prophets. When the Book of Mormon harshly condemns homosexuality, we know God must be serious about kicking them out and punishing their children. Oh….dang….whoops! I forgot…… The greatest book prepared by God to address modern problems is……totally silent. No mention, No condemnation. No exclusion.

      OK, Mr. Bitherwack, we have to give the Book of Mormon a break. After all, it is ancient scripture. It’s highly likely, that over it’s twenty four hundred year historical span, there were no gay people in America. So, God had no need to talk to his prophets about the non-existent gay population.

      This brings us to our really modern scripture. Scripture given to modern prophets in our modern era. We call it the Doctrine and Covenants. It contains God’s canonized doctrine. When the D&C harshly condemns homosexuality, we know God must be serious about kicking thm out and punishing their children. Oh….dang…..whoops! How could I forget….again. Not a section, not a sentence, not a word, not a modern peep about our modern problem with homosexuality.

      So, Dear Br. Bitherwack, maybe I should just agree. Loving and non-judgmental is the way to be.

      Thanks for reading my blog!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The native Americans did have LGBT humans. They were/ are called the 2 spirit people and they were highly celebrated and revered until the Christians came along.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t pretend to know why this action was taken, other than to keep temple marriages between one man and one woman. I don’t like that any child is denied the blessings they deserve. Luckily, Heavenly Father, Himself, still blesses the faithful and the little children, even without the priesthood. This is something I will leave in His hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Lani,

    Like you, I think the issue of the children is a big sticking point for many.

    Thanks for your comment. Your insight and wisdom are always appreciated here.


  8. Sam, I understand you are going through many questions. The point is do you have a testomony of the gospel of Jesus Christ? I am sure you also know church court is an act of love. We know the Lords word on charity and the family it is his word and out prophet has the keys to act. Yes I agree Jesus does love children and the responsibility is on the parents. Many children have to wait till they are 18 to join the church for many different reasons, my two best friends growing up where some of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Sherri,
    The gospel of Jesus Christ? I have chosen to follow the teachings and example of Jesus. My faith in and commitment to Him are stronger than ever. In fact, I now love Jesus, His church, His apostles, and the “least of these” enough that I’m willing to give my honest opinion when asked. After all, Jesus has told His leaders to ask for our opinion 4 times a year.

    And, wow, you read my blog. Cool!


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