I complain endlessly about the draconian rules; the utter absence of art and literature; the tedium of Sunday school class; the preacher screaming about God's hatred three times a week; . But I also remember having a lot of fun. Finding loopholes in the rules, or ways to ignore them altogether, was a never-ending game. Protesting worldly evil was exciting.
And the homoerotic activity was constant. There was as much, or more, hugging and fondling going on as in any gay bar in the world.
Here are 20 Nazarene grabs, gropes, bulges, boners, and sausage sightings, plus a few guys that I just crushed on.
1.No Divorce. They told me incessantly that my destiny was to marry a girl. But Brother Hanson married a girl and then got out of it through a "divorce." Of course, he couldn't be Minister of Music afterwards, but that was a small price to pay for the freedom to live with a boy.
2. No Movies. We weren't supposed to even set foot inside a movie theater. But when a cute boy named Gary invited me to a movie, I had to make a choice. The first of many spiritual crises in my childhood.
3. Gospel Singers. Sometimes had guest singers, usually all-male groups that pretended to be brothers, lest anyone suspect. When the Sanderson Brothers became our summer camp counselors, I found an ingenious way to get a Sausage Sighting.
4. No Premarital Kissing. Or sex, either. This was fine with me, but it left the question of what sex involves. One year at Manville Camp, an older boy named Marty was happy to demonstrate.
5. No Dancing. Not even in physical education class or "in the guise of folk dancing." Except at Washington Junior High, we had a required dance every Friday afternoon. In eighth grade, I convinced a black-haired 7th grader named Brett to dance with me and psych out the teachers.
6. No Evolution. The Bible Missionaries were even more conservative than Nazarenes, and thought of us as heretical libertines. I thought it was quite a coups when Micah the Bible Missionary Boy accepted an invitation to my house to fight a common enemy, "evil-lution."
7. Summer Camp. A week every summer of deadly-dull Bible studies, sports, and endless screaming sermons. But when our junior high Sunday school teacher, Brother Dino, became our counselor one year, I saw him naked in the shower. Major Sausage Sighting.
8. The Prospect List. People who came to Sunday school or church, even once, were put on a special list. We were supposed to call, write, or visit them regularly to invite them back and try to win their souls. It rarely worked, but one summer I managed to befriend Frank, a boy my age who went to the Catholic school.
9. Olivet. If we went to college at all, it had to be Olivet, the Nazarene college on the prairie, where all of the boys were training to be ministers, and all of the girls, to be their wives. While we were visiting during a prospective student weekend, a ministerial student named Rick, kissing his girlfriend on a couch on the other side of the room...
10. The Altar Call. At the end of most services, the preacher invited those who needed to "get right with God" to come down to the altar and kneel, whereupon members of the same sex would grab, hug, and hold them to help them "pray through to victory." I got a lot of hugging, groping, and bulge-viewing that way, but I especially wanted Phil, the President of the Youth Society, the cutest and coolest boy I ever met. But he never went down. I had to get him to sin, so he would go.
The full list, with uncensored photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.