One Saturday in June of ninth grade, we were driving through Moline, the next town over from Rock Island, and we passed a building I had never seen before: a three-story tall tombstone, all skeleton-white, with sinister black windows and odd symbols on the roof. The sign said "Scottish Rite Cathedral."
"Rite" meant "ritual," and "Cathedral" sounded Catholic, which to Nazarenes meant the epitome of degradation, debauchery, and unbrindled evil.
"Is that a Catholic church?" I asked breathlessly.
"Worse than that," Dad said. "It's a Masonic Temple. A secret society, like a club for men. They go in there to get naked and drink human blood and worship Satan. And they especially like to drink boys' blood, so be sure to stay far away."
"Secret societies" were on the list of things forbidden to Nazarenes. But they were near the end of a very long list, and preachers and Sunday school teachers usually devoted their time to more immediate sins, like going to movies or eating out on Sunday. And I wanted to know more about men getting naked.
The next afternoon, during the down time between youth choir and NYPS, they were playing basketball in the church parking lot. I approached.
"Think fast!" Dave yelled, throwing the basketball at me. I dodged it -- I hated sports.
"What a dork!" Terry exclaimed as he ran to retrieve it. They ignored me to continue their game.
"Um...I was wondering...what do you know about the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Moline? Dad said they kidnap and torture kids inside."
Dave stopped playing, and grew quiet and solemn. "Oh, your Dad's right. You don't want to go near that place. Terry was trapped by them for awhile, before he got saved."
"The Masons have a special cult for boys called the DeMolay," Terry said. "That's short for demolish."
"What do they do to the boys?" I asked.
"Oh, all sorts of weird, disgusting things. Like...they make them drink blood."
"And eat human eyeballs!" Terry said. "Don't forget the eyeballs."
Dave nodded. "And they make the Demolish boys run across hot coals. And take off their clothes so everybody can see their wieners."
Terry wrapped his arm around my shoulders and leaned in conspiratorily. "Then they make the poor scared boys kiss each other on the lips!"
"Bogus!" I exclaimed, although I didn't really think it was bogus at all.
Dave wrapped his arm around my shoulders also. "That's not the worst of it. While they're kissing, the Demolish boys have to touch each other down there!"
"They're having a Demolish Boy meeting Wednesday night," Dave said. "We may be able to arrange a little sneak and peek, if you're interested."
"If you have a strong stomach," Terry added. "It's intense."
The full story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.