The nightmare world

I’ve written more than once about child sexual abuse, particularly in the context of the Catholic Church’s clergy crisis.  (For my personal experience of how that played out, see here.  To see all my articles on that subject, in reverse chronological order, click here.)  I also had not inconsiderable contact with child molesters and abusers as a prison chaplain.  I wrote about some cases in my memoir of prison ministry.

However, nothing can capture the agony of child abuse, mental, spiritual and physical, like the recollections of an abused child.  Moira Greyland is one such person.  Daughter of famed science fiction and fantasy author, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and her husband, convicted pedophile Walter H. Breen, she was abused by both of them, rampantly and repeatedly, for many years.  In a 2014 letter to blogger Deirdre Saoirse Moen, Ms. Greyland said this:

The first time she molested me, I was three. The last time, I was twelve, and able to walk away.

I put Walter in jail for molesting one boy. I had tried to intervene when I was 13 by telling Mother and Lisa, and they just moved him into his own apartment.

I had been living partially on couches since I was ten years old because of the out of control drugs, orgies, and constant flow of people in and out of our family “home.”

None of this should be news. Walter was a serial rapist with many, many, many victims (I named 22 to the cops) but Marion was far, far worse. She was cruel and violent, as well as completely out of her mind sexually. I am not her only victim, nor were her only victims girls.

There’s more at the link.  You can read here her more detailed account of her abuse, including her rape by her father, and the psychological conditioning and grooming from both her parents that still affects her.

Her brother, too, was the sexual victim of his parents.  He’s spoken about it here.  (If that screen is hard to read, highlight the text.  It will stand out from the background.)  It scarred him for life.

I live in an echo chamber where memories of yesterday can swell up into thunderstorms of thought and go rolling through my troubled valleys like a drunken Zeus hurtling thunderbolts in every direction laughing to raise the dead. And it does, corpses of memory before me shaking to the Monster Mash and filling my eyes with what I try so hard not to see.

Physical. Absolutely. But that is so much easier to bear than head games. Screaming is bad, but little whispers and threats work so much better to chill your blood and recreate being cold and naked hiding under tables hearing the shouting. To be “Bone Chewing Bear”, robbing the plates of every scrap of food you could find. Life got better as I got older and there was more money, but the earth could turn any day to seeing the big cat stalking in her skin. I flinch from hands and eyes and am very polite and patient day by day by…

Mental. My god, I have no way to say this. Words work so well on me; before long the raised hand I am cowering from becomes reflex. The face is the face of guessing moment by moment what she would bring. As I got older humiliation and embarrassment became the thing and more and more indirectly as time went by.

There was no believing she was getting better as you could not tell which one of her would wake up at any moment. It is so much easier to bear being hurt yourself than being blamed for someone hurting someone else. The shame from that alone is this boulder I have hanging around my neck.

Again, more at the link.

Now Ms. Greyland has written a book, ‘The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon‘, describing, in detail, what it meant to grow up as the victim of such abuse.

The blurb reads as follows:

Marion Zimmer Bradley was a bestselling science fiction author, a feminist icon, and was awarded the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. She was best known for the Arthurian fiction novel THE MISTS OF AVALON and for her very popular Darkover series.

She was also a monster.

THE LAST CLOSET: The Dark Side of Avalon is a brutal tale of a harrowing childhood. It is the true story of predatory adults preying on the innocence of children without shame, guilt, or remorse. It is an eyewitness account of how high-minded utopian intellectuals, unchecked by law, tradition, religion, or morality, can create a literal Hell on Earth.

THE LAST CLOSET is also an inspiring story of survival. It is a powerful testimony to courage, to hope, and to faith. It is the story of Moira Greyland, the only daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and convicted child molester Walter Breen, told in her own words.

I think this is an extraordinarily important book.  I believe we all need to understand the horrifying impact of child sexual abuse on its victims.  Most of them can’t speak for themselves.  I commend and applaud Ms. Greyland’s courage in speaking out, not just for herself, but on their behalf, too.

On a personal note, I find this book a ghastly reminder of why I took the stand I did when the Catholic Church hierarchy signally failed (and has continued to fail to this day) to address the issue of clergy sexual abuse in any meaningful way.  I don’t think the bishops, archbishops and cardinals in general have any idea of just how horrifying is the reality of child sex abuse.  If they did, I can’t believe they would have allowed their neglect of the situation to continue for so long.  Nevertheless, they did . . . and the result for the Church has been catastrophic.  By their wrong actions and deliberate inaction, they have destroyed the faith of millions – their faith in the Church, certainly, and in tragically many cases, their faith in God too.  That destruction will be weighed in the scales against them when they come to the Judgment we all must face.  I would not like to be in their shoes when that happens.

I can only suggest most strongly that you read Ms. Greyland’s book for yourself.  Right now, today, there are tens of thousands of children among us who are going through what she went through.  May her story motivate all of us to do better for them, to help them escape their living nightmare;  and may all of us do our utmost to ensure that those who abuse them are prevented from ever doing so again.  Furthermore, may all those seeking to justify such abuse (for example, NAMBLA and its supporters) be publicly called out for the scum they are.  Let them be treated in the same way as abusers.  They deserve no less.



  1. Though its probably bad to think it, I hope that there is an especially bad place in Hell reserved for people who choose to victimize children. God forgive me, but I cannot believe otherwise.

  2. Celibacy is considered a contributing factor to sexual abuse cases in the Catholic and I believe you wrote about it too. I cannot rule out it might be so, but since,as it seems, it appears also in families as well as in places which reek with promiscuity (Hollywood), I am not certain whether abolition of celibacy may help considerably, as the issue might be much more complex. Incidentally, do you think that conspiracy theories claiming that pedophilia in Church was implemented from outside (for instance, by means of psychological manipulation) have anything to do with reality?

  3. The recurrent theme in all this is homosexual/bisexual child molestation, and the political correctness designed to protect it. The catholic clergy is by and large homosexual from it's top down. Child molestation is a major component od ALL homosexuality. That's why they rape children. Bisexuals are often worse. Becoming addicted to S&M life stiles and child rape, in a never ending search for anything that will alleviate there bottomless lust's. The recurrent story's of drug abuse, child abuse, homo/bi sexual orgy's and rampant insanity among leftist in general, but in FEMALES who become perverts in particular should be a red flag for everyone. But it isn't. It is a mental defect, and one for which there is no cure but the grave.

  4. The Catholic church has recruited gays to be priests for generations now. The seminaries are orgy halls, and straight men are actively abused and discriminated against by the overwhelmingly gay faculty and student bodies. Why, then, should we expect priests to be other than what they learned in school? The bishops know the cost of abuse – they simply don't care. Protecting their gay brethren of the cloth is much more important than ministering to the afflicted – especially when the priests and bishops themselves are most definitely not without sin.

    I don't hate the Catholic church, even though I'm a heathen Protestant heretic. I do hate what it's become. "And He said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." "For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD."

  5. @Anonymous at 8:02 AM: Sorry, but you're flat-out wrong. Don't offer opinions or polemics without any facts to back them up. You're pushing an agenda, not the truth – and that's not welcome here.

  6. @McChuck: See my previous comment. You're wrong. I know from first-hand experience. Yes, there are gay Catholic priests; but the same applies to every vocation and avocation. Yes, they should not be there; but don't tar all priests with the same brush, because that's factually incorrect.

  7. Heh. I was wondering what your reaction was going to be, Peter. Nothing like having someone tell you 'oh it's like this' when you know damn well it's not because you've actually BEEN THERE.


  8. One of the most necessary steps in treating abusers and enablers as they should be treated would be to grab politicians by he ear and make them revise the 'sex offender' registers so that they really are limited to sexual predators. A schmuck who had sex with a girl when he was 19, she said she was 18, and she was 15 is not a predator. Some shame who was seen pissing on a tree is not a predator. By throwing every kind of bozo they can think of onto the registers the politicians have made them useless.

  9. It's a pity that in his introduction Vox Day inaccurately states that Arthur C. Clarke relocated from Southern California to Sri Lanka, implying a possible link with the terrible story Moira Greyland has to tell. Arthur was British, and as far as I know never lived in Southern California.

  10. I hate to see people slam all Catholic priests as pedophiles. Most aren't. Most hate the existence of pedophilia in the church. But the way the organization as a whole has tackled the issue is an abomination. It isn't me who pulled away from the Church, Inc., but the Church, Inc. who pulled away from me, through this abuse and their politics. I miss the old church.

    I was an altar boy for 5 years and was never ever abused, touched, intimidated, flashed or anything. All I learned from serving was a deep spirituality that to this day touches my soul.

    As to child abuse, I live with the victim of such. My lovely wife suffered horrors and abuse that would easily make a Lifetime mini-series. It has taken over 35 years to fix most, most, of the issues and quirks that she had. There is such beauty in the brittleness of her soul, but I wish I could have seen the beauty before she was broken by her family, her church, the state. The betrayal by her mother to her father is something she is still trying to deal with.

    It sickens me that there is a segment of the population that is pushing for legalization and acceptance of this depravity. It is strange that the treatment of these pervs by the general prison population is more to my liking than is more socially acceptable these days. I really think Vlad Tepes had the right idea about some things.

  11. Not All Priests Are Like That. #NotAllBishops
    But too many are, and the Church does nothing – I simply agree with you, Peter, and am trying to find a cause. There have literally been books published to document the abuses in seminaries. I am a firm believer in the adages "We are the children of children and we live as we are shown." and "Give me the boy and I will give you the man."

    This has gone on for far too long, and is too wide spread, for it to be individual instances. This level of corruption must be corporate informal policy or culture. I do not say that it is the formal policy of the Church – but what shall we call the tacit acceptance and broad scale hiding of such acts?

    Pedophiles must be put down, for the sake of future generations. This is one of the real problems with Arab culture – almost all boys are abused by their elders, and grow up to be pedophiles themselves. Many gays are made, not born, and taught by example to prey upon boys.

  12. Damn, just damn. I had no idea MZB was such a monster. I enjoyed her "Darkover" stories. If I had known I'd never bought any of her books. 😠

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