FW: Your actions as President of the American Section, the Theosophical Society
Aug 06, 1996 05:59 PM
by Radda Bai
Forwarded for your review and comments
> Date: Tuesday, August 06, 1996 5:10 PM
> To: John Algeo
> Subject: Your actions as President of the American Section, the
> Theosophical Society
> In my last letter to you, I tried to open a conversation/dialogue
> which would have proved much more cordial. You had stated that:
> "I do not like to engage in correspondence with an anonymous
> writer because if someone is not willing to identify themselves
> openly, I see no reason to reply." You kept you word, even though
> I told you that my Alias is Real, Legal, and as acceptable as
> your "Christian" name. Please read the following letter in full,
> and submit replies to THEOS-L@VNET.NET with, if you would, cc to
> my address.
> In the weeks after having received the "Late Summer 1996" issue
> of The American Theosophist, I, as well as MANY others, have
> become very concerned about the obvious difference of Oficial vs
> Unoficial position regarding "Freedom of Thought". The official
> statment, from you, per the current newsletter, is as follows:
> "As The Theosophical Society has spread far and wide over the
> world, and as members of all religions have become members of it
> without surrendering the special dogmas, teachings, and beliefs
> of their respective faiths, it is thought desirable to emphasize
> the fact that THERE IS NO DOCTORINE, NO OPINION, BY WHOMSOEVER
> TAUGHT OR HELD, THAT IS IN ANY WAY TAUGHT OR HELD, THAT IS IN ANY
> WAY BINDING ON ANY MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY, NONE WHICH ANY MEMBER
> IS NOT FREE TO ACCEPT OR REJECT. APPROVAL OF IT"S THREE OBJECTS
> IS THE SOLE CONSIDERATION OF MEMBERSHIP. No teacher or writer
> from H.P.Blavatsky downwards, has any authority to impose his
> teachings or opinions on members. Every member has an equal
> right to attach himself to any school of thouht which he may
> choose, but [members or officers of the society] HAS NO RIGHT TO
> FORCE HIS CHOICE ON ANY OTHER [MEMBER]..."
> While this is the OFFICIAL position of both the International
> Society and the American Section, the discussions presented on
> the Theos-L newslist appear to have proven that this is complete
> disagreement with the actions of both the International Body,
> acting under Radha Burnier, and with the American Section, acting
> under you, Mr. President. I include the following to confirm
> this assertion:
> > August 1, 1996
> > I discovered that the Danish National Section was expelled by
> > Adyar in 1989 primarily for what appears to me to be
> > overemphasizing the Alice Bailey teachings.
> > I discovered that the Boston Lodge was expelled from TSA in 1993
> > primarily for what appears to me to be overemphasizing the Alice
> > Bailey teachings.
> > I also discovered that the Canadian National Section was expelled
> > by Adyar in 1992.
> > I discovered that the Yugoslavian National Section was expelled
> > by Adyar in 1984.
> > At the Theosophical Society in Miami & South Florida we have
> > hanging on the wall a beautifully framed rendering of the 3
> > declared objects. When prospective new members inquire about
> > membership requirements, we show them the National Membership
> > Application, and point to our framed rendering of the Objects.
> > Indeed, the National Membership Application in 1996 has imposed
> > no further requirements than the application I signed in 1978.
> > The sole membership requirement as stated continues simply, to be
> > in sympathy with the 3 declared objects.
> > But now that we at Miami know what happened in Denmark and in
> > Boston, it has become an embarassment to continue to say this to
> > prospective new members. And I would be embarassed if I were the
> > AT editor and made the reply to Mr. Van Thiel that was made. If
> > the AT Editor really means what he replied to Mr.
> > Van Thiel, then why has there been no move on the part of the TSA
> > officers to redress what was done to the Boston Lodge and make an
> > effort to bring them back into the larger Society? Similarly, why
> > has there been no move on the part of Adyar to bring Denmark and
> > Canada back into the larger Society? So far as I know, even as
> > recently as the July convention, there has been no move on the
> > part of the officers of TSA to take any positive steps in this
> > direction.
> > August 4, 1996
> > So I consulted the national bylaws as published in Early Autumn
> > 1995 issue of American Theosophist (AT) and John AlgeoFs articles
> > in most recent issues of AT to see what's going on.
> > It looks like those expulsions WERE legal! Bylaw 9, Section 6
> > says in part:
> > "Section 6. Cancellation of a Charter. Whenever in the opinion
> > of the Board of Directors a lodge has ceased to perform the
> > functions for which it was chartered, or shall have engaged in
> > activities contrary to the best interests of the Society, or
> > shall have failed to abide by its own bylaws or those of the
> > national Society, <snip> the Board shall by resolution declare
> > that lodge to be inactive."
> > So it's clear enough: The Board of Directors has full authority
> > to dissolve local lodges if something goes wrong. In general it
> > is OK with me except a vague phrase, "activities contrary to the
> > best interests of the Society" that seems to be unacceptable. I
> > believe it is this provision that has been used to expel the
> > Boston group, right? It's highly subjective. Who is going to
> > judge about it? Obviously the Board as is implied by Bylaw 7,
> > Section 1. So it seems that this provision gives the Board an
> > enormous, virtually unlimited power over local lodges.
> > I am VERY concerned about that provision because I came as a
> > refugee to this country from the former Soviet Union, and I know
> > very well how many crimes very commited against many Soviet
> > citizens--all "in the best interests" of the people. Exactly the
> > same phrase, "in the best interests of..." (substitute your pet
> > interests) was available in the Soviet Constitution, too, so it
> > may serve as an excellent tool of manipulation.
> > August 4, 1996 (Number 2)
> > Unfortunately, the bylaws make it extremely easy to expel the
> > members. Section 9 "Termination of Membership" of bylaw 4 says
> > in part:
> > "(b) Membership may be rescinded by a two-thirds or greater vote
> > of the Board of Directors on recommendation of the National
> > President." There is absolutely no qualifying statement as to why
> > and under what circumstances the President may give such a
> > recommendation and the Board may approve it--all that is left to
> > their personal opinion and judgment.
> > So, in the light of these findings, what John Algeo replied to
> > Mathias van Thiel is nothing else than hypocrisy.
> > August 4, 1996 (Number 3)
> > The situation is worse than surmise(d). The purported bylaws as
> > revised in January give Wheaton even more draconian power over
> > members and lodges than heretofore. Purported bylaw 4, section 9
> > from which ... quotes is one of the revisions. Purported bylaw
> > 9 concerning Lodges, Study Centers and Federations was changed
> > even more drastically.
> > However, these changes and the entire bylaw referendum was
> > challenged by myself and 6 other Lodge Presidents (3 of whom are
> > lawyers), with official notification to TSA officers and
> > directors in December, 1995, because of numerous irregularities
> > in the procedure for passage of these changes. In our view the
> > changes could not be adopted validly by the membership of TSA for
> > want of a proper submission. The TSA officers and directors have
> > disagreed with our objections and assume the purported bylaws as
> > revised are valid. We contend they are not.
> > August 6, 1996
> > Even some that are generally strong supporters of the established
> > organizations - that would tend to give them the benefit of the
> > doubt - have wound up getting almost appalled at the nature and
> > extent of what is going on. It seems there is a substantial
> > power play going on right now - an effort by a few to completely
> > control both the legal and ideological future of the TS. And the
> > way it has (IMO) been done up to now with little opposition is
> > through the complete control of the avenues of information ...
> > the TS publications and etc. There are many Theosophists in
> > Lodges, and probably the majority of at-large members that do not
> > even know the Boston Lodge, and even whole national sections,
> > have been expelled. Headquarters is playing hard-ball politics,
> > and doing it (at least in the short run) quite effectively - you
> > won't see the "official" point of view in TS publications,
> > because HQ does not even want it to be a topic of discussion. If
> > you were a member at large receiving only national publications,
> > to this day you would not know about the Boston massacre, not
> > know that there was anything but the mildest discussion about the
> > *illegal* by-laws changes made last year, etc., etc.
It appears as if the actions of both you and Radha, as well as
those of your predecessors, are leading down the creptitice which
will eventually result in another rift of our society. Would you
care to explain the above described actions, and provide a means
to settle the unrest within the society. As I told you in my
> I did not use any particulars in my original correspondance due
> to the abomitable treatment I received in Wheation when I was
> there last. My leaving of Olcott, on short notice after talking
> with you for 1 minute, cost me considerable funds, not to mention
> extreme embarassment.
If you fail to respond, at least in order to confirm that you are
aware of the issues, you may learn that "the emergence of the
Internet is a massive end run around the HQ control of
information - it is instantaneous, international, and
uncontrollable by any person or faction." I would hope that our
society is worth more than the egos of those within your
administration, possibly including yourself! If you truly meant
what was written in your 'Editor's comment", please provide an
answer for US as well. I you are NOT on the THEOS-L list, I will
forward anything you write. Please be aware that I agree with
you, IN FULL, when you say:
> The principle of freedom of thought is fundamental to the
> Theosophical Society, but is means that those who think theosophy
> are also free to do so - WITHIN THE LIMITS OF COURTESY AND
> CONSIDERATION FOR OTHERS.
I have written this letter with honest consideration for both our
society, and for you as the President for the National Section in
the United States. I will expect that you will provide an
acceptable and thought-out reply with regard for both your
position and your prior actions.
Radda-Bai; 270 N. Canon Dr., Suite 2036; Beverly Hills, CA 90210
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