Re: Theos-World ULT and the Theosophical Movement (the books)
Sep 23, 2003 03:22 AM
In a message dated 09/15/03 11:38:16 AM, email@example.com writes:
>W. Dallas TenBroeck wrote:
>> Individual associates, such as myself, write and place our names
>> publicly when U L T needs to be explained. Discussion of personalities
>> and authorities detracts from such direct study.
> Frankly, I still don't understand. How are the associates chosen? For
>example, there is a ULT building in New York City. I have been told that
>there is a separate group that handles the financial aspects, but I
>still don't know how those people got the responsibility, how it is
>decided what to present, what NOT to present, how the building is used,
>what books go into (or are kept out of) the library, etc.
> This is not an idle question; I have been asked these questions by
>others, and, frankly, the impression that an ignorant person can get is
>that the ULT follows an "all students are equal, but some are more equal
>than others" policy.
Many years ago when I was a more or less active (and "self chosen") associate
of ULT, I found that -- since everything done at the Lodge was entirely
voluntary, including membership -- anyone was free to use any facility and, if
qualified, assist with or take on any job (that wasn't already handled
satisfactorily by another student/teacher). This included jobs such as; management and
maintenance of the buildings and grounds, lecturing, curricula design, library
work, monitoring study groups, book table sales, book binding workshops,
greeters, etc., etc.
Usually these positions were taken by those most interested and qualified to
handle them or shared if more than one person volunteered for the same job.
Also, simple methods of compromise were used to determine the allocation of
duties in such cases, and the only rules that could be applied in such decisions
would be the ULT Declaration. Any student could also become an active voting
member of voluntary committees that would form to take care of any
contingencies. Also, naturally, since there are some student/teachers of stronger
personalities and/or greater competency than others, they would be more likely to
take more responsible positions of leadership or management... And sometimes, it
appears to outsiders and others not so concerned about the day to day
management of the Lodge, that these leaders appear to have taken control. Actually,
there never could be much competition for any voluntary job in ULT, since they
aren't glamorous, lead to no personal advantages, nor are there any rewards
other than the knowledge that one is doing selfless service. Besides, most
students are entirely indifferent to the management of the Lodge itself, and
generally choose their own path of study.
As for myself, what difference did the management of the Lodge make, when my
only interest was in learning about and serving the cause of theosophy. In my
over 30 years as a ULT Associate, it was very rare that I found any job not
being handled properly, and when there were times that I disagreed with the way
things were done, I could speak up without being "thrown out" (which no one
had the right to do anyway :-) and, by using logic and reason, convince the
older student/teachers/managers to make changes in their methods. During these
many years of on and off attendance, I helped initiate several changes in the
way classes, meetings and lectures were carried out in the New York Lodge, and
carried some of these suggestions to and from several other Lodges that I
visited in my travels.
The attitude of ULT (if a Lodge can have an "attitude" :-) is -- after so
many years of successful functioning and growth -- if something isn't broken, why
bother to fix it. And, who cares anyway, when the only purpose the Lodge
serves, is as a place for hearing lectures on fundamental theosophy, asking and
answering questions, and for individual library or group study with highly
competent and learned theosophical student/teachers. All in all, I found that the
Lodge admirably serves its purpose of providing a facility and forum where
serious students can study and question fundamental theosophy in the company of
many wise teachers and companions. What other purpose should any theosophical
"Equality" as far as ULT is concerned, refers not only to our spiritual
natures (as it does in the US Declaration of Independence) but also to the fact
that every student has the equal opportunity to rise as high in both knowledge
and wisdom, as well as service to theosophy and others, as their energy,
perseverance, skills, talents, intelligence, and "self devised and self determined
study and efforts," might allow. Of course, in the usual mix of people engaged
in any common study or work, there are no reasons why some can't rise higher
than others in both positions of responsibility as well as level of
Although, this doesn't preclude someone of less than good theosophical
motive, (due to egocentricity or malevolent intent) infiltrating and taking over
certain functions of a ULT lodge, as well as speaking in its name, contradicting
or altering the teachings, or practicing and inducing others to practice such
"side issues" as psychism or black magic. When that happens (which is very
rare) in any independent lodge, it's up to the active associates of that lodge
(using the "Declaration" as their guide) and by consensus, to clean their own
house however they decide.
Many years ago, I personally spotted a CIA agent who had infiltrated the NY
Lodge. He had volunteered for menial work around the building, and was using
psychological techniques to ingratiate himself -- even going so far as to hang
around groups of student/friends who sometimes met after Lodge meetings for
dinner or in home soirees, where he constantly attempted to induce them to play
psychic games or display psychic powers... Apparently, as I found out later
from him, he was scouting the lodge in order to recruit psychics for CIA
research. When I confronted and exposed him in front of several other associates, he
denied the connection, but disappeared the next day and never came back.
Several years later, I met him again as a security guard at a high level
political function, where he admitted his former CIA connected infiltration of the
Lodge and its purpose. Naturally, when I blew his cover in the Lodge, he
There are no rules for dealing with any of that other than the Declaration.
Although, many students who simply attend ULT to question, do their research,
learn, lecture, etc., may have little interest in their Lodge's internal
problems of management, maintenance, bookkeeping, bill paying, etc.... So, such
jobs usually fall to those volunteers most willing and capable of handling them.
As another example of ULT volunteerism, one blistering summer about 25 years
ago when the New York lodge's auditorium became too hot to hold meetings or
bind books, an associate connected with an air conditioning company installed a
system, on his own initiative and without telling anyone about it, that took
care of cooling the entire building. No one had to solicit, order or approve
this voluntary contribution.
Hope this clears up why ULT appears to other theosophists who are non
associates or members of the TS, to be a "secretive organization controlled by
anonymous leaders"... It's unfortunate that they cannot understand the ungoverned
flexibility of ULT -- which is simply an association of "independent" students
of theosophy interested in studying and promulgating, or "spread broadcasting,"
the fundamental teachings of HPB and WQJ (where, in my view, all theosophical
students essentially should begin and remain until they thoroughly understand
the fundamental teachings). How such students proceed from there, and what
they study outside of HPB and WQJ to round out their knowledge -- as far as any
ULT Lodge is concerned (being simply an entirely voluntary self maintained
facility for such independent individual or joint study) -- is strictly up to
those students... And ULT itself, as a group of associated "independent"
lodges, places no guidelines or barriers in their way other than their common
"Declaration" -- which is its only "official" document defining its existence, its
methods, and its purpose.
Without any sort of "constitution," ULT functions as a perfect expression of
practical idealism in its government. That's why it has no need for officers,
directors, or elected or appointed "leaders" and why there are no laws or
regulations for its or its members activities other than the Declaration itself.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if other constitution based governments and
organizations could function as smoothly and as well -- with no rules and regulation,
and no one "in charge"?
As a matter if fact, both my wife and I attended ULT lodge meetings in New
York, and studied there, lectured, and volunteered for needed work from time to
time -- as accepted "associates" for more than 30 years. However, guided by
our personal principles of never "joining" any organizations, we only signed
the Associate membership card and mailed it the Parent Lodge in LA with our name
and address, solely to get on its mailing list and because it said on the
card that "such association calls for no obligation on my part, other than that
which I, myself, determine." No one in the New York Lodge seemed to know (or
even care) that we signed such a card -- since anyone who walks in the door and
takes part in its classes, uses the library, asks questions, and shows up
more or less regularly, is automatically assumed to be a self chosen associate
and, therefore has the same privileges as anyone else. How can anything be
freer, more "equal" or less "organized" than that?
In a message dated 09/21/03 4:34:54 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
>W. Dallas TenBroeck wrote:
>> UNITED LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS brought the "original teachings" back >>into
view. It let them stand on their own merit. It reprinted the major
>> books in their original form for the same purpose, and let them stand
>> on their merits.
> It's a noble goal. My only problem is the stories I have heard by
>people who have been thrown out for asking the wrong questions. I would
>very much like to hear the ULT's side of the story, but sometimes,
>anonymity becomes secrecy.
Maybe you aught to tell us those stories, which people, and what questions?
I hope my above and and Dallas' comments have answered all of yours.
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