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Re: Pious fraud, sincere charlatan (new bio of Joseph Smith)

Sep 13, 2004 07:59 AM
by stevestubbs

--- In, "kpauljohnson" <kpauljohnson@y...> 
> I find this a much more useful typology than the dichotomous
> genuine vs. fraud perspective most often applied to HPB, CWL,
> etc.
> PS the HPB letter 118 I posted last week situates HPB quite 
> specifically on Vogel's spectrum 

Interesting theory. I assume you are saying CWL is a Category 1 
hurricane, i.e.:

> 1. The charlatan who may or may not believe in magic but
> uses its vocabulary and props while employing trickery
> for profit, power, and prestige.

And HPB a Category 2:

> 2. The sincere charlatan who believes in magic but occasionally
> practices trickery both to enhance his presentation and more
> easily convince others of his powers.

Is this correct? It should be pointed out that the slapdash way in 
which CWL threw his books together contrasts sharply with the 
profound thinking that Blavatsly displayed, whatever one may think of 
the consequences of her thought. The most subtle and persuasive 
proof that CWL was not only not what he claimed to be, but not even 
insightful is found in the fact that he did not understand the stuff 
he claimed to be presenting.

And where do you place Joseph Smith (I would assume he is no better 
than CWL.) And does Vogel have any theory why anyone would want to 
believe in Smith's stuff?

I read a book on the Hell's Angels a few years ago in which the 
author pointed out that members of organized crime groups know going 
in that the path they have chosen leads to the grave or to prison. 
Moreover, they live with a certain dread of their chosen fate. But 
they belong because everyone has a need for some sort of social 
affiliation, including people who are excluded for whatever reason 
from the mainstream of society. It is possible that this intense 
need for affiliation is what binds people to absurd systems like 

That theory would not seem to apply to theosophy since most 
theosophists do not belong to anything except maybe yahoo groups.

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