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Re: Story of Deconversion: Confession from the Snake Pit

Sep 01, 1995 11:04 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

Dear Art,

This is one of the best posts I have ever read on any list or
newsgroups. Although I know you find many of the unpleasant
features of fundamentalism in the behavior of Theosophists, it
may not be obvious without being pointed out. As Joscelyn
Godwin said in his intro to The Masters Revealed, "Theosophists
would be the first to urge this attitude [objectivity and
skepticism] towards the reading of the Bible and the Quran. If
they cannot face it in the case of their own scriptures and
their own purported Masters, they are putting a religion
`higher than truth' in defiance of their society's motto."

Herewith some of the Theosophical versions of fundamentalism as
you have portrayed it:
> exclusivity and moral superiority.
HPB is better than any modern spiritual teacher and we're
better than you. Our movement (society) is the chosen
instrument of THE Masters-- yours is some distant relation at
> It is paradoxical that humility is one of the greatest virtues in this
> system and yet epistemological humility is completely lacking. What an
We KNOW that HPB (or whoever) always tells the truth and her writings are
always reliable.
> Jung speaks of this as the inflation of the mana personality. Your own ego
> is so underdeveloped that you get merged with an archetype and feel its
> power and wisdom and identify that with your ego. I would even go as far as
> to say that many people do link up with the Spirit (Self Archetype) but
> when they translate that back to historic reality, they use the power and
> insights gained there to bolster a low self esteem. They appear arrogant
> but in reality are very insecure and need the strong positions to keep from
> disolving. I say this not in superiority for I lived like that for years. I
This is pretty much what fervent belief in/attachment to the
Masters and HPB does to people; I know from experience as well
as observation. Not everyone, but many are thus
> There is a theory in evangelical circles, I call it the domino effect, that
> once you let one of the fundamentals loose, you will eventually have your
> whole faith castle collape.
Once you start applying objective historical criteria to HPB's
claims about her sources, you lose your right to be considered
a real Theosophist.
> objectivity based on logical rationality 3. The full plenary verbal
> inspiration of an infallible and inerrant revelation in the Holy Scriptures
> (no extra canonical revelation)
ABSOLUTELY-- and if you dare question the literal inspiration of
HPB's writings, you'll be treated as a heretic-- even if you
are Olcott, who was obliged to publish Old Diary Leaves outside
the TS because it was insufficiently respectful.
 4. the ontological (not merely functional
> oneness but oneness of essence) divinity of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
The ontological status of the Masters is not to be undermined
by thinking of them as "normal" human beings-- They have to
have capitalized pronouns referring to Them to show this.
I used to be a Theosophical fundamentalist, but got deconverted
once I started to investigate history, and your description
> God, why not give also my intellect. It was the scariest step I have ever
> taken. I determined to study seriously and as much as possible without
> ideological lens what I encountered. That is chapter one abbreviated.
> The idea that revelation is found exclusively in Holy Scripture is the
> bulwark of the evangelical faith position. There is a claim that Jesus is
That the truth about the Masters can only be known through
Theosophical scriptures is the bulwark of Theosophical
> history and the Christ of faith are significantly while not entirely
> different from each other. I can hear the floor boards of faith rumbling at
> that point.
People may pull them up and start beating you over the head
with them.

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