re: CWL, LCC, Adyar, Olcott etc.
Oct 04, 1995 06:08 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker
>> Jerry H-E:
>> But keep in mind that there are also a
>> lot of us who have been turned off. Remember, more than 95% of
>> those who join the Adyar TS quit within two years. Can we afford
>> to ignore that 95%?
There's a large turnover in membership, but not 95 percent. In the
first four years, a large percentage of members have lapsed (very
few actually quit). I don't remember if it's 40 percent, but that
figure comes to mind. I could look up the figure, since I've had
the data for about seven years, but since Wheaton has not released
such statistics, I'm not sure that I would be permitted to give
the actual figure out.
We have to ask if people have received their benefit from a
theosophical group by joining, becoming acquainted with the
literature, then dropping out to follow an individual quest.
Their spiritual progress is not limited to the time period
that they continue to pay membership dues.
There's a good side, in a sense, to this turnover. It means that
our 4200 membership does not represent everyone reached by Wheaton,
but there are many more thousands of people that have been exposed
to Theosophy that don't show up in that count. The membership
count does not reflect the total count of people reached in the
past decade or two.
>Appalling statistic indeed. But I think that our solutions to
>that problem would be quite different. I'd say, "to retain
>more members the TS should become more like the ARE, providing
>group settings that nurture one's independent pursuit of the
>spiritual path, and intellectual engagement with cutting-edge
>trends in contemporary thought."
That's one approach.
>Whereas mightn't you say "to
>retain more members the Adyar TS should become more like the
>Pasadena TS or the ULT, focusing more consistently on the
>source teachings and deemphasizing subsequent developments"?
And that's another approach.
>While neither of us would ignore that 95%, how to know what's
>the right way to keep more of the them?
The question might be what's the right way to *benefit* them,
rather than what's the right way to *keep* them.
>> the TS would
>> more likely have stayed on the original lines as outlined by HPB
>> and the Masters.
They started it along certain lines. If they were around since
then, perhaps they would have changed it as appropriate to the
changing social climate and spiritual thawing in the west. We
can't take their original *intent* and assume that it is a
dogma to be followed. It is a *work plan*, not a divine truth.
We can change our theosophical groups as necessary to carry out
any form of spiritual work. And both Jerry H-E's and Paul's
approaches can appear in different lodges and theosophical organizations.
>> the Theosophical Society would not be
>> regarded by the public as a cult as it is today.
Regardless of how we try to define "cult", it is often used as a hate
word to put down groups one doesn't like. One person may call, for
instance, the Mormon Church a cult, another may call it the best
church in Christianity.
>> >And finally, what would you do if another group of theosophists,
>> >who did not agree with your ideas, formed a rival organization?
We could treat the organization appropriately. If the organization
was "rival" in the sense of being hostile, we'd have to treat it
more cautiously than if it was "rival" in the sense of being
complimentary and coopertive with us.
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