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Jun 27, 1996 10:13 AM
by Alan


This is from a carbon copy of a transcript of an original letter
   from Helen I. Dennis.  Punctuation and variations between
   British and American English usage are as in the copy before me.
   - A.B.


New York, N.Y., April 9th. 1906.

My Dear Mrs. Besant:-

Your letter of Feby. 26th. 1906 in reply to my letter of Jan.
   25th., preferring charges against Mr. Leadbeater, of teaching
   secret practices to boys, has been received.  I at once came to
   New York to consult with Mr. Fullerton and other E.S. and T.S.
   Officials, before framing my inevitable reply.

It is with deepest regret that I must write to you that your answer
   is most unsatisfactory to me and to the other signatories of the
   letter of Jany. 25th.

Perhaps you can imagine the inner conflict I have endured before
   writing the following letter, which stands for my conscience of

Your belief that Mr. L. teaches these theories only "in rare cases"
   to boys in trouble, is proved incorrect by the letter to Mr.
   Fullerton, in which Mr. L. himself explains making "One
   experiment" on a thirteen year old child, at that time immature
   even for his years and who did not reach puberty until three
   years later.

Up to the present time, it is known that four boys under the age of
   fourteen have been taught and one has been committed to a
   sanitarium for treatment of epilepsy which his physician claims
   to have been the result of self abuse.

Your claim that Mr. L. had agreed to discontinue these practices is
   tacitly refuted by his complete silence on this point in his
   letter to Mr. Fullerton, and by his own attitude of defence of
   the merits of his theory.

My argument and protest to you is therefore based on the ground of
   Mr. L's defence of the theory. I must protest that Theosophy is
   diametrically opposed to such a theory and that its ethics
   cannot tolerate the deception, hypocrisy and treachery practiced
   on the parents of these boys.

In common honesty, he should have made known his theory to the
   parents, instead of inculcating ideas of concealment from them.
   A fourth boy when questioned, replied that he must get
   permission from Mr. L. before he could answer.  He stated that
   he had been told by Mr. L. that he must not attempt to explain
   it to his parents as he would not be able to make them
   understand the theory. At present writing his mother can learn
   nothing further.

Equally in common honesty, those who follow Mr. L. as an occult
   leader, should know what he advocates, that all may decide for
   themselves, whether or not they will elect to follow and lend
   him their moral support.

That the crime of which Mr. L. stands self confessed can sanely be
   argued upon from the basis of "good motive" seems incredible.
   Such sex practices proposed as a substitute for and an
   improvement upon the marriage relation, strike at the very root
   of the physical welfare of the humans race and inevitably result
   in mental and moral degradation.

We who appeal to you as the head of the E.S.T. can but stand
   appalled at what seems to be your attitude of condoning this
   offence, by your public support, even though you disclaim
   approval of it.

It is an offence which would be recognized as a moral cancer in any
   worldly organization, and which would render one guilty of it, an
   outcast and an exile even in the secular professions or in any
   educational institution in America, and we hope and believe,
   anywhere in the civilized world.

When we learn that he has been licensed to stand before the world
   for twelve or fifteen years, with these persistent rumors
   stalking at his side, in Ceylon, in India, and in Europe, what
   can we understand?

When for all these years, he has allowed you to believe these
   rumors false and permitted you to hold him up before the world
   as a worthy exponent of Theosophical teachings of purity; when
   in the face of the facts that within the past few months, in
   answer to a petition, from India, that you depose him his place
   at your side, he even allowed your name to be used as a shield
   in an article in the February 1906 Theosophist, signed by
   Colonel Olcott, to the effect that these rumors were slanders
   and the vile imaginings of "Hysteriacs;" when this deliberate
   deception has been carried on for years; when finally actual
   proof reaches you from America, that these slanders are living,
   breathing, corrupting facts, and you reply to me that you "know
   that his motives are good and pure," what can we think?  What
   *are* good motives?

In the words of our beloved and honoured General Secretary, Mr.
   Fullerton, "we could weep tears of blood."

But should we as officials deal with the motives or the facts?  Is
   the point at issue one of personal friendship or one of official
   honor and support?  Should not the E.S. and the T.S. be, like
   Caesar's wife, above reproach and especially on the sex

By the code of even common worldly ethics, we had the right to
   confidently expect, that without an instant's delay, you would
   retire him into complete obscurity, thus taking the first step
   towards purging the Theosophical Society from within.

If such action would result from a purely worldly standpoint of
   ethics how much more should we rightly expect this evidence of
   purity in the Head of an Occult School?

A body which does not purge itself from within cannot live.  It
   must ultimately decay or be shattered by attacks from without.

I can only repeat that I protest and protest again that on this
   matter of honor and purity, I can accept no compromise, nor can
   I lend myself to the deception of E.S. and T.S. members that my
   standing silent would imply.

I have therefore laid the matter before Mr. Fullerton, the General
   Secretary, and the Executive Committee of the American Section,
   so that, that phase of the case has passed out of my hands.

The chaotic condition of mind, of an ever increasing number of
   members and officers of the E.S., as this knowledge is rapidly
   spreading, makes an organised unity of the School ever more and
   more remote, and in order to avoid the sham and pretense on my
   part it is necessary to do otherwise, I am therefore temporarily
   suspending certain activities of the School, such as admission
   of members, the issuance of documents, etc.  It is also my
   intention to suspend certain group activities wherever in my
   judgment it becomes necessary because of the development of
   circumstances and pending receipt of further instructions from

Deeply as I regret having to write such a letter as this, far more
   deeply do I deplore the circumstances that have made its writing
   necessary in the name of common honesty and purity.

(Signed) Helen I. Dennis.

Transcribed and uploaded by Alan Bain, June 1996

Ancient Wisdom for a New Age

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