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Re: fighting off hostile takeovers

Dec 31, 1996 00:29 AM
by Tim Maroney

>> >Now say you were writing the bylaws of the organization. What would you
>> >do to keep something like this from happening?

>> Put in a clause forbidding property transfers except at fair market value
>> according to licensed appraisers?

>	But the new organization CALLS itself by the same name. It just has
>nothing to do with the old organization, except paying lip service to
>the 3 objects.

I don't think there's anything that can be done on a by-law level to
combat doctrinal drift among the membership -- even a conspiratorial form
such as you describe. What can be done seems to be mostly in the informal
area. For instance, why is it that a group can attract more members whose
goal is to selfishly co-opt its property than members who are sincerely
dedicated to the existing organizational goals? Have the organizational
goals become rigid to the point where they have ceased to appeal to a
modern audience? What can be done to attract more members to the real
goals of the organization, and to present those goals in a current,
relevant and vital form?

I don't mean to criticize your organization with comments like these. I
really hope this is helpful to you. It seems that the situation you are
describing could only happen in a critical situation of declining
membership. At this point the root causes of declining membership need to
be addressed. If sincere membership continues to fall, then yes, you will
be wide open to hostile takeovers, and there's not much you can do about
that. At some point the infiltrators reach the point where they can amend
the by-laws, and then what happens to any formal defense?

Freemasonry in the United States currently finds itself in a similar
position. They have not been able to mount a very good answer to the
problem of declining membership, though some reformist actions are being
taken such as the recognition of Prince Hall. Is there anything that
Theosophy could do -- as one example off the top of my head, embracing
the growing goddess-spirituality movement and offering temple space to
its groups -- to increase its appeal without watering down its principles?

Tim Maroney

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