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Re: Price tags

May 23, 1997 05:21 PM
by Bart Lidofsky

K. Paul Johnson wrote:
> I'm slightly shocked that any TS branch charges admission, or
> has *all* its meetings closed to the general public.  Matter of
> fact, I think I'd boycott Seattle or San Antonio lodges for
> those reasons if I lived in those cities, because of these
> policies.

	At the New York Lodge (where the power costs  and building taxes alone
go into 5 figures) we do not charge for members' meetings, and
interested parties are invited to attend up to 3 members meetings before
they are theoretically expected to join (in practice, we don't push it).
There is a basket for donations, but we make a point of not paying
attention who donates and how much.

	We give public lectures, for which we ask but do not require a donation
of $5 per person. We also give a variety of classes. The introductory
class to Theosophy is always free of charge, and the more advanced
classes, while there is a fee, we will drop it for anybody who requests
us to. For public classes in "applied Theosophy" (such as astrology,
tarot, Egyptology, alchemy, Therapeutic Touch), we do charge a fee, but
it is well under what other places charge, and we make sure our classes
are geared towards personal evolution as opposed to personal

	In some cultures, there is no need to charge for spiritual instruction,
as there are many other sources of income. A Buddhist monk in India or
Japan is always welcome for dinner in the homes of most of the people.
They don't have to pay any taxes whatsoever on their buildings, and
power and water are free for them there, as well. There are plenty of
volunteers to do the construction work. You don't find that in America.
The Pasadena group and the ULT are both very well-endowed from people
leaving them money.

	In New York, the Quest Bookshop used to be able to support the Lodge,
but the number of volunteers has gone down, expenses have gone up, and
we now have cutthroat competition from Barnes & Noble's, which has put
most of the esoteric bookstores in New York out of business.

	So if you want to be Christian about it, you can say that acceptance of
money is inherently evil. But Christianity is just one of many religions
in the world.

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