CWL -The Cipher Letter
Jun 19, 1997 06:30 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain
Regarding the CWL affair [again!] and the matter of sources.
Herewith an original document from the time:
THE LEADBEATER "CIPHER LETTER"
Authentic copy from the original, written by C. W. Leadbeater to
one of his pupils about 1906, with explanatory letter from the
boy's mother. The cipher letter was typewritten on paper
identified by color and watermark as that used by him in other
communications, and was received as an enclosure with another
The "Cipher Letter"
My own darling boy, there is no need for you to write
anything in cipher, for no one but I ever sees your letters. But
it is better for me to write in cipher about some of the
most important matters; can you always read it easily? Can you
describe any of the forms in rose-colour which you have seen
entering your room? Are they human beings or nature spirits?
The throwing of water is unusual in such a case, though I have
had it done to me at a spiritualistic seance. Were you actually
wet when you awoke, or was it only in sleep that you felt the
water? Either is possible, but they would represent different
types of phenomena. All these preliminary experiences are
interesting, and I wish we were nearer together to talk about
Turning to other matters, I am glad to hear of the rapid growth,
and the strength of the results. Twice a week is permissible,
but you will soon discover what brings the best effect. *The
meaning of the sign [Circle with dot in center] is osauisu.
Spontaneous manifestations are undesirable, and should be
discouraged. Eg ou dinat xeuiiou iamq, ia oaaet socceoh nisa
iguao. Cou oiu uii iguao, is ia xemm oiu dina xamm. Eiat uiuu
iuqqao xiao zio usa utmaaq; tell me fully. Hmue taotuueio et ti
qmautuou. Uiiotuoo lettat eusmeoh. (The following paragraph is
the boy's translation of the paragraph written in cipher -
beginning with the. first *)
The meaning of the sign [Circle with dot in center]
is urethra. Spontaneous manifestations are undesirable and
should be discouraged. If it comes without help, he needs
rubbing more often, but not too often or he will not come well.
Does that happen when you are asleep? Tell me fully. Glad
sensation is so pleasant. Thousand kisses darling.
Key to the cipher.
Cipher a b c d e f g h i j k l m
Translation e a b c d,i e f g h,o i j k l
Cipher n o p q r s t u v w x y z
Translation m n,u o p q r s a,t u v w x y
Letter from the Boy's Mother
May - 1906.
Your request was duly received asking for a statement from our son
as to whether he had approached Mr L. ... for aid, or whether
Mr L. ... had approached him, but owing to my feeling that there
was no necessary haste, and to some pressing home conditions, it
has been delayed until now and I trust the delay has caused no
At the present moment I believe it right to place in the hands of
the Investigating Committee such evidence as we have pertaining
to a sad difficulty. Our only desire is that a full, fair
setting forth of all points in the matter be made.
We have the deepest appreciation of Mr L'S kindness to the boy and
ourselves in many ways, and whatever may come from us, we wish
to avoid any semblance of pre-judging. What conclusions I have
arrived at are based on the facts at hand.
My husband will send some statements later, setting forth his view
of the situation as now presented to him.
Our son's statement clearly shows that Mr L. ... opened the
After having fully discussed the matter with both his father and
me, he has given the key to the cipher in which certain
information was given to him by Mr L. ... in "private" notes
placed in letters. Our son was so disinclined to relate what Mr
L. ... had taught him, that for a time we felt we were asking
him to disregard his honor. However, we arrived at the firm
conviction that Mr L. ... had no moral right to give him
instruction and then bind him by word or attitude to secresy.
No minor can join the T. S. without the consent of parent or
guardian. How much less then has any one, teacher though he be,
the right to give a teaching that he knows is not generally
accepted, and then cause the boy to keep it away from his
parents and further promote the secresy by private notes and the
use of a cipher.
Mr L. . . . gave to this boy a teaching admittedly dangerous, and,
at the same time, prevented the counsel and the guidance of his
parents in so critical a matter by impressing the boy strongly
Mr L. ... either considered the parents unfit counsellors or else
he feared their disapproval. In either case it was an assumption
of privilege. For no matter which view he held, the parents are
Karmically responsible for the child, and such teaching so
contrary to their sense of right would have been possibly
permissible only after having consulted them and received their
Neither the boy's father nor I would have permitted Mr L. ... to
so instruct him. We have average intelligence; we have been
devoted T. S. members since 1892 and surely would have been glad
to co-operate with Mr L. ... in any measure we believed to be a
useful factor in the boy's evolution.
Therefore, no matter what may be established as Mr L's motive, the
fact that he ignored the rights and responsibilities of the
parents deserves condemnation.
Our son left the slip of paper on the floor, from which the
enclosed cipher note is copied. I also found another on the
floor some time after finding the above mentioned cipher. That
note was written in Mr L's hand and asked our son to keep a
record of days when "experiments" were made, but this is now
mislaid. It was not of so dangerous a nature as the enclosed;
for in this, you will observe, Mr L. ... expresses himself as
"glad the sensation is pleasant" showing that he approves of
the sensuous part of the practice.
This surely was teaching the boy to throw pleasurable consciousness
into the practice. Would not that make reactionary thought
Mr L. ... knew from my letters to him, that I was earnestly
striving to aid the boy in his moral and mental growth, and he
directly, or indirectly taught the boy to keep this important
phase of growth away from his parents. This was not fostering
frankness, to say the least!
Mr L. ... says in his letter to Mr F., "The business of
discovering and training especially hopeful younger members, and
preparing them for Theosophical work has been put in my charge."
A man may have credentials which bespeak his ability to teach
mathematics or to teach occultism but it is unfair to the
intelligence and duty of the parents to be denied knowledge of
Again and again we have been told to accept only what mind and
conscience approve. Our duty is to give the child the best we
know. Where can Mr L. ... find justification in carefully
teaching this practice which he knew was so generally condemned,
and which he took no pains to put before parents for their
A. B. said to me in '97, "Never make the mistake of doing evil that
good may come."
Now it appears to me that this act is far more evil in its effects
than what we call lust, for it warps the nature and annuls any
possible good that might result. No matter how great a person
has given Mr L. ... this work to do, our duty and right is to
pass judgment on the methods, and since, as parents and
guardians of youth in the T. S. we disapprove of them, our way
is clear, and that is, to denounce such teachings.
These statements are not made in the spirit of one who is unwilling
to hear all sides, but are the results of pondering on evidence
at hand which comes from Mr L. ... and as facts, are
It is an inexplicable feature in this case, that the boy was taught
this method while away from his home.
There was ample opportunity for Mr L. ... to have consulted the
boy's father about this when in our city, but, he did not.
I have only touched upon the parents' view, which is the fringe of
a matter pregnant with other phases.
Trusting that the utmost frankness and courage may prevail at all
points in this investigation, I am,
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