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Re: Tim's comment

Jul 15, 1997 09:39 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

Sorry, but sometimes putting a name in the header is the only
way to make clear what your subject is.  Having been at various
times a member of the three major Theosophical organizations,
and retaining membership now in just one, I can comment on how
they illustrate Tim's theme of openness about authoritarian
control or denial that it exists.

1. Adyar has a democratic structure in name only which is a
cover for the complete autocracy of the ES.  The problem with
this is that the facade attracts people who believe the
propaganda and who end up being treated very badly by those in
control.  How many of those who have left the TS-Adyar over
the years would have ever joined in the first place if they
knew the score?  I don't think the myth of openness and freedom
does any good in terms of drawing in people who might make it a
reality.  Or rather it draws them in, but the reality spews
them out.
2. ULT mythologizes itself even more, claiming to have no
officers but in fact governed by a cryptocracy of board members
of the Theosophy Company.  Again, people can be drawn in by the
myth that this is a group which welcomes all sincere seekers
and students of Theosophy; they soon enough find out that a
very rigid orthodoxy prevails and will never change.
3. TS-Pasadena, on the other hand, openly acknowledges that it
is governed by a single leader and makes no pretense of being
either democratic or free of leadership.  It also abolished its
ES almost 50 years ago, one of the wisest moves in Theosophical
history IMO.  Although Grace Knoche may have as much or more
control as Radha, she is accessible and respectful of input
from members.  We may not see eye to eye on many things, but I
deeply respect Grace as someone who has never misled me, tried
to control my thinking, or encouraged harsh attacks on people
whose view of Theosophy is different from her own.

So I think the relative non-self-mythologizing of the Pasadena
TS is far healthier than the state of denial that Adyar and ULT
are in about their authority structures.

Have been learning more about ARE, which is quite paradoxical
compared to the TS.  There, the leadership is much more open to
diverse perspectives, skeptical or critical approaches to
Cayce, etc., than the average member-- as best I can tell
anyhow.  There is a perception (just presented on another list)
that the Board only pretends to want input from the membership
but really has its own agenda which is not subject to
influence.  But the leaders are not at all resented for being
high-handed and resistant to member input the way the Board
is.  (Leaders being the executive committee and department

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