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K. and membership

Sep 30, 1997 09:05 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

Doss, in a sense you are right but I would suggest that the
members lost after K's defection were there only because of him
in the first place.  Drawing on memory (I can check for exact
details) TS membership didn't reach 10,000 during HPB's life,
didn't hit 20,000 during Olcott's, and didn't exceed 30,000
until the 1920s once the Krishnamurti craze was in full effect.  It
skyrocketed to about 45,000 by 1928 but then was back to 30,000
or so five years later where it has stayed ever since.  So
there was no long-term trend indicated by the K. situation;
just the loss of a very artificially inflated growth.  For over
sixty years international membership has been stagnant, (not
declining) but as world population has tripled that means Theosophists
have one a third the relative presence of 60 years ago.

But the slide I was talking about was in the American section,
which had been steady in the 5-6000 range for years until the
treatment of Bing Escudero and other perceived problems with
the Abbenhouse administration sent it downward.  Is it under
4000 yet?  

Since ULT and Pasadena don't report membership statistics, one
can only guess that they are not growing according to lack of
new branches/lodges in the US.

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