Re: Theos-World Theosophical History
Nov 09, 1998 08:01 PM
by Eldon B Tucker
[writing to Frank]
>I was aware of the Point Loma Group. I was a long-
>time subscriber to Emmett Small's ECLECTIC
>THEOSOPHIST newsletter and was sorry to see it
>cease publication. He wrote me one time and told me
>he was barred from entering the Pasadena TS
>estate even though his sister was married to
>the Head of the American Section.
I've heard a few things myself, having been on the
Point Loma Publications Board from the mid-1970's
until the early 1990's. I've also been to the T.S.
Pasadena a few times, and am a member of it, the ULT,
and the Adyar T.S.
I was at a party for Emmett's 80th birthday (a
while back, considering he's in his mid 90's) and
his sister and several others had come down from
Pasadena to attend.
In 1942, G. de Purucker died, and the Point Loma T.S.
did not have an immediate replacement for him as
spiritual/administrative head. The organizational
model was hierarchical, with Purucker formerly
President for life and head of the E.S., representative
of the Masters in an succession that ran from
Blavatsky to Judge to Tingley to him. (This is what
was generally believed by the membership.)
In the context of this organizational structure,
when he died, and no one emerged who was immediately
recognized as a bona fide successor, the Cabinet,
in charge of the T.S., ran it for three years. It
was headed by Iverson L. Harris.
When the three years were up, the Cabinet appointed
Arthur L. Conger as the new President, as an
administrative head of the T.S. To the dismay of
many senior E.S. members, he assumed esoteric control
of the society too, and soon had most of the lodges
shut down, and the E.S. leaders locked out of their
Many members quit at this time, and a few, like Boris
de Zirkoff, were expelled.
Conger lived until 1951, and was succeeded by James A.
Long. There was some dissension over his succession too,
and there was at least one rival group that split off
in Holland. When Long died, he was succeeded by Grace F.
Knoche, who currently heads the Pasadena T.S.
The Pasadena T.S. was fairly large and successful, but
fractured and lost many of its members during the Conger
and Long successions. There were a large number of
independent students and study groups, that ended up
feeling burned by the idea of authoritative theosophical
groups, and continued to exist independently to this
day, connected by letters, personal visits, and other
forms of networking. THE ECLECTIC THEOSOPHIST, edited by
W. Emmett Small, was one such means of networking.
At this point, the question of "who said what to whom"
in the 1940's and 1950's is fast becoming a moot point,
since there are fewer and fewer people with bad blood
towards each other, fewer people feeling burned and
wronged -- and also time has had its healing effect to
help people better get along together.
The question of "esoteric succession" is not really a
divisive issue -- as I see it -- since I expect the
Masters work through whoever works for the cause, and
not because of someone's rank, position, or claims to
esoteric ties. This being so, it's not important to
fight others to win universal acceptance of someone's
particular claim "to be the one and only, real,
genuine thing," if there was such a thing.
Hopefully in the future, the Point Loma and Pasadena
Theosophists can work side-by-side for furthering the
spiritual work and promoting the esoteric philosophy.
This situation is a case where those in the Adyar T.S.
could learn from history -- the Point Loma history --
seeing the problems and dynamics involved when groups
are organization along the teacher/teaching model, as
opposed to the study-hall/read-your-own-book model, or
one of many other types of models.
The important thing that the Point Loma Theosophists
learned -- and members of any group can learn -- is that
any one group isn't "the only show in town," and that
the work goes on, if you're sincere in heart and dedicated,
regardless of if the leadership of a particular theosophical
group appreciate you or not.
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