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Re: forced out?

Sep 16, 1999 07:19 PM
by JRC

> > Both of you have been on the list for awhile haven't you? You've heard
> > this before. Memberships revoked? Hell, Adyar has revoked Charters for
> > entire nations (Canada, Denmark, they gave serious problems to Russia
> National Sections. The individual members were still members (although
> I think that revoking the charters was heavy-handed). Canada was a
> strange case; it actually had TWO national sections.

One "approved" and one not.

> > The American TS saw fit to *sue* the Boston Lodge - a massive fiasco ...
> > destroyed it. Wound up costing *us*, the TS membership, somewhere around
> > half-million dollars in legal fees (yet these people will still say that
> > their *critics* aren't behaving in a "brotherly" fashion!).
> Well, the old Boston Lodge went independent (the members who
> participate here seem pretty Theosophical to me), and I believe is doing
> OK. In the meantime, the Northeast Federation is attempting to revive a
> TSA presence in MA.

"Went independent" is certainly a nice way of putting it. Makes it sound as
though there was just a small disagreement and then they just amicably shook
hands and parted ways. And doesn't alter that fact of what Wheaton did one

> > But don't worry,
> > it'll never happen again. The Board, furious at the non-compliant,
> > through by-laws that pretty much gives them total control over any Lodge
> > they want - including assets that the Lodges themselves have accumulated
> > over the years. I could go on endlessly, but ... why?
> Not precisely as you say; reading the National By-Laws, there is
> nothing there that prevents a Lodge from appealing dissolution in the
> courts, and, the way I read it, it would be very difficult to get the
> courts to agree unless there truly was a hostile takeover. The major
> power of the lodges that was limited by the new bylaws was the ability
> to transfer the assets of a Lodge to another organization.

Not precisely? Well, at least *effectively* Of course there is nothing in
the bylaws to prevent a Lodge from seeking redress in the courts. But saying
it this way makes it sound as though that was restraint on the part of
Wheaton. Fact is, Wheaton could not legally *prevent* a Branch from
challenging a decision in court. Trying to pass a by-law stating that
Branches "shall not be allowed to use the American court system" would not
only be laughed out of court, but would have been much harder to spin.

But *in practice* how many Lodges have the money and power and time to go
into court against a National Section, capable of far outspending a Lodge -
clearly willing to spend considerable amounts of money to get its way, and
composed of people employed full time by the TS? Most of them would need to
liquidate the very assets in question just to pursue such a remedy. No ... I
hope *every* Lodge, every local President and Director - especially those
that might want to follow their own views of what Theosophy is, understands
that Wheaton now has full power to dissolve any Lodge, and not only refuse
to allow that Lodge to give its assets to another Lodge of its choice, but
to simply take them and stick them in the Wheaton bank account. Even if
these assets were the result of Lodge fundraising, and past gifts from
members specifically given to that Lodge.

They *won* Bart. The beat all their opponents, spun the story well, and got
their control. Don't try now to claim that they don't have it. But beware of
centralized control. You may agree with the current lot in power, but a few
years in the future a completely different group, with a completely
different attitude, could be in power - could decide to mandate that
Theosphy goes in a direction *they* choose. And the centralized power you
seem to find so positive now could easily be wielded in other directions -
and against you and your Lodge. Wheaton claimed they *needed* this
centralized control to "protect" the Lodges against takeovers ... against
(they said in an attempt to frighten people) the chance that (for instance)
another religious group might run a stealth campaign to take over legal
control of a Branch, and then sell off its assets (something that, for a
variety of reasons, couldn't have been done - and that there had never even
been the faintest hint of anyway). It seemed to occur to know one that this
just raised the stakes. That it may be now slightly more difficult for a
group of radical Hindus (who the hell *would* try to take over a
Theosophical branch?) to sieze Branch assets ... it would now take a much
larger group, with more disciplined followers, exactly six years to take
over the entire National Section. To have, according to the bylaws, *legal*
claim to everything at Headquarters as well as the assets of every Lodge in
the country. If the danger they *claim* existed really did exist, all they
did was take it from being a completely decentralized danger, and aggregated
it into one huge danger.

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