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Re: Membership decline

Dec 27, 1999 06:05 AM
by Bart Lidofsky

ambain wrote:
> > spiritual basis, in a Society which is supposed to be without dogma.
> I
> > therefore see Radha's leadership in the E.S. is a symptom of the
> > problem, not a cause.
> Ahem.  If, as she appears to be, she is virtually the dictator of the
> Society,  she has *become* the cause, even if she started out as a
> symptom.  This is very common in disease.

	Note the possessive form; I was talking about the E.S. connection being
a just a symptom, not Radha.

> Declaring oneself the
> spiritual leader of the Society has all the appearance of megalomania,
> in which case the self-appointed "saint" should be removed ASAP.

	Unless the person cleverly denies that she is doing any such thing,
which makes life far more difficult.

> However, there is seems to be no official mechanism for doing
> this -.So the Head of Adyar TS has changed the rules to suit the
> convenience of herself and her family!

	No rules were changed; existing rules were written with an Olcott in

> And John Algeo, we are frequently reminded, has changed the rules of
> the US Section to *his* advantage, or that of his administration,
> which may be the same thing .....

	Here is one place where I truly believe that accusations are misplaced.
As the "keeper" of the New York bylaws, I have remained very close to
the bylaws situation in National (not as much in the creation, but in
discussing with both Wheaton and New York officials the implications of
the new bylaws, to make sure that the people in New York were
sufficiently informed so as to make a decision of support or non-support
of the National laws). The major fear, of course, is the Boston
situation. I have talked to people on both sides, and I can tell you
that it was, in the long run, a monumental screw-up on both sides, where
both sides were sincere and believed the other side to be insincere, and
a lack of communication. Now the stories I have heard, all from people
whom I trust, come out making Rashomon look tame by comparison. Based on
what both have said, however, if there was better communication, or even
someone acceptable to both sides as a mediator, I think that the
problems would have been solved rapidly, and the Boston Lodge would
never have been dissolved.

	However, the situation, and the major legal costs involved, brought up
a major question. There were large amounts of property owned by several
Lodges, with relatively low memberships. It would be extremely easy for
an outside group to perform a hostile takeover of a Lodge, split from
National, and grab the property. The new by-laws were put in place for
the express purpose of keeping such a thing from happening (if a hostile
takeover were tried in the National Section, there are other measures
put into place to guard the property.

	While this was great for older, more established Lodges, this put a
scare into new, growing Lodges, a fear that they would build themselves
up, get donations based on their current leadership, and then have
National Headquarters kick them out and put their own people in charge.
Interestingly, the Lodge which showed the most fear that something like
this could happen was the Miami Lodge; this while the Miami Lodge was
being held up as an example to other Lodges of a major SUCCESS. However,
those protesting didn't bother to examine all the solutions; they
insisted on all or nothing, and they got nothing. The property transfer
rules both protect Lodges, and put them in jeopardy. The ideal solution
is to keep the protections while removing the jeopardy. The rules that
need to be changed are NOT the property transfer rules, but the rules
for dissolving Lodges. It must be made much harder for the National
Section to dissolve a Lodge, and minimally require mediation by a
mutually agreeable or court-appointed mediator before a Lodge
dissolution become final. The level of independence of the individual
Lodges must be explicitly stated, and the number of Directors required
to dissolve a Lodge must be increased from a simple majority (I favor
more than one nay vote and/or abstention defeats).

	Bart Lidofsky

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