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ULT and Theosophy Company

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  • Wes Amerman
    Dear Friends, The following two emails were part of a recent private correspondence. Although this started as a discussion between myself and Daniel Caldwell,
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 5, 2001
      Dear Friends,

      The following two emails were part of a recent private correspondence.
      Although this started as a discussion between myself and Daniel Caldwell, we
      both realized that the information might be helpful and useful to others,
      and hence deserved wider consideration and exposure. We therefore present
      it in that light.

      Best Regards,
      Wes

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      --------
      Earlier today I tried to collate and organize my notes that I've taken over
      the years of my many conversations with various ULT people. I find three
      series of notes quite interesting in light of all our recent discussions
      about the ULT.

      (1) Soon after Anita Atkins' HPB biography was published she personally
      told me that either the LA ULT or the NY ULT was refusing to sell her book
      on Lodge premises. I can't make out all my scribbling but it appears that
      it was the LA Lodge that made this decision. Is that correct? Now I ask:
      WHO was empowered to make this decision? I realize that the situation later
      changed and her book was allowed to be sold on the ULT book tables. But it
      again amazes me that anyone (let alone one of the "leaders") would have
      wanted to ban her book from being sold on ULT premises! I remember that she
      was somewhat upset over this decision and said that she and her co-workers
      were going to try to have this decision reversed. What in the DECLARATION
      would prohibit selling Anita's book?

      (2) I was told by another ULT associate that several years ago he wanted to
      start a class on the Mahatma Letters at the LA Lodge. He was "pulled aside"
      [to use his exact words] and told in private that this class could NOT be
      formed and was not allowed on lodge premises. Does anyone know any more
      details about that particular case? WHO made the ultimate decision in that
      case? What in the DECLARATION would prohibit this class? Dallas always
      writes about all this freedom in the ULT, but the above 2 cases negate his
      affirmations.

      (3) I was also told by another "well-placed" ULT associate that even the
      current ULT "leaders" {LA}believe they are in contact with the Mahatmas.
      About 15 years ago I was told by Walter Carrithers that he had discovered
      evidence to show that Robert Crosbie, John Garrigues and later "leaders"
      believed they were communicating with HPB, Judge, and the Mahatmas. Messages
      had been received from the "Masters." Several years later, I asked John
      Cooper of Australia if he thought this was true and he confirmed everything
      Walter had originally told me and added more! I bring this all up because
      of Jerome's remarks in his latest email. So I ask the group: are any of
      you willing to comment on these claims? These claims go against the public
      persona the ULT tries to project.

      (4) Jerome recently wrote: "A new President of the Board WAS ELECTED in
      February. And it was not whom a minority maneuvered for!!!"

      (a) WHO is the new president and is this a secret or is it public
      knowledge to all the associates of the ULT LA?
      (b) I assume that ONLY other directors (trustees) of the TC Board [LA]
      could vote in this election, right?
      (c) Did the rank and file associates of the LA ULT even know that such an
      election was pending or that it even occurred?
      I have a number of other items but will save those for later.
      Daniel

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
      --------
      Daniel just asked some questions in a recent email correspondence, all of
      which deserve a reply. Below are my own views on these matters, and do NOT
      constitute any "official" position of the United Lodge of Theosophists.
      Such a position would, in my view, misrepresent the fact that "ULT" is a
      name given to a certain set of ideas and ideals, not the least of which is
      individual devotion and responsibility to work in the cause of Theosophy.
      ULT as conceived by Robert Crosbie is a "work in progress," subject to error
      and the vagaries of human nature, and therefore final pronouncements as to
      methods are difficult and risky. Part of that work is necessarily
      decentralized, and therefore anything said of the operation of the Los
      Angeles Lodge might not necessarily apply elsewhere.

      1. HPB Biography: Several years ago, I heard that some ULT Lodges had
      refused to carry the HPB biography on their public book tables. However,
      the decision apparently was reversed early on, as I purchased a copy many
      years ago directly from the L.A. Lodge. Perhaps someone who was there at
      the time would care to comment.

      I suppose the premise for such a "decision" might have run like this:
      "Strictly speaking, the purpose of ULT is to publish and promote the works
      of HPB and Judge. This is a fine book, but it is by a student, and the
      works of students, even those using pseudonyms, don't belong on our book
      table." In my opinion, nothing in the ULT Declaration itself supports this
      "strict interpretation" view.

      2. Mahatma Letters Class: I am not familiar with this case. However, I
      might assume that a "senior" student probably told a younger one not to do
      the class. The younger person may have respected the elder one too much to
      argue.

      Again, the premise could be: "Internal evidence in the Mahatma Letters
      indicates that the Masters did not want the material published in the first
      place. Since it had been published (not by ULT), however, we should respect
      the wishes of the Masters as far as possible and not publicly study the
      letters."

      Freedom in ULT (as everywhere else in the world) has always been within
      certain boundaries, the nature of which is indicated by the two instances
      above. Jerome's recent comment in an email about the tension between "the
      sacrificers and the power grabbers" indicates how complex this subject can
      be.

      3. ULT and Mahatmas: Somewhere, I have heard this rumor, but always second
      hand, never from anyone who stated it from first-hand experience.
      Apparently, the axiom, "those who know don't say, those who say don't know"
      holds true. Over the years among Theosophical groups there have been so
      many claims and counter-claims about letters, masters, ascended masters and
      occult successors, that yet another such claim would hardly seem to be
      constructive.

      However, let me ask Daniel a question: Suppose YOU were the one who
      received a "communication" from a Master, and you were convinced it was
      genuine. What would YOU do? It seems to me you would have two choices:
      Tell others, and risk having them turn you into a "guru" of some sort, or
      keep quiet about it! I'm not saying that is what happened here, but how
      would such a situation "go against the public persona the ULT tries to
      project?"

      4. I am currently President of Theosophy Company. I was elected by the
      Board of Directors, as required under California law. Theosophy Company is
      not a membership organization, so the Associates of ULT do not vote. It was
      founded in 1925 when the former practice of having a business agent for the
      Lodge proved too cumbersome and unworkable when they decided to re-publish
      the Secret Doctrine and build a building. ULT, being an "association" of
      students, was never conceived to be a legal entity, which one has to be in
      order to own property and do business in this state.

      I have never denied it, nor have I found it necessary to announce that I
      hold this "position." Most of the active workers at the Los Angeles ULT
      probably know it.

      Now, some unstated but obvious questions should be addressed: What is
      Theosophy Company responsible for? Primarily, the publishing, distribution
      and sale of books and magazines, and the ongoing expenses for the building
      in Los Angeles.

      What does Theosophy Company NOT do? It has nothing to do with the affairs
      of Associates at any Lodge. The choice of topics for lectures and panel
      discussions, what books are used in the study groups, when the classes meet,
      who chairs the meetings, how long the meetings are, etc. etc. are decisions
      made locally at each Lodge by the Associates.

      Now, are there dilemmas, contradictions and problems associated with this
      sort of arrangement? You bet there are! It is sometimes tricky, trying to
      keep Theosophy Company "out" of the business of the Associates. Theosophy
      Company is definitely an influence, especially at the L.A. Lodge, much less
      or virtually not at all at other Lodges. For example, how and where we
      advertise, what books and pamphlets to reprint, who has keys and access to
      the building, whether and whom to hire when volunteers cannot be found for a
      certain task, etc., are important decisions. The Associates who work at the
      LA Lodge have a lot of input into these things. However, I received no
      "handbook" for this, and I have only my fellow students, some business
      experience and the theosophical philosophy to guide me.

      Please keep in mind that this is the arrangement at only one of 22 Lodges.
      Other locations use different formats, and each Lodge is autonomous and free
      to order their own affairs. In the seven months I have been President, I
      have never been asked permission by another Lodge to do anything, nor do I
      think such permission possible or necessary.

      Daniel, your questions are legitimate, and I have tried to answer them
      squarely and honestly. I don't know how much detail other Theosophical
      organizations reveal about their operations, but I can assure you that it
      is a huge change in the ULT/Theosophy Company culture to engage in this kind
      of open dialog. It probably would not have happened in the past.
      Individuals then did what I am trying to do now -- the best they can to
      uphold and implement Theosophical ideals in an imperfect and sometimes
      hostile world.

      Best Regards,
      Wesley Amerman
    • dalval14@earthlink.net
      Monday, August 06, 2001 Dear Wes: This is an excellent set of answers. A little more revealing than I would have done. Separately I have sent a general
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 6, 2001
        Monday, August 06, 2001


        Dear Wes:

        This is an excellent set of answers.

        A little more revealing than I would have done.

        Separately I have sent a general statement that those who wanted
        information ought to address either the U.L.T. or T. Co.
        directly.

        As an "associate" I decided I had offered enough information.

        Thanks and love

        Dal

        ====================

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Wes Amerman [mailto:amerman@...]
        Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2001 11:14 PM
        To: theos-talk@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Theos-World ULT and Theosophy Company

        Dear Friends,

        The following two emails were part of a recent private
        correspondence.
        Although this started as a discussion between myself and Daniel
        Caldwell, we
        both realized that the information might be helpful and useful to
        others,
        and hence deserved wider consideration and exposure. We
        therefore present
        it in that light.

        Best Regards,
        Wes


        ============== COPY ====================


        WESLEY

        Daniel just asked some questions in a recent email
        correspondence, all of
        which deserve a reply. Below are my own views on these matters,
        and do NOT
        constitute any "official" position of the United Lodge of
        Theosophists.


        Such a position would, in my view, misrepresent the fact that
        "ULT" is a
        name given to a certain set of ideas and ideals, not the least of
        which is
        individual devotion and responsibility to work in the cause of
        Theosophy.
        ULT as conceived by Robert Crosbie is a "work in progress,"
        subject to error
        and the vagaries of human nature, and therefore final
        pronouncements as to
        methods are difficult and risky.


        DECENTRALIZATION

        Part of that work is necessarily decentralized, and therefore
        anything said of the operation of the Los
        Angeles Lodge might not necessarily apply elsewhere.


        H.P.BLAVATSKY BIOGRAPHY

        1. HPB Biography: Several years ago, I heard that some ULT
        Lodges had
        refused to carry the HPB biography on their public book tables.
        However,
        the decision apparently was reversed early on, as I purchased a
        copy many
        years ago directly from the L.A. Lodge. Perhaps someone who was
        there at
        the time would care to comment.

        I suppose the premise for such a "decision" might have run like
        this:
        "Strictly speaking, the purpose of ULT is to publish and promote
        the works
        of HPB and Judge. This is a fine book, but it is by a student,
        and the
        works of students, even those using pseudonyms, don't belong on
        our book
        table." In my opinion, nothing in the ULT Declaration itself
        supports this
        "strict interpretation" view.



        MAHATMA LETTERS CLASS

        2. Mahatma Letters Class: I am not familiar with this case.
        However, I
        might assume that a "senior" student probably told a younger one
        not to do
        the class. The younger person may have respected the elder one
        too much to
        argue.

        Again, the premise could be: "Internal evidence in the Mahatma
        Letters
        indicates that the Masters did not want the material published in
        the first
        place. Since it had been published (not by ULT), however, we
        should respect
        the wishes of the Masters as far as possible and not publicly
        study the
        letters."

        Freedom in ULT (as everywhere else in the world) has always been
        within
        certain boundaries, the nature of which is indicated by the two
        instances
        above. Jerome's recent comment in an email about the tension
        between "the
        sacrificers and the power grabbers" indicates how complex this
        subject can
        be.


        U.L.T. & MAHATMAS

        3. ULT and Mahatmas: Somewhere, I have heard this rumor, but
        always second
        hand, never from anyone who stated it from first-hand experience.
        Apparently, the axiom, "those who know don't say, those who say
        don't know"
        holds true. Over the years among Theosophical groups there have
        been so
        many claims and counter-claims about letters, masters, ascended
        masters and
        occult successors, that yet another such claim would hardly seem
        to be
        constructive.


        However, let me ask Daniel a question: Suppose YOU were the one
        who
        received a "communication" from a Master, and you were convinced
        it was
        genuine. What would YOU do? It seems to me you would have two
        choices:
        Tell others, and risk having them turn you into a "guru" of some
        sort, or
        keep quiet about it! I'm not saying that is what happened here,
        but how
        would such a situation "go against the public persona the ULT
        tries to
        project?"



        PRESIDENT OF T. Co.

        4. I am currently President of Theosophy Company. I was elected
        by the
        Board of Directors, as required under California law. Theosophy
        Company is
        not a membership organization, so the Associates of ULT do not
        vote. It was
        founded in 1925 when the former practice of having a business
        agent for the
        Lodge proved too cumbersome and unworkable when they decided to
        re-publish
        the Secret Doctrine and build a building. ULT, being an
        "association" of
        students, was never conceived to be a legal entity, which one has
        to be in
        order to own property and do business in this state.

        I have never denied it, nor have I found it necessary to announce
        that I
        hold this "position." Most of the active workers at the Los
        Angeles ULT
        probably know it.


        THEOSOPHY COMPANY

        Now, some unstated but obvious questions should be addressed:
        What is
        Theosophy Company responsible for? Primarily, the publishing,
        distribution
        and sale of books and magazines, and the ongoing expenses for the
        building
        in Los Angeles.

        What does Theosophy Company NOT do? It has nothing to do with
        the affairs
        of Associates at any Lodge. The choice of topics for lectures
        and panel
        discussions, what books are used in the study groups, when the
        classes meet,
        who chairs the meetings, how long the meetings are, etc. etc. are
        decisions
        made locally at each Lodge by the Associates.



        T. Co. & U.L.T.

        Now, are there dilemmas, contradictions and problems associated
        with this
        sort of arrangement? You bet there are! It is sometimes
        tricky, trying to
        keep Theosophy Company "out" of the business of the Associates.
        Theosophy
        Company is definitely an influence, especially at the L.A. Lodge,
        much less
        or virtually not at all at other Lodges. For example, how and
        where we
        advertise, what books and pamphlets to reprint, who has keys and
        access to
        the building, whether and whom to hire when volunteers cannot be
        found for a
        certain task, etc., are important decisions. The Associates who
        work at the
        LA Lodge have a lot of input into these things. However, I
        received no
        "handbook" for this, and I have only my fellow students, some
        business
        experience and the theosophical philosophy to guide me.



        AUTONOMY OF LODGES

        Please keep in mind that this is the arrangement at only one of
        22 Lodges.
        Other locations use different formats, and each Lodge is
        autonomous and free
        to order their own affairs. In the seven months I have been
        President, I
        have never been asked permission by another Lodge to do anything,
        nor do I
        think such permission possible or necessary.




        Daniel, your questions are legitimate, and I have tried to answer
        them
        squarely and honestly. I don't know how much detail other
        Theosophical
        organizations reveal about their operations, but I can assure you
        that it
        is a huge change in the ULT/Theosophy Company culture to engage
        in this kind
        of open dialog. It probably would not have happened in the past.
        Individuals then did what I am trying to do now -- the best they
        can to
        uphold and implement Theosophical ideals in an imperfect and
        sometimes
        hostile world.

        Best Regards,
        Wesley Amerman





        -----------------------------------------------------------------
        -----------
        --------

        D . CALDWELL


        Earlier today I tried to collate and organize my notes that I've
        taken over
        the years of my many conversations with various ULT people. I
        find three
        series of notes quite interesting in light of all our recent
        discussions
        about the ULT.

        (1) Soon after Anita Atkins' HPB biography was published she
        personally
        told me that either the LA ULT or the NY ULT was refusing to sell
        her book
        on Lodge premises. I can't make out all my scribbling but it
        appears that
        it was the LA Lodge that made this decision. Is that correct?
        Now I ask:
        WHO was empowered to make this decision? I realize that the
        situation later
        changed and her book was allowed to be sold on the ULT book
        tables. But it
        again amazes me that anyone (let alone one of the "leaders")
        would have
        wanted to ban her book from being sold on ULT premises! I
        remember that she
        was somewhat upset over this decision and said that she and her
        co-workers
        were going to try to have this decision reversed. What in the
        DECLARATION
        would prohibit selling Anita's book?

        (2) I was told by another ULT associate that several years ago
        he wanted to
        start a class on the Mahatma Letters at the LA Lodge. He was
        "pulled aside"
        [to use his exact words] and told in private that this class
        could NOT be
        formed and was not allowed on lodge premises. Does anyone know
        any more
        details about that particular case? WHO made the ultimate
        decision in that
        case? What in the DECLARATION would prohibit this class? Dallas
        always
        writes about all this freedom in the ULT, but the above 2 cases
        negate his
        affirmations.

        (3) I was also told by another "well-placed" ULT associate that
        even the
        current ULT "leaders" {LA}believe they are in contact with the
        Mahatmas.
        About 15 years ago I was told by Walter Carrithers that he had
        discovered
        evidence to show that Robert Crosbie, John Garrigues and later
        "leaders"
        believed they were communicating with HPB, Judge, and the
        Mahatmas. Messages
        had been received from the "Masters." Several years later, I
        asked John
        Cooper of Australia if he thought this was true and he confirmed
        everything
        Walter had originally told me and added more! I bring this all
        up because
        of Jerome's remarks in his latest email. So I ask the group:
        are any of
        you willing to comment on these claims? These claims go against
        the public
        persona the ULT tries to project.

        (4) Jerome recently wrote: "A new President of the Board WAS
        ELECTED in
        February. And it was not whom a minority maneuvered for!!!"

        (a) WHO is the new president and is this a secret or is it
        public
        knowledge to all the associates of the ULT LA?
        (b) I assume that ONLY other directors (trustees) of the TC
        Board [LA]
        could vote in this election, right?
        (c) Did the rank and file associates of the LA ULT even know
        that such an
        election was pending or that it even occurred?
        I have a number of other items but will save those for later.
        Daniel

        -----------------------------------------------------------------
        -----------




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