The results of my poll make it very clear that western members of the TS feel the president of the TS should be elected directly by the members. I think this is also the outcome of the online discussions. I feel that point should be withdrawn from the table by those who supported it originally.

Other parts of the original proposal were however supported by most of the people who voted in the poll. I do think the general council should take these up at the next available moment. However these points are generally of lesser importance in my opinion.

Discussions online bring out two other points of difficulty.

First of all the rules around lodges make them hard to start and maintain and give them little freedom to organize things as they wish. Beyond that it is clear that national theosophical organizations should be made into sections when they have enough members. Whether they have seven lodges or not should not be a consideration.

The essential point about lodges is that they are study groups where people practice the three objects. Whether they give a yearly report and help keep national headquarters busy with bureaucratic formalities should not be seen as essential. I also think it is fair that lodges have the freedom to decide on their own property, even if that means that in some cases the TS does not get access to them when the lodge disbands. Lodges sometimes feel that local interests are best dealt with by keeping the resources local. The decisions of the members of a lodge on such points should, I think, be respected.

The other point is that of transparency. While I don't think members need to be kept abreast of every little detail the general council discusses, we do want to know the main points. I don't really enjoy being whistle blower. I'd rather see the TS reinvent itself as an open organization where nobody feels threatened by honest discussion of organizational points. And where members are kept informed about major issues as a matter of course.

This does imply obviously that members take the responsibility of let's say 'acting their age'. We each represent the TS. That does mean we should keep our disagreements civil and on the point. It also means we need not repeat our opinions too often. [Yes, this is a response to recent flame wars online]

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He sent me additional information in a personal letter around that time. He was the one "around the center" on the Boston Lodge side whom I believed to be sincere. I did point out to him the fact that he refused to communicate with National, which was kind of "unbrotherly". His take was that the fact that the Lodge leadership was in the right was so incredibly self-evident that communication was unnecessary.

A problem was that there had been hostile takeovers of lodges, and confiscation of their property, by Alice Bailey groups at the time, causing concern on the part of National. People who donate large amounts of money and/or property usually want some sort of assurance that it will not be stolen. The trick is to balance the protection of property from seizure by other groups and local autonomy. I don't feel that National has succeeded in the balance. The rules about dissolving a group were based on such a dissolution being costly to National; with rules changed so that National can gain from a dissolution, the dissolution process needs to be much more difficult.

Another problem was the reduction in districts; one would have to be naive to assume that this was so that no candidate could seriously run for the National Board without the National Board's approval, especially with member lists kept secret (I had recommended that membership applications had a checkbox "I would like my name and address to be made available to fellow members", but that was rejected, of course). However, the reduction in districts actually makes a hostile takeover of National easier, by allowing the hostile organization to have fewer centers.
It is the property which causes all kinds of problems. There is another parallel in the USA in the recent years.

Most Hindu Temples in the US are organized as membership organizations and almost all of them at one time or the other have ended up in courts due to one or more groups wanting to take over. There was even one Temple where the court ordered an attorney to run it until the litigation was over.

I know of only one Temple where they do not have membership and the trustees serve life time and replacements are appointed by current trustees and this has so far had no problems of groups taking over.

Even they have a problem with their large endowment fund needing protection and currently a related entity is being setup so that new group of trustees cannot arbitrarily invade the funds and squander it on their pet projects for the temple.

It is really a blessing that we have not had more litigation in the TS branches. I know of no simple solution other than keeping the branches poor and penniless!!!
When the bylaws were made in the United States requiring that the property of Lodges reverts to National if the Lodge is dissolved, there were two things I fought for. John Algeo agreed with one (that the resources had to stay in the original area), but not the other (that a supermajority of the the board of the American Section would be required to dissolve a Lodge; I was in favor of unanimity minus one). When it looked like the first was getting lost, I phoned him and pointed out that a board could rightly believe that if there was a wealthy but small lodge and a poor but large lodge in another part of the country, the National Board could vote to dissolve the first so that its funds could be seized and transferred to the second.
By god! Even the Shi'ites and Sunnis pray together in the same Masjids (mosques) in the USA! Why can't Theosophists get along as well?
Hey, members of most religions pray together. Theosophists prey on each other.
Two Theosophists is an argument.

Three Theosophists is a Study Center.

Four Theosophists is an argument.

Five Theosophists is a convention.

Six Theosophists is a riot (see convention).

That was a joke that was told to me when I joined the TS over 30 years ago. Things haven't changed a bit.
Well - that's just geography. Shi'ites and Sunnis kill each other in Iraq. Theosophists haven't resorted to that yet - it's just shouting matches (I'm sure that was spelled wrong) & who can quote Blavatsky on what Besant supporter (and vice versa).
To an extent this is just the sort of wrangling that goes into managing any organization. Theosophists being amateurs usually, we're perhaps not used to it enough to realize that. The fact is: theosophists have more influence on what their leaders do than members of most religious organizations - and if that means there's occasional bickering - I'll take that as a matter of course.

The bickering is probably louder precisely because we ARE in fact all amateurs.

Your point is a good one - a supermajority in the NB should be necessary to disband a lodge. I'll keep that one in mind.

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