Intro from Peacebliss's post on Theos-Talk, followed by the Letter from Leslie Price:
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Tyranny. Arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority - Whether by TS England in its recent actions or in the kicking out of Life members in India.
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The Theosophical Society in England rejected numerous proposals to settle their current problems peacefully, As soon as the “Complaint” against Janet Lee was made, she proposed mediation, and urged the TSE to get legal advice. Having received proper legal advice herself, Janet realised that the TSE was acting outside its own rules, following the wrong procedure, and even breaking charitable law.
I begged the national president to change course before she split the section, and, by courtesy of the national secretary , all members of the national executive committee received a note from me warning that as a last resort the scandal would be made known on facebook.
After a meeting with P. an elected national officer, I was hopeful that a trained mediator could be brought in, and the sanctions against Janet dropped.
But days later a message sent to senior TSE members by the national president ( though not to Janet Lee, as her name had been removed) indicated that the trial would proceed, and that it would also involve 3 secret judges. The horror of this, in a society one of whose founders, H.P. Blavatsky, had fought against the Inquisition, was very great. The pain of it was felt most acutely by Janet Lee, but Theosophists generally will feel it.
The trial, for unbrotherliness, is now in progress.
Here is another Letter from Leslie Price on Theos-Talk, posted by Peacebliss.
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It’s been six days since the Theosophical Society in England changed the passwords on my theosoc. account without notice. This cut off my access to years of discussion with Theosophical scholars, and also to my own revised draft lectures as a recent appointment as a TSE National Lecturer; also my incomplete 2018 Blavatsky Lecture on “The Wisdom of H.P. Blavatsky”. There are also the preparatory exchanges with Professor Joscelyn Godwin up to earlier this month for the important one day conference he is giving at 50 Gloucester Place on Saturday 30 June on the theme “Building Bridges”, especially with the academic community.
That is still my policy - building bridges not just with scholars and scientists, but with the wide spectrum of people who look to the Theosophical Society on their spiritual journey.
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from Peacebliss on TSE issues
Last month the headquarters manager at the Theosophical Society in England told me he intended to report my facebook postings to the Executive Committee, for bringing the TSE into disrepute; this body meets on Saturday 19 May, when further steps may be taken against me.
He mentioned in particular my two postings about the School of Economic Science, persons connected with which have a growing presence in the TSE corridors of power. Yet most of the EC know almost nothing of that body.
However when I was first active in the London TS in the early 1980s, the London Evening Standard carried out a disturbing investigation into SES ; this was followed by a book “ Secret Cult” by Peter Hounam and Andrew Hogg. Perhaps the gravest aspect concerned the ill-treatment of children in their schools. My friend Rev. Dr Martin Israel, part of the exorcism team of the Bishop of London was priest in charge of a nearby church, Holy Trinity Prince Consort Road, and felt he had come up against SES in his work; indeed he attributed a shoulder injury to the repercussion of this.
Of course it would be foolish to condemn a group today for what some members did in the 1980s, There have been attempts to change the image of the group, though there is still a reluctance by them to publicly admit SES links. But their ethos remains that of a cult, and Theosophists may find themselves in the position of a bird with a hatching cuckoo, being pushed out of the Theosophical nest. Indeed an SES linked person has been prominent in making difficulties for Janet Lee for many months.
Meanwhile the trial of Janet Lee for unbrotherliness continues. I understand the national president has chosen the three secret judges. However it is the national executive committee which will pass sentence, and their next scheduled meeting is not until July 14.
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I think you should bring a lawyer. In any case, subpoena all records, soft copy, cloud records and hard copy from the entire TSE. How else are you going to find out the Truth? Just a thought.
More from Theos-talk (via Peacebliss)
Here is a message I received today from the general manager of the Theosophical Society in England.
At a meeting of the Executive Committee on Sat 19th May, the matter of your recent posts on social media was discussed at length.
It was found that you have painted a wholly distorted view of an ongoing process that has been both verified by our specialist Lawyers and unanimously accepted by the Executive Committee.
It is also clear that you have made spurious and misleading allegations against certain members of the Society based entirely on hearsay without checking the facts (a prerequisite for any ethically and fair-minded person and especially necessary for a researcher). Furthermore, you have done this in the full knowledge of the damage to the reputation of the Society that would likely result from your actions. As you freely acknowledged yourself, bringing the Society into disrepute.
It is very disappointing to us all, that someone who up until recently we had relied upon to conduct accurate historical research (and who despite being advised to the contrary), should choose to accept at face value, the word of someone who has a verifiable history of making misleading and inaccurate statements, to which you then proceed to publicly disseminate with apparent malice.
In consideration of the above, it has been decided by both the Executive and Summer School Committee, that it would be wholly inappropriate for you to present the prestigious Blavatsky Lecture at this time. Therefore in this matter also, your services are no longer required."
Needless to say, there are many inaccuracies in this message. I affirm this, despite discovering today that the general manager secretly recorded my meeting with him to discuss facebook
another message from Peacebliss on Theos-Talk
Read on for show of intolerance and vindictiveness in TS, England.
At the Theosophical Society in England, where Janet Lee's trial for unbrotherliness continues, those behind this continue on their course. The coordinator of the National Speakers' Scheme ( which actually comes under the charitable Foundation for Theosophical Studies) has written to me today.
"I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that, in the light of recent events, we are removing you from our list of approved speakers for the National Speakers’ Scheme, for the time being at least.
There is no objection to you fulfilling any commitments that have been already arranged as an independent speaker, but you must inform the Lodges concerned that they themselves would have to pay any expenses.
I would like to thank you for the talks you have given at Lodges under the National Speakers’ Scheme, and wish you all the best for the future. "
The reference to expenses (cut-price rail tickets in my case) is a nice touch of detail , and indicates, I suppose, a carefulness in the dispensing of Theosophical funds!
From Leslie Price, May 28, 2018
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A Theosophical historian, though “wrapped up in shock”" offers an analysis of the ordeal of Janet Lee, who has been accused of unbrotherliness at the Theosophical Society in England.
“.... the charge of unbrotherliness cannot be proven. It is not a crime. It can only be a matter of opinion. It has no inherent logic, since it can only ever be used as an ad hominem attack against someone who holds different views from your own. As such, the very making of the accusation becomes an act of unbrotherliness and violates the spirit and practice of the first object.
At the same time, from Janet's side, there are actual provable violations of constitutions, bylaws, rules, regulations, both internal to the TS and external, as laws of the land, especially those governing charitable institutions--not to mention those having to do with bullying, whistleblowing, and assault.”
To this I would add that, what is surely evident, that the appalling treatment of Janet Lee since she confided to colleagues that she had been bullied (she actually used the words “Me Too” )- the ostracism, banning, traducing of her reputation, the secret judges, the awarding of life membership to those she had named, the repeated rejection of attempts at a peaceful resolution etc- make the idea of such a body passing judgment for "unbrotherliness " an absurd one.
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From Leslie Price, May 30, 2018
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Last week I received a letter (somewhat offensively worded) from the manager of the Theosophical Society in England withdrawing my invitation to give this year’s Blavatsky Lecture. The TSE has now announced a replacement lecturer – the National President.
The choice of subject is to me astonishing ‘The Real Meaning of Brotherhood’.
This is the organisation which for months has been investigating a "complaint" of "unbrotherliness" one of its most diligent workers, Janet Lee, with a series of distressing accompaniments utterly unbrotherly in nature, and these have
been inflicted in the name of the National President.
This investigation continues, including three secret judges, although sentence may actually be passed by the TSE executive committee, which is next scheduled to meet on July 14 and may not even conclude the matter then.
The cruelty of these long drawn out proceedings makes a mockery of any claim to brotherhood.
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Leslie Price, Jun 6, 2018
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Last month I received an e mail from the general manager of the Theosophical Society in England telling me that “it has been decided by both the Executive and Summer School Committee, that it would be wholly inappropriate for you to present the prestigious Blavatsky Lecture at this time. Therefore in this matter also, your services are no longer required.".
This lecture “ The Wisdom of H.P. Blavatsky” deals with growing academic research into H.P.B. and her work, which presents a considerable challenge- and opportunity - to Theosophists. Completion of it had already been hindered as the general manager had without warning cut of my access to years of Theosophical research accumulated on my theosoc. account at TSE headquarters
However I am very pleased to announce that the lecture, while not of course now a “Blavatsky Lecture”, will be presented at the 2018 European School of Theosophy.
Details will be added to the School programme in due course .
It is a great privilege to be part of such an occasion.
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Leslie Price, Jun 16, 2018
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At the Theosophical Society in England, the trial of Janet Lee for “unbrotherliness” is now in its fifth month.
Last week more details of ballot rigging at the recent National Council meeting were sent to national officers.
A committee candidate was secretly excluded, bypassing the national secretary who is responsible for elections. A person was elected instead who had not been nominated. The name of the committee? The Rules Committee!
A motion was introduced and passed, creating an 8 year rule of maximum length of continuous service on the new TSE charity. Such a motion had been repeatedly rejected at other stages. Substantive motions like this cannot be introduced in an NC meeting, as every reader of an agenda knows. The new charity rule was intended to exclude Janet Lee.
If Janet had been present as a national council member, she would have spoken against these irregularities. But the national president had written forbidding her to attend, and an enforcer was standing by in case she attempted to enter.
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Leslie Price, Jun 14, 2018
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Today I wrote to the national president of the Theosophical Society in England urging her to resign. I should not have believed I should ever be moved to write such a letter.
" In February 2018, the Theosophical Society in England was in a hopeful position. After a long struggle, charitable status had been achieved. Ownership of trust property had been clarified, and the TSE again had access to its funds from the sale of Tekels Park. The society enjoyed a growing reputation as a centre for academic research, having just held a very successful Annie Besant conference with papers from 8 countries. Behind the scenes however, there was chronic discord, giving the headquarters building a bad atmosphere, actually exacerbated by recent disagreements about the charity and its Byelaws and other disagreements about the sale of Tekels Park stretching back to 2011. The national president was aware of the tensions, and strongly desired to bring peace and harmony, from the leading members down.
The crisis became acute following a complaint by one executive committee member about another, Janet. In her response, the president made a series of grave mistakes.
she did not refer the matter to the EC, but provided the EC, and even national officers (the treasurer and secretary) with minimal information.
although governance is a responsibility of the secretary, she treated the complaint as a membership matter, when the involvement of trustees made it governance. She side-lined the secretary and was not collegiate.
she did not seek legal advice immediately from the TSE solicitors, and disregarded repeated warnings that she was not following correct procedure.
she attempted to suspend Janet, which is not within the president’s powers according to the TSE rules.
she adopted a procedure appropriate for a staff member, rather than a trustee, and a disciplinary procedure rather than a grievance procedure. This involved measures, such as banning from the building, ostracising and the surrender of keys which were entirely inappropriate.
without warning, she announced the complaint in an email, without details but naming Janet, to many of senior members - on the EC, National Council and in lodges. In so doing she destroyed the reputation of Janet, as many recipients naturally thought something criminal or dishonest of Janet, when this was not so; she refused to rectify this.
[ It was this announcement, to much of the membership, which brought the TSE into disrepute.]
from an early stage, she used the general manager in her actions. This was highly inappropriate for a trustee matter. She did not control his actions, and he began to go beyond her own wishes, cutting off Janet’s name from all member and trustee circulation lists for example. (Even now, Janet has not received the committee papers to which she was legally entitled.) The manager later cut off Leslie’s theosoc email access without warning. Recently he set a grave precedent in refusing a room booking from an outside body which could result in them leaving the building after many years. The general manager has become a menacing presence, overshadowing even the EC.
the president brushed aside all suggestions of independent mediation or peaceful resolution. She seemed to equate “being strong” with persisting, despite the growing damage being done.
the complaint came when Janet accused the complainant and one other of bullying. The president does not appear to appreciate the seriousness of bullying charges for an organisation. If unresolved, they make it impossible for many people in other bodies, such as universities, to be involved in any way with the TSE. They kill any fundraising project (planned for this year) stone dead. But Janet’s complaints have not been investigated, only the complaint against her.
the president has not maintained neutrality in this situation. She has taken advice from the two alleged bulllies, and astonishingly made them life members, an honour in her gift, while the bullying issue was unresolved. Any leader finds that people try to use them, not only to pursue personal ambitions, but also personal vendettas. A president should have resisted this.
the steps taken against Janet, notably the advice to EC, later to NC and Lodge Officer members not to have contact with her, leading to ostracism, have amounted to callousness, indeed cruelty. Janet was a faithful member of the senior team, ever loyal to the president as Desdemona was to Othello. Ingratitude is not one of our vices, wrote a Mahatma, but ingratitude is evident in the way the president handled this matter, with Alice in Wonderland justice of punishment before the verdict.
the so-called independent panel involved in investigating the complaint is a form of secret justice totally inimical to Theosophical practice and modern concepts of human rights. It is not remotely within TSE rules, and like many of the other matters I have listed, the secrecy surrounding their names and their operations (known to some, including an alleged bully, but not to others), brings the society into disrepute,
there is no possibility of restoring the reputation of the TSE so long as the president remains in office, because she is identified with the gross maladministration described. The list above is not exhaustive; there have been numerous other mistakes, which could be added. "
Meanwhile the trial of Janet Lee for unbrotherliness continues.
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