The Theosophical Society (Adyar)

Institutional Issues

Letter by Michael Carlo

03. 11. 2008

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An Urgent Appeal To ALL Theosophists both worldwide and in the TSA
from the President of the Buffalo New York Lodge.

Speak up, let your Moral outrage be known.
This abuse of our Autonomous Lodges MUST be stopped.
Contact your TSA Director and let them know how you feel.

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Dear Fellow Theosophists,

We of the Theosophical Society in Buffalo, Inc. (Buffalo, NY) have been following with interest the travesty of the National Headquarters of the TSA meddling, at an international level, in the affairs of the Theosophical Society, as well as other issues that have been discussed through the use of this e-mail list. If not for the diligent focus on these issues, we would not have been so well informed of the secretive Board of Directors of the TSA and the covert resolutions they pass, which affect all of us, without any input from the chartered lodges and study centers throughout the nation.

We appreciate the service you have been doing for Theosophists world wide by encouraging open dialogue and transparency, and it is for this reason that we would like to share with this list a problem we at the Buffalo Lodge are presently facing.

We are an autonomous, chartered lodge, one of the oldest in the nation. The charter was signed by H.S. Olcott himself. We have recently been taken off of the National Directory on the TSA website. That is to say, all of our contact information has been deleted, as if the Buffalo Lodge does not exist. When we asked for an explanation for this action, we were told that we were deemed unfit to represent Theosophy to the world, in the opinion of the TSA Board of Directors.

This is a first step towards rescinding the charter of the Buffalo Lodge.  

We are appalled by the poor judgment of National Headquarters. At a time when membership in the Theosophical Society in America is at an all time low, that they would even contemplate alienating and threatening the existence of a Lodge and its charter without even notifying said Lodge of specific charges, not to mention not giving the Buffalo Lodge the benefit of the doubt or the chance to speak for itself.

We believe that this is part of a larger strategy to strip the independent lodges of their right to function independently and to make autonomous decisions about their internal affairs. 

We are constantly barraged with requests to update our bylaws to conform to the National Headquarters format, in spite of the fact that we are a small, spiritual-minded group that spends all of its time studying the fundamentals of the ancient wisdom. 

At the Buffalo Lodge, we have a set of updated bylaws that protect and uphold the individual rights of every member, as set forth by the founders of the society. Our bylaws reflect our specific circumstances, as every lodge grows and develops in its own unique way. One size does not fit all. The Three Objects are the corner stone of our modus operandi.

At the Buffalo Lodge, all internal issues are discussed and voted on by the membership. The Lodge functions as a democracy. This is in contrast to the TSA National Headquarters, which uses a secretive Board of Directors that passes resolutions without the input of the membership at large.

Several examples of this are the following: the removal of the TS seal, using Wheaton as a polling place, and the removal of the Buffalo Lodge from the national directory without any notification.

We believe that this has come about because of the bureaucratic agenda that has taken hold at National Headquarters where they value the letter of the law above the spirit of the law. 

They seem to determine the health of lodges by the way they look on paper as opposed to actually visiting each lodge and observing first hand how they function. (Even HP Blavatsky was known to travel to the most remote locations to observe first hand what was happening in order to cultivate what was to become the Theosophical Society in America .)

Our national leadership has been missing in action as to their relationship to the Buffalo Lodge. As an example, the current president of the TSA, a few years back, was in Buffalo to visit a study center and the officers of the Theosophical Society in Buffalo were never notified. This is a display of partisanship towards the newly formed study center and is a direct slight to the integrity and historical significance of the Buffalo Lodge, which has been teaching theosophy in the area for over 130 years.

The membership of the Buffalo Lodge has refused to ratify and include in our bylaws Resolution 9, the Liquidation of Assets Clause, as demanded by National Headquarters. This Resolution encroaches on the autonomous nature of the Buffalo Lodge and all lodges that have been in existence for a number of years and have acquired assets owned by the membership. We believe that the ratification of this resolution, at this moment when punitive actions have already been taken against us, and which threaten our charter, would lead directly to the expedited destruction of our lodge as it would open the door for the Board of Directors to revoke our charter, seize our assets and grant them to the newly formed study center in Buffalo.

We would like the names of all Board of Directors members that voted to remove the Buffalo Lodge from the directory, as well as an official statement of the charges brought against our lodge, to which we have not yet received an official response.

We have been denied fair and equitable representation in this situation due to the fact that the Board of Directors did not fully investigate this issue, but merely rubber-stamped our condemnation as a quick solution.

We believe that the Board of Directors was in dereliction of their duties by not fully investigating both sides of the issue.

We believe that the underhanded action taken against the Buffalo Lodge should be grounds for the removal of all TSA Board of Directors members who voted against the Buffalo Lodge.

In conclusion, any input, encouragement and feedback will be greatly appreciated as we feel isolated, threatened and abandoned by National Headquarters. 

We would like the comfort, reassurance and advice of all fellow theosophists to support us in our effort to oppose the attempt to make the Theosophical Society in America into a corporate bureaucracy that will not respect the autonomy of the independent lodges.    

Michael Carlo, President 
Theosophical Society in Buffalo

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Contact Buffalo Lodge directly

Contact your TSA Director and let them know how you feel.

Last update: January 2009
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