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Leadbeater's birthdate - why ask?

Jul 22, 2007 11:50 PM
by gregory

Arguments suggesting some ?mix up? or inadequacy in documents relating to
Leadbeater?s birth date are patently nonsense which can only be peddled by
the profoundly ignorant or the manifestly dishonest.

The evidence for the birthdate of 1854, in summary, consists of:

1. the registration of the birth at the Stockport Registry Office
[information provided by Leadbeater?s Father];
2. the birth certificate subsequently issued [information provided by
Leadbeater?s Father];
3. the registration of the Baptism in Stockport Parish Church [information
provided by Leadbeater?s Father];
4. the information reported for the census return submitted by
Leadbeater?s father in 1861;
5. the information reported for the census return submitted by
Leadbeater?s father in 1871;
6. the age for Leadbeater included on the death certificate for
Leadbeater?s father [information provided by Leadbeater?s mother];
7. the information provided to Anglican Diocesan authorities when
Leadbeater applied for ordination [information provided by Leadbeater];
8. the information reported for the census return submitted by Leadbeater
in 1881;
9. the age for Leadbeater  included on the death certificate for
Leadbeater?s mother [information provided by Leadbeater].

I note that sources 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 involved the submission of
information to an official source as required by law, and with severe
penalties applied for providing false information. Thus, in sources 8 and
9 Leadbeater himself made a formal declaration under penalty of law
declaring himself to be of an age which required that the year of his
birth was 1854. He either then committed perjury ? or subsequently lied
about his age.

The TS (Adyar) position on Leadbeater?s birthdate now seems ambiguous.
Some of his books reproduced by the TPH include the dates 1847-1935; some
simply refer to the date of his death (1934).

Hugh Shearman of the (Adyar) TS and a Priest of the Liberal Catholic
Church, in a pamphlet biography also reproduced as an introduction to a
Liberal Catholic Church publication of Leadbeater?s ?The Christian
Gnosis?, accepted the 1854 date.

Peter Michel (a Leadbeater defender) in his "Charles W. Leadbeater. Mit
den Augen des Geistes. Die Biographie eines grossen Eingeweihten"
(Aquarian Verlag, Voglherd: 1998), undertook detailed research intended to
prove the false date, but accepted the 1854 date.

Robert Ellwood (of the Adyar TS and a Liberal Catholic Priest) seems to
accept the 1854 date for his biographical entry on Leadbeater in the
recent ?Theosophical Encyclopedia? (2006:367).

Pedro Oliveria (an employee of the TS(Adyar) in Australia and a Liberal
Catholic bishop) accepts the 1854 date on his website about Leadbeater
[] declaring that Leadbeater ?was
born in Stockport, Cheshire, England, on 16 February 1854, to Charles and
Emma Leadbeater. This date of birth was given in the English census of
1861, 1871 and 1881. After his mother died, in May 1882, his date of birth
was given as 17 February 1847 and it appears in the 1891 census. This was
also the date he used in his passport. His reason for using a different
date of birth is not known, although research about it continues.?

The Liberal Catholic Church, after having resolved at its General
Episcopal Synod meeting in Sydney in the latter half of 1996 that
Leadbeater was born in 1847, despite apparent evidence to the contrary, in
the ?Table of Apostolic Succession in the Liberal Catholic Church
including Relevant Episcopal Consecrations, Appointments and Jurisdiction
1719 ? 2002? (The St Alban Press, London, 2003) bearing the imprimatur of
the then Presiding Bishop, Ian Hooker, now states that Leadbeater was born
on 16 February, 1854.

Dr Gregory Tillett


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