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Membership Trend in Theosophical Society in America

Dec 03, 2008 09:54 AM
by MKR

In the 2008 Annual Report of Theosophical Society in America, it is stated

"In spite of our many efforts on behalf of building membership, it has
remained more or less the same as the last several years, currently, 3,899,
a disconcerting drop of 172. Lest we get discouraged, it is helpful to look
at past statistics. At the end of 1933, the TS in America reported 4,544
membersâ. Since then, membership has generally ranged from 4,000 to 6,000,
with a great deal of turnover."

The US population in 1933 was 125,578,763 and in 2008 the estimated figure
is 305,800,376. So in 75 years, the population has grown by 244%. If TSA has
kept up with the population growth, it would have 11,087 members today.
Obviously, all the attempts to increase membership has been a dismal

In a letter written in 1998 to the TSA National President,
Kenneth H. Malkin, a member asked:

"From 8000 members in 1980 when I joined, to less than 4000 today, how could
you let this happen?"

The full letter is at: <>

We all know who the two recent National Presidents of TSA are. All of us
also know that they are two of the Quartet who have been trying to speedily
change the rules to disenfranchise members world-wide and seize the control
of the presidency and make the president a puppet of GC.

Soon after the election, corporate governance has been touted as the most
urgent and important issue facing the TS and the above proposal to change
the rules and seize control was submitted to GC in great secrecy and keeping
all members in the dark.

The above membership data simply shows that the decline in membership is *
the* most serious issue facing TS today. The numbers in other countries
except India seem to track the above dismal trend. None of the GC members
who opposed Radha Burnier in the election, have said a word about the dismal
membership situation. There is also the shocking revelation that in the
Dutch Section, not a single new lodge has been chartered in 50 years,
setting a new world record.

Recruitment and retention of Membership is a local issue. Due to the
autonomy of the lodges and sections, tinkering with the governance at Adyar
is not going to do a thing to solve the membership problem. Many members see
governance issue as simply a reaction by some of the GC members disgruntled
by the defeat of their candidate.

It is hoped that wisdom will dawn on the GC members to see the criticality
of membership growth and retention for the long-term survival and growth of
TS and spread of theosophy.



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