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Orlando Lodge

Mar 24, 2010 05:43 AM
by MKR

March 24, 2010

To: President and Elected Board Members
      Theosophical Society in America
      Wheaton, IL

Re: Orlando Lodge

Dear President and Board Members,

This is a message regarding my concerns about the Orlando Lodge of
Theosophical Society.

Visitors to Theosophical Society of America Internet Website will notice
that the Theosophical Society in Orlando is no more listed as one of the
lodges in Florida.

The only conclusion that can be reached is that it is no longer a Lodge
chartered by Theosophical Society in America and its charter has been

The Board of TSA seems to have  recently met, and in all likely hood the
cancellation/withdrawal decision has been taken. The agenda and the
proceedings of the Board meetings are secret and when cancellation decision
is taken, it will be formally mentioned in a cryptic one-liner statement in
the Official Newsletter to members, but members are kept in the dark about
the reasons behind the decision. As of now, the members are in total
darkness about the Orlando lodge matters.

The information environment in the world has changed considerably with the
advent of  Internet. So, with the help of Internet, members around the world
were made aware of that some far reaching action by TSA is in the works with
regard to the Orlando lodge, which may end up losing its charter. This is an
issue of interest to many members of TSA.

Members know that the Orlando Lodge is 75 years old and own valuable real
estate and hence members are interested to know what is going on..When some
members in the cyberspace raised the question, the only official
comment was:

âThe National Secretary of the American Section would like to add the
following comment to this discussion:

According to standard practice there will be no statements issued concerning
unresolved cases under litigation. Just be assured that the entire National
Board of Directors takes action only after careful review. Our primary
interest is to support the strength and health of our groups.â

Obviously, in addition to some action regarding cancelling the charter, this
confirms litigation is under way. Ongoing litigation indicates that the
issue behind is money and/or property. In any pauper lodge, there will be
nothing to litigate.

It is well known that the membership around the world (except in India) has
either been shrinking or frozen. This is so even in the American Section as

Since the time of Dora Kunzâs leadership, the membership has significantly
dropped in spite of having able, experienced, dedicated, scholarly, sharp,
hardworking theosophists leading the Section. No one really knows the
reasons for this unusual trend. Downward trend in membership should spell
trouble in any membership organization and TS is no exception.

What is shocking and surprising and bewildering is the lack of any
information from TSA about its efforts to strengthen the Orlando lodge.
Members do not know what are the real problems that the lodge is facing. Nor
do we know if any of the top elected leaders recently visited the lodge to
find out first hand, the problems and resolve them so that we do not lose a
75 year old lodge and its dedicated members.

During the time of HSO, whenever there was a problem with a lodge, he did
not resort to litigation even though he was an experienced lawyer. He knew
litigation does not help TS or theosophy. He personally visited the lodge
and succeeded in resolving the issues. We can take a page from his
experience and use it to solve lodge problems.

It is to be noticed that Orlando also has a Study Center. It is a welcome
news. It is not unusual to find multiple lodges in many cities around the
world. Each lodge/study center can pursue its own programs, even compete
with each other, so long as they do not violate the rules of TSA or TS.
 What is important is to move  theosophy forward.

Litigation costs a lot of money. Obviously, litigation shows there is
underlying property or money interests. TSA with its multi-million dollars
in its treasury, is capable of litigating however long or how ever expensive
it gets. The problem with litigation is that lawyers may win and get well
paid for it and then they are gone. Litigation may result in winning the
battle and losing the war. Lawyers cannot understand the kind of long term
moral damage litigation can cause to theosophy and TS. It is the members and
the TS who have to live with the long term consequences.

Internet is playing a very important part in shining bright light on
happenings around the world. TS is not an exception. Members around the
world witnessed the recent International President election and its
aftermath from moment to moment, due to information being disclosed and
distributed on Internet which is outside the control of anyone. Many members
are convinced that Internet played a critical role in saving the TS in the
last election. Internet is here to stay and its bright light is going to
shine on every decision made by leaders of TSA.

Lodge chartering and closure, to some, may be just a routine administrative
action. TS is not like any other business organization, even though it is a
non-profit corporation for legal purposes.

I recall that in the days of HPB & HSO, chartering of each lodge was
approved by the Inner Founders, since starting TS is Their idea and TS,
Their project for the welfare of the Humanity. It was in the days when HSO
was empowered to take any unilateral decision regarding TS administration.

If chartering was such an important matter that Founders were paying
attention to it among the busy activities, canceling is a much more serious
issue, even though lawyers may say it is within the powers of the Board.

I have lived in a city where there were three lodges and two of them were
chartered the same day personally by HSO and more lodges in a city cannot
hurt TS.

The decision regarding Orlando lodge is going to have far reaching
ramifications beyond the Theosophical Society. Usually many of the elected
leaders have risen to the top in the ES/ER and/or Co-Masonic, and/or LCC.
Hence members hold the leaders to a very high moral standard when they see
the decisions made by them. Lodge charter revocation or cancellation is one
such important issue in the current condition of the membership in TSA.

Silence from the leaders taking refuge behind lawyers is not going to help
them. Silence only encourages speculation and mostly adversely reflecting on
the organization and its leaders.

Orlando lodge issue has brought up a critical issue. As of now, there is no
transparent formal process that TSA has to go through before cancellation of
charter. Also, when valuable real estate is owned by the lodge, such
transparent formal process is necessary to convince every member that the
lodge was very fairly dealt with and the cancellation was the very last
resort after failure of all efforts to fix serious violations of rules of
TSA or TS.

The Orlando lodge issue should be quickly and transparently resolved.
Failing which, all lodges owning valuable property may be apprehensive and
fearful that they may be the next in line for arbitrary take over and this
is not good for the TS or theosophy.

More importantly, due to Internet forums over which no one has control,
while TSA may be autonomous, the attention of many members world-wide is on
the actions and decisions of TSA regarding the Orlando lodge and the
reputation and standing of the American Section in the minds of the  members
is going to be affected by how far the actions are viewed as transparent,
fair, just and even handed. I am sure that the Board of TSA can raise up to
the occasion and meet this high standard.

Thanking you

Fraternally yours

M K Ramadoss
Member, TS in America

copy to: Members, Lodges, & Internet

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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