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Visiting Lecturers/National Leaders

Apr 16, 2011 04:54 PM
by MKR

In the video on the topic of Seven Presidents of TS, there are some
very interesting information. Joy Mills who discusses events preceding
the election of John Coats, describes how Coats with his wife Betsan
and three children and a nanny came to the US to do lecture tours in
the USA. He rented a home in Ojai for them to stay; of course he was
independently wealthy and was able to do it. He and Betsan toured
lodges around the country, most of the time, in separate tours. It was
when John was touring Florida, he learnt that he has been elected as
the International President succeeding Sri Ram.

It is noteworthy that it was during that time the membership in the US
was climbing and got to about 6,000. Today, the membership is hovering
around 3,500. During the recent decades, I have rarely seen any
lecturers visiting my lodge in San Antonio, and it was years and years
since we have seen our National President.

The continuing drop in membership is an issue that none of the leaders
ever mention it even though it is a critical one for the long time
survival of TS in the USA. There are other indications of bad omens on
this. Orlando lodge which is 75 years old lost its charter from the
American Section and fortunately has been attached to Adyar for now.
Members in the USA were never told the specific reasons for shutting
down a 75 year old lodge and members owe an explanation. Silence from
the leadership under some excuse is not acceptable. On the other hand
members would be speculating what else is going on behind the scenes
that the leadership dare not to talk about. One of the flourishing
lodges, the Atlanta Lodge, recently down sized into a Study Center. It
requires seven members for a lodge and just three for a Study Center.
Atlanta is a major metropolitan city and this trend bodes some serious
problems. We do not know if the national leaders have made any
concerted effort to prevent down sizing of the lodge or are they just
waiting for the lodge to naturally disappear so that the assets can be
taken over.

In the opinion of many members, touring lecturers do help rejuvenate
the activities of the lodges. Also personal visits by national leaders
help a lot. In many of the writings of the Adepts, there is a common
reminder that human nature has not changed in million years.
Politicians know about it and that was why the American President
travels and personally addresses citizens. For what ever reason,
theosophical leaders seem to think that visiting lodges and lecturing
is no longer necessary and broadcasting theosophy can be done by
remote control via video or by hands off Power Point presentation
using a computer and projector. Technology is useful and effective
only in certain situations. But spurring activities of lodges is not
one of them.

If the current trend continues, we will see more lodges downsizing and
more of them closing down. If this continues to happen, let us not
complain about how the membership in India is growing and thus Indian
membership will have a decisive say in the election of the
International Presidents in the future. After the last time failure to
seize control by secretly disenfranchising all members, members are
now vigilant for any repeat of this tactic.

Let us wait and see what next.



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