Theosophical Society ResponseQUESTION: A Response from a member of the Theosophical SocietyANSWER:This article was written as a response to our article Theosophical Society. Our definition of a cult is as follows, "A cult is any religious group that deviates from the fundamental teachings of the historic, Bible-based, Christian faith as confirmed through the ancient ecumenical creeds." Based on the beliefs of Theosophical Society (outlined here), the group would be classified as a cult under our definition.Theosophical Society - A Response
As a 20-year member of the Theosophical Society, which your website has labeled as a "cult," I must take exception to your description of our international, respectable organization.
First, I would submit that the organization is not a cult, as defined by Webster's Standard Dictionary. Webster therein defines a cult as "a group considered to be extremist or obsessive in their beliefs." Furthermore, cult has historically been identified with organizations that are focused around and led by one strong individual, as in cult of personality. The TS was formed in 1875 by a group of diverse individuals as a universal brotherhood of men (and women) without distinction of sex, race, caste, creed or nationality to encourage the study of religion, philosophy and science and to investigate unexplained laws in nature and powers latent in all people. The group is not a religion, but rather studies all world religions and spiritual practices. The group also is non-political. In my years of membership, I have encountered Baptists, Catholics, and Buddhists who were involved with the Theosophical Society.
The organization has been involved as an organizer and participant in many of the Parliament of World Religions international gatherings of various faiths. The organization has hosted speakers and guests from a wide number of spiritual traditions. In fact, it is part of the organization's worldview to respect all world religions and to respect all people.
Our national magazine, The Quest, has published many articles on various religions traditions including Christianity, submitted by various people including non-members of the TS. We readily include non-members of the TS in our retreat centers, workshops, and libraries. We are not a secret, closed-minded, restrictive organization. Our doors are open to all spiritual seekers without condition or pressure of any kind.
The TS operates in three dozen countries across the world without any dogma or course of required study. In fact, we allow freedom of individual interpretation. There is a healthy amount of debate and disagreement within the TS, which is both tolerated and encouraged. There is no particular book, course, or process that we require of members. We respect that all people that we encounter with interest in spirituality are on a personal spiritual path of growth and discovery and so we encourage them to study with an open mind and determine truth for themselves. Our motto, moreover, is "There is no religion higher than truth."
I do not understand why you have included our organization in your list of religious cults. We are neither a religion nor a cult. Is truth or individual freedom so threatening to anyone?
You need to understand that a number of incredible, respected people have been members of the Theosophical Society through the years. They include master artists, such as Mondrian, and the world-renowned composers Scriabin and Sibelius. They include American inventors, such as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. They include Abner Doubleday, the inventor of baseball, and L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz series of books.
It's a pretty impressive list in all. Maybe you would like to read some of the other names and learn what Theosophy is really about at our website: www.theosophical.org.
Author, "Natural Pet Healing: Our Psychic, Spiritual Connection"