An independent organization of theosophists founded in the United States. The 1894 crisis in the Theosophical Society (TS) which centered around William Quan Judge, Annie Besant and Henry Olcott resulted in a large proportion of American members supporting Judge and the formation of a breakaway organization known as The American Theosophical Society. Judge did not however, live long enough to consolidate his position and he was followed by Katherine Tingley who assumed the leadership of the American Society and radically altered the operation of it. She closed the lodges and set about the establishment of a theosophical community at Point Loma in California (see Theosophical Society, Pasadena). This venture flourished for a number of years and many theosophically eminent persons resided there. In time a number of residents at Point Loma became dissatisfied with what they perceived as the excessively autocratic behavior of Tingley, among them was Robert Crosbie and in 1904 he was ejected from the community for alleged insubordination. Crosbie was not the sort of person to be deterred by this rejection and in 1909 he organized the United Lodge of Theosophists (U.L.T.) and autonomous centers were established in some of the major cities of the United States and a few abroad.
The U.L.T. is not a or the “Theosophical Society,” but wishes to be known as a School of Theosophy, an informal and wholly voluntary association of students of theosophy. As an obvious reaction to the perceived autocratic rule of Tingley, the U.L.T. was committed to as loose a structure as possible. Articles are not signed and lecturers are anonymous; there are no officers, constitution, by-laws or administrative structures. In spite of the obvious difficulties in interacting with the public caused by these restrictions, the U.L.T. has continued to be a significant force in the promotion of theosophical ideals with over twenty lodges in various parts of the world.
The published policy of the U.L.T. is to spread the teachings of theosophy as recorded in the writings of Helena P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge. Members are called Associates and are asked to sign a form which states, “Being in sympathy with the purposes of this Lodge, as set forth in its ‘Declaration,’ I hereby record my desire to be enrolled as an Associate, it being understood that such association calls for no obligation on my part, other than that which I, myself, determine.”
The “Declaration” mentioned above states in its opening paragraph, “The policy of this Lodge is independent devotion to the cause of Theosophy, without professing attachment to any Theosophical organization. It is loyal to the great Founders of the Theosophical Movement, but does not concern itself with dissensions or differences of individual opinion.”
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