TS is Not a Sect Nor a Cult

21 February 2005

As has happened in the past, recently a sector of the Sydney press has again portrayed the Theosophical Society as a “sect” and a “cult”. Although our National President, Linda Oliveira, wrote a letter seeking to set the record straight and protesting at the gross misrepresentation of the Theosophical Society by portraying it as a cult and a sect, the letter has not been published so far.

We reproduce below part of her letter:

“From its very inception in New York, in November 1875, and throughout its almost 130 years of existence, the Theosophical Society always upheld the principle of Freedom of Thought and respect for the spiritual search of its members. We have, as leaders, elected Presidents – both nationally and internationally – who are chosen by the majority of our members in democratic and constitutional elections. Although there were some controversial aspects to the early history of the Society, at no time have any of its leaders claimed any form of spiritual authority over the minds of its members. Therefore the TS has not, during its history, met the definition of a cult. Furthermore, the Society’s work has touched the lives of many influential personalities in the world, including M. K. Gandhi, W. B. Yeats, Alexander Scriabin, Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinski, L. Frank Baum, among many others.

Although the Society derives its name from the Greek word theosophia, literally “divine wisdom” – the essential spiritual heritage to be found at the heart of the world’s religions and philosophies – the word has never been defined in any official document of the TS.

We invite you and your readers to visit our website (www.austheos.org.au) and see for yourselves the nature of the work done by the Theosophical Society in Australia.

Yours sincerely,
Linda Oliveira
National President”