Does He Have a Special Status in U.L.T.?
by David Green
In 1998, Dr. James Santucci, editor of Theosophical History, in an encyclopedia article on the United Lodge of Theosophist (ULT), penned the following on the organization's founder, Mr Robert Crosbie---
"Even Crosbie himself claimed no special status, although he is naturally held in high esteem by [U.L.T.] associates." The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects and New Religions, Prometheus Press, page 504.
U.L.T. associates certainly hold Mr Robert Crosbie in high regard but the U.L.T. elite have declared (both implicitly and explicitly) the unique and special status of the U.L.T. founder. A few quotes will suffice for this initial article----
In 1915, Mr Robert Crosbie made a special claim about W Q Judge---
"After her death in 1891, the Esoteric Section--now School [the Second Section] -- was reorganized. Mr. Judge was looked to and accepted by all as the LINK between the School [2nd Section] and the Masters [1st Section], and between the School [2nd Section] and the Society [3rd Section]. It is clear in our minds that the last phrase of H.P.B.: 'KEEP THE LINK UNBROKEN; DO NOT LET MY LAST INCARNATION BE A FAILURE,' referred directly to Mr. Judge." Theosophy magazine, June 1915, page 371 .
Some four years later, in 1919, Mr John Garrigues declared in Mr Crosbie's obituary in Theosophy magazine---
"Robert Crosbie preserved unbroken the link of the Second Section [the Esoteric School] of the Theosophical Movement from the passing of Mr. Judge in 1896, and in 1907--just eleven years later--made that link once more Four Square amongst men. In the year 1909 the Third Section was restored by the formation of the United Lodge of Theosophists...." Theosophy magazine, Volume 7, page 289.
Compare Mr Garrigues' claim with Mr Crosbie's claim about W Q Judge. The implication is that Mr Crosbie followed in Mr Judge's footsteps, that Mr Crosbie was the "successor" to Mr Judge, and that Mr Crosbie somehow safeguarded the Esoteric School.
Mr Garrigues' statement brings several questions to mind. How did Mr Crosbie preserve the "link" of the Esoteric School during the years 1896 through 1907? And how was that link made "once more Four Square amongst men"? How did Mr Crosbie preserve unbroken the Esoteric link from 1896 to 1904 during the years when he was a devoted follower and vigorous defender of the claims of Mrs Katherine Tingley, whom Crosbie had repeatedly acknowledged as the true Outer Head of the Second Section?
Again in 1925, Mr Garrigues and other ULT associates of the inner circle wrote---
"There is never any failure on the part of the Masters of the First Section, or their Messengers and other agents of the Second Section. . . . [H.P.B.'s] mission has not closed, nor have the chelas of the Second Section, old and new, ceased their labors, albeit they work in 'secrecy and silence' until 1975. . . ."
[How does Mr Garrigues know this? Is he referring to the work of Mr Crosbie and the U.L.T.'s Esoteric School?]
". . . .Quite apart from the continuous work of the Disciples of the Second Section amongst those to whom they are sent. . . [Compare this claim with what Wane Kell writes below.] there are those signs by which the thoughtful and reverent layman. . . may recognize the unbroken continuity of even the Third Section of the Theosophical Movement."
"Out of India . . . has come to the West another true student of the wisdom of the 'Secret Doctrine', B.P. Wadia. . . ."
"In the United States, Mr. Robert Crosbie. . . who for many years had the benefit of direct training and instruction from both H.P.B. and Mr. Judge, established in 1909 at Los Angeles, California, the parent United Lodge of Theosophists, after witnessing the final dissolution of the work left at Mr. Judge's death [in 1896]. Mr. Crosbie was imbued with the conviction that the model set in the Preliminary Memorandum [of the Esoteric (Second) Section] by H.P.B. was the true and enduring modulus for Theosophical study and work after her heart. . . .He died in 1919, but during his entire period of active Theosophical work, he labored to restore the calumniated reputations of H.P.B. and Mr. Judge, convinced that until their unique status was recognized by Theosophists at large, no return to the Source of the Movement and no continuity of the original effort could succeed. . . ." The Theosophical Movement, New York, 1925, pages 698-703.
Mr Garrigues et al fail to mention that from 1896 to 1904 Mr Crosbie was also laboring "to restore the calumniated reputation" of Mrs Tingley. Nor do the U.L.T. writers mention that during the time period in question Mr Crosbie was equally "convinced" of Mrs Tingley's "unique status".
Also note that another claim is made without any evidence whatsoever that Mr Crosbie "had the benefit of direct training and instruction from both H.P.B. and Mr. Judge."
In recent years, Wane Kell, U.L.T. biographer/apologist for Mr Crosbie has written:
"Considering the close relationship that existed between Mr. Crosbie and Mr. Judge, and the special position that Mr. Crosbie occupies in the Theosophical Movement of modern times, one wonders whether Mr. Crosbie might not be considered a 'shepherd' who was following his straying 'flock" [Mrs Tingley's Point Loma TS and its members??]. And when that 'flock' dispersed [when Crosbie was expelled by Mrs Tingley??], the 'shepherd' went in search of a new one [the parent United Lodge of Theosophists which Crosbie founded??]." Bold is added.
Is this not an excellent example of revisionist history? Compare Mr Kell's description of Crosbie as a "shepherd" with Mr Garrigues' 1919 assertion.
I venture to suggest that the United Lodge of Theosophists has claimed a "special status" for Mr Robert Crosbie.