So far as I can at present foresee, this will be the last time I shall ask you to print anything over my, to many Spiritualists, loathed signature, as I intend to start for India very soon. But I have once more to correct inaccurate statements. If I had had my choice, I would have preferred almost any other person than my very esteemed friend Dr. Bloede, to have last words with. Once an antagonist, a bitter and unjust one to me, as he himself admits, he has since made all the amends I could have asked of a scholar and a gentleman, and now, as all who read your valuable paper see, he does me the honour to call me friend. Honest in intent he always is, I am sure, but still a little prejudiced. Who of us but is so, more or less? Duty, therefore, compels me to correct the erroneous impression which his letter on “Secret Societies” (Journal of June 15th) is calculated to give about the Theosophical Society. How many “Fellows” we have, how the Society is flourishing, what are its operations or how conducted, no one knows or can know, save the presidents of its various branches and their secretaries. Therefore, Dr. G. Bloede, in saying that it has “failed in America and will fail in Europe,” speaks of that of which neither he nor any other outsider has knowledge. If the Society’s only object were the study of the phenomena called Spiritual, his strictures would be perfectly warranted; for it is not secrecy but privacy and exclusiveness that are demanded in the management of circles and mediums. It would have been absurd to make a secret society expressly for that purpose. At its beginning the Theosophical Society was started for that sole study, and therefore was, as you all know, open to any respectable person who wished to join it. We discussed “spiritual” topics freely, and were willing to impart to the public the results of all our experiments, and whatever some of us might have learned of the subject in the course of long studies. How our views and philosophy were received – no need to recall the old story again. The storm has already subsided; and the total of “Billingsgate” poured upon our devoted heads is preserved in three gigantic scrap-books whose contents I mean to immortalize some day. When through the writing and noble efforts of the Journal and other spiritual papers the secret of these varied and vexing phenomena, indiscriminately called spiritual, will be snatched at last, when the faithful of the orthodox church of Spiritualism will be forced to give up – partially at least – their many bigoted and preconceived notions, then the time will have come again for Theosophists to claim a hearing. Till then, its members retire from the arena of discussion and devote their whole leisure to the fulfilment of other and more important objects of the Society.
You perceive, then, that it is only when experience showed the necessity for its work to be enlarged, and its objects became various, that the T. S. thought fit to protect itself by secrecy. Since then, none but perjured witnesses, and we know of none, can have told about what we were doing, except as permitted by official sanction and announced from time to time. One of such objects of our Society we are willing to publicly announce.
It is universally known that this most important object is to antagonize Christianity* and especially Jesuitism. One of our most esteemed and valued members, once an ardent Spiritualist, but who must for the present be nameless, has but recently fallen a victim to the snares of this hateful body.
The nefarious designs of Jesuitism are plotted in secret and carried out through secret agencies. What more reasonable and lawful, therefore, than that those who wish to fight it should keep their own secret, likewise, as to their agencies and plans? We have among us persons in high position – political, military, financial and social – who regard Christianity as the greatest evil to humanity, and are willing to help pull it down. But for them to be able to do much and well, they must do it anonymously. The Church – “triple-headed snake” as a well-known writer calls it – can no longer burn its enemies, but it can blast their social influence; can no longer roast their bodies, but can ruin their fortunes. We have no right to give our enemy, the Church, the names of our “Fellows,” who are not ripe for martyrdom, and so we keep them secret. If we have an agent to send to India or to Japan, or China, or any other heathen country, to do something or confer with somebody in connection with the Society’s general plans against missionaries, it would be foolish, nay, criminal, to expose our agent to imprisonment under some malicious pretext, if not death, and even the latter is possible in the far-away East, and our scheme is liable to miscarry by announcing it to the dishonourable company of Jesus.
So, sir, to sum up in a word, Dr. Bloede has made a great mistake in supposing the Theosophical Society a “failure” in this or any other country. Where the Society counted three years ago its members by the dozen, it now counts them by the hundred and thousand. And so far from its threatening in any respect the stability of society or the advancement of spiritual knowledge, the Theosophical institution which now bears the name of the “Theosophical Society of the Ârya Samâj of India” (being regularly chartered by and affiliated with that great body in the land of the Âryas) will be found some day, by the Spiritualists and all others who claim the right of thinking for themselves, to have been the true friend of intellectual and spiritual liberty – if not in America, at least in France and other countries, where an infernal priesthood thrusts innocent Spiritualists into prison by the help of a subservient judiciary and the use of perjured testimony. Its name will be respected as a pioneer of free thought and an uncompromising enemy of priestly and monkish fraud and despotism.
– H. P. BLAVATSKY New York, June 17th, 1878
[From The Religio-Philosophical Journal, July 6th, 1878.]
* [In later days H. P. B. took great pains to explain that the “Christianity” which she so vigorously attacked, was an ecclesiastical system of dogmas to which she subsequently gave the name “Churchianity,” and not the spiritual and moral teachings of Jesus.—EDS.]