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Periodical: The Theosophic Voice

Summary:  From Pat Deveney's database:

Theosophic Voice, The.
An independent, unofficial journal, published in the interests of the American Section of the Theosophical Society.
For Theosophy and for America!
1908--1909 Quarterly
Chicago, IL. Publisher: Theosophic Voice Publishing Company, in the Interests of the Theosophical Society in America. Editor: Eleanor M. Hiestand-Moore, M.D.
1/1, May, 1/2 August 1908, 1/3 November 1908-January 1909. 24-56 pp. (varies), distributed free of charge.

Three issues only, although there is internal mention of an issue for October 1908, which is almost certainly an error since its existence would confound the issue numbering. This was a "little independent, unofficial journal" put out "in the interests of" disgruntled members of the American Section of the Theosophical Society who disagreed with the official position of the Section, set out in the Theosophical Messenger and in a flurry of pamphlets, in approving by implication C.W. Leadbeater's teaching of masturbation to young boys and telling them, in coded letters, to conceal his instructions from their parents and others, and attributing the practices directly to the Theosophical Masters. Its broader complaint was against the growing autocracy and rigid dogma of Annie Besant and her followers and the elevation of Besant and Leadbeater to the status of "popes":

"'The Theosophic Voice' is established as a protest against autocracy, lax morals and superstition. It will oppose attempts to compromise with wrongdoing in the interest of 'harmony.' The gravity of the present situation in the Theosophical Society stultifies the loud appeals for peace uttered, for the most part, by those who are willing to let the great issues we have lately made, rest without settlement. 'The Voice' represents an element in the American Section which would rather see the Theosophical Society disintegrate than compromise the high ideals which have hitherto determined its course."

Both sides of the internecine war escalated their rhetoric, with the journal moving from defense to open, ever broader attacks, and the Society explicitly equating opposition to Leadbeater with rejection of Mrs. Besant and the Masters; "The Enemies of Mrs. Besant Are the Enemies of Charles W. Leadbeater, of the Masters and of the Future Religion of the World." One of Besant's stalwarts "explicitly threaten[ed] with repression by Natural Law those malevolent Theosophists who impede the efforts of leaders, and announce[d] that 'the Masters will no longer tolerate interference with their plans.'" The tone of the debate was not raised when the contents of the famous cipher letters from Leadbeater to a boy began to be known publicly in the summer of 1908 and became a rallying cry against him ("Glad sensation is so pleasant. A thousand kisses, darling!") and stories began to emerge of Leadbeater's sleeping in the same bed with boys. The journal for a time favored the formation of a dissident branch of the Theosophical Society, the Inter-State Theosophical Society, but that came to naught and Leadbeater was re-admitted to the Society in February 1909, causing a large number of Theosophists to resign worldwide. It is invaluable for its compilation of the letters and ephemera of the Leadbeater Affair. The editor of the journal was a homeopath and universal reformer chosen for the position because she happened to be in Chicago at the time the scandal broke--lecturing on the evils of self-abuse. In 1926, the three issues of the journal were "reprinted" by "a member of the Hamilton [Canada] Lodge," and it is probable that these issues are from this reprint. Yale University; National Library of Australia.

Issues:Theosophic Voice V1 N1 May 1908
Theosophic Voice V1 N2 Aug 1908
Theosophic Voice V1 N3 Nov 1908-Jan 1909

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