Sender on Leadbeater

Pablo Sender “C.W. Leadbeater – A Personal Appreciation” The Theosophist Vol 137 No 10 July, 2016

Theosophist 137

The Theosophist is normally available on-line at – however, the July 2016 issue was not available when that site was last accessed (19 August 2016).

CWL for Sender

Dr Sender’s article is, as the title suggests, a “personal appreciation”, and is essentially impressionistic and apologetic.  Dr Sender argues for Leadbeater’s honesty, integrity and high moral character. In doing so, of course, he has to carefully avoid a number of critical issues. He completely ignores the manifold and repeated lies Leadbeater told, including on occasion under oath, about his birth date and family background. He refers briefly to the 1906 scandal, concluding “I feel he was innocent”. He does not address at all the statements Leadbeater himself made – repeatedly – about the sexual conduct in which he engaged with boys. He does not mention at all the later scandals in Sydney, or the statements then made to the Police by some of the boys. The “strongest” evidence Dr Sender provides in defence of the serious charges made against Leadbeater was that he reacted to them with “humility, the absence of resentment and ill will”. Such a reaction may indeed be indicative of “wounded innocence”, but it may equally be indicative of an absence of any sense of morality, as is seen, for example, in sociopaths.

Dr Sender’s account of Leadbeater’s supposed development of clairvoyant powers while at Adyar in 1885 would seem to be unsupported, if not contradicted, by his correspondence at the time with A.P. Sinnett. Likewise, if Leadbeater was a “pupil” in any meaningful sense of Madame Blavatsky it is necessary to explain why, after his return to England, he met with her on only one or two social occasions, and was never admitted by her to her ES, let alone to its exclusive Inner Group. Leadbeater served, instead, as a “medium” for A.P. Sinnett’s London Lodge which existed, essentially, as a rival to the Blavatsky Lodge which Blavatsky regularly attended. She never attended the London Lodge, and Leadbeater was never admitted to membership of the Blavatsky Lodge.

One might wonder on what basis Leadbeater’s claims about his clairvoyant discoveries – which are beyond objective determination – can be regarded as credible, when his claims about his birth and family background – which can and have been determined objectively –   can be shown to be entirely false. Can a person be said to demonstrate honesty, integrity and high moral character when he repeatedly and persistently lies, and thereby causes others to repeat those lies?

Perhaps Dr Sender will offer an explanation to account for this apparent contradiction. I will be happy to publish it.

Pablo Profile smaller

Pablo Sender joined the Theosophical Society (TS) in Argentina, in 1996. Nine years later he went to South India for two years to stay at the International Headquarters of the TS in Adyar, Chennai, and worked at the Archives. He currently lives at the Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai, California. He has a PhD in Biological Sciences.


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