To: All the participants of The Stelle Group April 16, 1975
From: Richard Kieninger
The general meeting of The Stelle Group on March 15 gave rise to many questions about why the trustees are blocking me from both teaching philosophy and directing the course of the group. In response to repeated requests by participants that I define the issues at hand, I am writing this letter in an attempt to do so.
None of the matters discussed at the last meeting were new to the trustees, for the ideas have been aired in detail by them. As long as there has been a board of trustees, we have worked to identify problems and their causes and then find appropriate solutions whether they involved an individual or some part or all of the group. The solution would be implemented through the proper officer or agency with as little fanfare as possible in order to present a smooth transition from one emphasis to another. Given though there may be intense debate in trustee meetings, there might be no issues apparent to the general membership. That such debate should spill over into consideration by all the members is rare and at first encounter is understandably bewildering to those to hadn’t the benefit of background information.
I believe that The Stelle Group has grown to the point where its people must begin to be encouraged to take more of a hand in their own community affairs and interactions. The Stelle Group, on the other hand, is a school, and the trustees are intended to serve me in disseminating the philosophy. The truths garnered and preserved by the Brotherhoods are not debatable issues, but how they are to be implemented can be a matter of choice and agreement which depends in large measure upon the ever-maturing, aggregate readiness of the participants. Paternalistic control by a handful of people elected out of the general membership is not desirable or feasible for very long. Moreover, it is not growth-engendering for a person to rely on others to make his decisions for him. On September 26, I recommended at the meeting of the twelve that there be some means of having the Trustees hear and be responsive to the grass-roots sentiments and opinions initiated by the membership. This idea was shot clout on the spot. I know from long experience that at least three trustees are determinedly opposed to opening the door to such participation by members on the grounds that (1) it could lead to dissipation of trustees’ time and attention, (2) might divert members’ energy from their work, and (3) runs the risk of political divisiveness and polarization of opinions. Dr. White referred to politics as “the total expression of man’s relation to man,” Political action can certainly be conducted at a positive and beneficial level among Stelle members. When the group first was forming there was diverse clamorings for opposing life-styles to be adopted. By taking a strong hand then, with the agreement of the members, the trustees guided people into trying and proving that the Lemurian way worked. Now that we have arrived at a point where there is a base of sound people and a tradition of proven ways these should afford the development of avenues of self-governing. Effective voice in one’s own affairs must be granted eventually, and it is easiest to begin now. I have discovered so much earnest concern and unrest among members that such divisiveness can hardly continue much further and stay within reasonable bounds. Members are presently invited to bring their questions, suggestions and problems to the trustees rather than chatter about things among themselves, but coming before the trustees seems inherently a formidable prospect for some people. All too many have reported to others that they were angrily attacked or criticized in a meeting with trustees, and this farther discourages people to apply for an appointment to communicate reasonable dissent. I propose to create an elected review board with no trustees empanelled which would receive and discuss opinions and suggestions from the members and then pass along to the trustees the responsible complaints and the practically implementable ideas with recommendations of how to proceed. This I envision as a transitional step toward evolving a community forum and legislative adjunct. (see TUF, p. 220). Administrative functions would continue to reside in the board of trustees as per Illinois law and page 135 of TUF.
I also suggested on September 28 a rudimentary judicial function in the form of a single ombudsman to hear complaints of unfair treatment or harsh disciplinary action from an aggrieved party. The ombudsman would be immune to retribution for his decisions and would act as compulsory arbitrator in certain kinds of disputes. My suggestion was found unacceptable as it implied the possibility of un-Lemurian unfairness in The Stelle Group and Stelle Industries supervisors. Yet Stelle people are human and subject to errors in judgment based on reactions to situations.
Another major area of dispute between me and The trustees is the issue of whether information not of immediate practical use may be taught by me or given approval for individual investigation. The membership should have the right to learn of these things and discuss them in order to further expand their understanding of the Universe. It is my contention that members continue to seek information from sources outside of Stelle and evaluate it on their own regardless of official proscriptions that my be placed against specific areas of inquiry. An “Observations” which I submitted commented on a form of mental perception which transcends rationality and is afforded in waking consciousness through a repatterning of nerve interconnections in the brain. The presentation I wrote concerning the scientific reality of this phenomenon was determined to be unacceptable by the trustees. Indeed, the ruling I have received from the trustees is that concepts not already covered in The Ultimate Frontier and Observations are contradictory by their newness and constitute revisionism. Were I to be allowed to project insights into the very nature of the Universe, these would be regarded, at best, as speculative and un-useful information that could well divert one’s solving of practical problems in day-by-day work situations. Stelle must avoid overbalanced emphasis on work and strictly practical, cut-and-dried thinking. My experience is that today’s dreams become tomorrow’s realities, and that man needs dreams to grow on. A balance of scientific and intuitional approaches to information is inherent in the Brotherhoods’ concepts of the scientist-philosopher presented in The Ultimate Frontier. This is what has attracted many people to come here. The trustees’ almost exclusive emphasis on practicality certainly contributes to the development of participants into persons of high productivity and self-esteem, but it will not necessarily foster growth in esthetic values or human-heartedness.
One of the most important lessons Christ has set for mankind is embodied in His only Commandment—the Eleventh—“Love ye one another.” This is the emphasis I too wish to stress, and I draw upon the example of St. John. For those who love, work is a joy. Are we perhaps failing to put the most important thing first so that all other things may follow naturally? Love is at the core of universal creativity. It is a power which, when it flows through an Ego, allows him to experience the most pleasant and uplifting emotions. Being in Stelle has a special advantage over the rest of our culture in that its members support the same philosophy and believe in man’s ability to uplift himself by balancing his spiritual, mental and practical natures. Inherent in the philosophy and in the community goal is the development of a strong and affectionate family bond among all the membership with genuine feelings of love for one another. Although the Brotherhoods’ way presents a long and carefully nurtured collection of guidelines, each person must find and pursue a path appropriate to his personal needs. Each Ego is unique and requires a unique set of experiences for his growth. Stelle should encourage individual development rather than dictate absolutes. Whenever I make mention of the need for love within Stelle, vile connotations are immediately imputed by the Trustees. What I foresee for Stelle, and have been directed to propagate, is the kind of interpersonal linkages which encourage growth from ego-centricity to socio-centricity and which afford the basis for real maturity. This does not mean I am seeking to turn Stelle into a big encounter group. It is important to understand the type of people we presently are because of our being immersed in Western Civilization. Several centuries ago Europeans were agrarians who worked closely with land and were in tune with diurnal impulses of nature. We turned from that maternal, life-giving emphasis of nature-consciousness to materialism and ownership with the rise of the merchant middle class followed by the industrial revolution. Emphasis on boundaries and acquisition promoted separateness and covetousness. The masculine, militaristic and patriarchal emphases then came to the fore. Stelle is counterbalancing separativeness by playing down ownership and acquisitiveness, Even love then becomes non-possessive and does not imply sexual having. Real love is not conditional upon receiving some compensation in return from the one loved. The trustees’ Western views on sexual mores inevitably colors their feelings about the usefulness of close emotional ties between large groups of people. I find that I have no common grounds of understanding with the trustees to even embark on a rational discussion of such matters. There has been an ardent appeal by parents for guidance on how to have sex education presented to their children. This question cannot be entered upon with the trustees, let alone arrive at a sensible answer. I propose that a bi-weekly discussion between all parents and the teachers of the school be undertaken to find a consensus or agreement acceptable to all on what sexual guidelines shall be taught to our children even if it takes a year of meetings. We know that change is inevitable and that changes will continually be needed, but let us determine our direction consciously, and let us start now.
The trustees charge that I wish changes made in order to justify my romantic activities in the recent past. That accusation may merely cover their own reluctance to tackle the knotty problem of sex education. Indeed, we all are inept in the face of the task, but have we not already learned that by trying hard we will find answers? I will be happy to guide, but it is not for me or trustees to dictate what must eventually grow into a Lemurian morality over the next six generations. Most tastes and preferences in sexual matters have their inherent validity and appropriateness. No one person should be allowed to say his way is the right way for all. To enforce any one way would make outlaws out of the majority of people. The touchstone-questions must always be: will an activity enhance Initiation and be karmically sound? Let us meet with positive intent in free and open discussion. We cannot come to live as the Lemurians did in just one generation of trying, but we can start.
My initiation of divorce proceedings against Gail has provided new fuel for the trustees’ promotion of the fiction that I have gone through a severe personal crisis and have become unhinged by it. The trustees say I am out of touch with reality as far as The Stelle Group is concerned. And, indeed, I find it almost impossible to find out what The trustees are working on. An accounting of what business is transpiring or being planned in Stelle Industries is not reported to me even though I am a director. Fortunately, managers have been telling me something of what’s going on in their divisions, but the two top officers are very closed-mouthed. Gail’s continual inferences while I lived with her from November to February that I couldn’t be trusted with information convinced me I could no longer live under her discipline. I refuse to return to a marriage that has been a years-long political conflict and a never-ending trustee meeting.
I stated emphatically at The March 15 meeting that Gail worked in conjunction with David Cysewski to lead The Stelle Group in directions I later preferred to not see it go. I started by letting Gail and David run with their theories in working out techniques for the Stelle School and the Orientation Program since they were the ones actually involved with the children and Associates. I have never questioned their sincerity to achieve to goals of the Lemurian Philosophy, and they both have a good understanding of the information. They worked together very closely for years beginning with our move to the Chase Street house in Spring of 1966. Gail and David are kindred souls to found themselves so compatible in their ideas and tastes that a positive and loving communion naturally developed between them in the course of their long hours of working together every day. Unfortunately, this communion became so engrossing that I and Sandy, David’s wife, felt that there was little place left for us in Gail and David’s emotional lives. I did not consider my masculinity threatened by their affection for one another, and furthermore, David was my friend. Sandy, however, fought Gail for David, and to my distress, the school became the arena. Janet Hansard’s charges at a PARMCAMSG meeting against Gail and David’s alleged affair eventually precipitated a large exodus from the Group. David pointed out to the Group that to relationship between any two people is their business alone and must not be made the subject of speculative chatter. Although I received several notes and telephone calls from members who thought I should be apprised of my wife’s so-called “affair”, I do not believe there was any sexual consummation of David and Gail’s association. The real problem I had with David’s association with Gail is that if anyone challenged Gail, David attacked tern strongly. Issues on which Gail and I disagreed would be taken up by David a week or so later to change my mind. I found this continual two-against-one arrangement very distasteful in my home and work situations. The monolithic bloc presented by Gail and David has long delayed my efforts to direct The Stelle Group where it must go. I believe I have allowed their views a fair trial in both the school and in teaching Orientations. The continuing charges by parents of harshness, unfairness, and rigidity in the school have to be dealt with instead of being always explained away by Gail and David as merely noise being made by down-tone participants. Turning off people in the Group rather than adjusting the psychological techniques being used in the school is, I believe, too prideful on the part of the architects of the system.
Gail and Jim have no faith in the guidance I have received from the Brotherhoods, and Gail has stated there is no Emissary assigned to teach Citizenship Training. The latest official line they have introduced is that each member is his own emissary; and when a person needs information, he will pick it up from the Universe, The Brotherhoods have spent millennia sorting out the real truths from the seductive imitations, and They would, I’m sure, disagree vigorously with that view. Input is all too readily available from nether entities, The trustees have now backed themselves into an interesting box by undercutting me. When, last Summer, they began to suspect that I might be returning to the area to monitor their activities, the trustees gradually began leaking statements to the membership that I had changed, that I was being bugged by lower entities, that I was in deep personal crisis, that I had strayed into promoting false doctrines, etc. Although these pronouncements were probably designed to discredit me as a person to keep me from challenging their position, the credibility of the philosophy I had promulgated inevitably had to come under question by the members. This questioning was not brought about by my alleged actions but rather by interpretations put forth by the trustees. But people became faced with the concern as to how far back in time might I have started the deterioration claimed by to trustees. Could I perhaps not also have been bugged when I wrote The Ultimate Frontier? What about all the policies and directions I had operated on in setting up and strengthening Stelle and which the trustees still maintain? Until a few months ago, whenever someone challenged the trustees’ actions or decisions he was told essentially that the trustees control and the rightness of their decision stemmed from the line of authority and precedence handed down to them through my direct and sole responsibility to the Brotherhoods for the group. But they have undermined that line of authority by the very misrepresentations they began against me last summer. Now they have no more of an inside track than anyone else in the group to determine The philosophy and vital decisions for all the rest of the members to follow. About the only course left them in order to maintain their power would be to claim sometime in the future to have inherited a direct line of responsibility from The Brotherhoods.
Although I have always been directly accountable to Superiors, the trustees have repudiated the restraints of any accountability except, as they say, to their own individual consciences. They have tried to paint me as a miserable, ineffective shell of a formerly admirable leader who has run away from insurmountable problems of his own making. Therefore, no one would seek to follow such a poor example’s teachings. Aside from my present discord with the trustees, I enjoy peace and personal balance. And I feel good about my decision not let myself be contained in intolerable situations any longer. I find I can sustain myself positively despite the angry confrontations from the trustees even though their letters, conduct, and language toward me has been the kind used only with someone to has been completely written off as a person to could ever again be considered as a friend or worked with without sneering animosity. The severity and frequency of their threatening attacks to force members to obey them seems to be increasing. The trustees’ power-plays, bold refutations, and false witnessing frankly rouse my indignation, and I have to apologize that seeing my words and real motives twisted into traps for the membership provokes me to react emotionally. The trustees are operating destructively in my sphere and crushing that which we put together under the Brotherhoods’ direction with much effort over many years. They appear to be willing to hold sway regardless of the cost to The Stelle Group. I am, therefore, strongly and righteously opposed to the trustees’ continued interference in the path of the Brotherhoods’ Plan. The trustees have unleashed the backhanded weapon of using the high position of their office to give weight to their charges of my being under the influence of Black Mentalists. That I have come back to stand up for what I believe is right for guiding the destiny of Stelle is a change in my ways of doing things, and that surprised them; for in the past I have instead acceded in order to preserve the appearance of a stabilizing unity among the leaders. I failed to be strong and assertive when the group’s direction was being decided upon by the encroachment of others instead of me. Now I have a difficult task in correcting my error. It is not in me to be vindictive. I believe that employment of the talents of the trustees can still be utilized should they be replaced as trustees. New trustees can afford me clear channels and good counsel by which the Philosophy can again be disseminated. I expected Jim to provide a check and balance against Gail and David during my absence, yet it seems apparent to me now that he himself needs to be kept accountable to some ameliorating authority to prevent further executive excesses against personnel.
In the past I was asked to recommend the names of the persons who I believed would best counsel me effectively and also serve to direct the executive functions of The Stelle Group, and the general membership would vote to ratify those recommendations in the biennial elections. The present trustees state that they will neither assume responsibility for nor permit the passing along of my understanding of the Brotherhood’s teachings; so, logically, I asked that the present trustees step down in favor of a board which will allow resumption of the advancement of the philosophy. To ask the membership to support a call for the trustees to resign without prospect of who would assume those positions as new trustees might seem too much like asking for a move from known to unknowns. I have therefore enquired of some of the most respected, capable, fair-minded, and independent-thinking persons in The Stelle Group if they would serve on a board of trustees should the need arise to do so. That does not necessarily imply that the persons to accepted my invitation seek to oust the present trustees but rather that they will run as candidates and be willing to serve together and take on the burdens of the office. The four persons to have agreed to run for trustee are: Russell Hardke, Walter Cox, Kurt Raillard, and Douglas Werth. Their grasp as individuals of the philosophy in both its practical and spiritual aspects I believe to be sound. I herewith again call for the resignation of all the trustees to become effective in twenty days. And it is essential that they resign in a body; for were one to remain he might elect himself president and appoint new replacements for the other vacancies. Should they choose to resign, a twenty day notice for elections can be sent out, (ten days to declare candidacy plus ten days notice and election) and the present trustees can also declare their candidacy for that election. If they will not resign, the membership can petition the trustees for a referendum on removing the present trustees from office (Article II, Sect, 6), and the trustees are obliged to have the secretary send cut ballots for such referendum. Another method is to move at a general meeting for a ballot to amend the By-Laws (requires a simple majority vote) so that the regular election date would be moved to a day in May, 1975, and every alternate year thereafter (Article III, Sect. 5).
When I left last April, 1 did not give the trustees authority over me or the right to revise and control the teachings. The Trustees’ usurpation of the philosophical guidance of Stelle and their intention to pass on the content of what I have to teach has continued even though I have repeatedly and specifically protested. The trustees have taken personal offense at proposals for change, and they seek to block those changes by posturing as the protectors of the faith. Their subjective tastes are not to be the arbiters of the Universe, and clinging to the past and familiar only delays our emergence into Lemurian ideals, which in many respects may be as different as life on another planet compared to today’s perversions. I am here to teach about Christ, not preserve Christianity as it is generally practiced. I have sought to respect the official capacities of the trustees within the organization we have built; therefore, I have submitted to the chain of command which I find over me as a member of The Stelle Group in order to preserve the stable organizational structure of Stelle. There is plenty of room within the guarantees and framework of the By-Laws for me to work legally and formally to re-establish the authorized direction which will fulfill my commission from the Brotherhoods. I am not seeking to replace the present trustees because of administrative malfeasance, but rather because of their opinionated obstructionism. There are other members who concurrently have expressed their own desires for change in the policies of The Stelle Group and Stelle Industries, and these should not be confused with my call for new trustees.
I think Jim Howery should be praised for his organizational ability in running Stelle Industries, Inc., and I intend to support his continuance as president of that corporation as well as his functions in the Department of Building, City Planning Board, Economic Planning and Direction Committee, and other special projects suitable for his talents and training. Gail should continue to be in charge of correspondence with those to write to The Stelle Group for guidance and information, and I would seek to have her serve as a member of the Educational Policy Review Board and be in charge of developing school curricula and study materials. David would continue in his capacity of overseeing bookkeeping and continue the task of writing and developing an orientation course for newcomers. Gary would continue as general manager of the Stelle Construction Co.
I believe it is important that Stelle members review the issues I have presented here and judge them on their merits and not according to who supports or opposes the ideas. Each person should be mindful of preserving the peace and goodwill which will always be vital to the effectual functioning of Stelle in the future.
I am more than willing to serve The Stelle Group, and I seek to serve by teaching and guiding its people in that part of the Great Plan which I have been charged by the Brotherhoods to help bring into reality. I trust that one day I shall again be free to do so effectively.