1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My label and my story? My name is Jon Knebel and I currently live in the western suburbs of Chicago. I have been a member of the TSA for maybe fifteen years.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am active in the TSA at Wheaton, facilitating classes and groups, lecturing and leading workshops nationally. I led a class reading The Mahatma Letters at Wheaton that continued for 2 ½ years.
The extensive preparation for these classes eventually led to my recent appointment as chairman of the TSA committee charged with compiling, editing and publishing the personal letters of H. P. Blavatsky. This project is a continuation of the Collected Writings series begun by Boris de Zirkoff in 1924. The personal letters portion of this series was begun by Dr. John Algeo in 1999, and he published the first volume of this series in 2003. Three or four additional volumes are expected.
I also serve on the boards of directors of the TOS-USA, and of the International Theosophical Conferences, Inc.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
I first began exploring Western and Eastern traditions when I was in high school. During that time I learned of Theosophy, but found it difficult and unappealing. I went on studying physics, religion, philosophy, ancient history and anthropology. I also poked around the New Age stuff in the 60’s and 70’s. When I revisited Theosophy in my 40’s, I found that it formed a wonderful platform onto which my ideas from other teachings and traditions fit nicely.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
As my study deepened, I found myself compelled to serve, both in the world and within the Theosophical movement. Theosophy is now becoming a living power in my life. I am learning how to respect all life, all persons, no matter what their beliefs, regardless of their behaviours.
5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?
The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett. This book contains the Theosophical teachings as they were first presented, and is itself a wonderful history of the early Theosophical Society.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment? & 7 Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement? (both question combined )
The biggest challenge today for all branches of the Theosophical movement is making the teachings accessible and attractive to the general population, young and old, without destroying their potency. Seeing this happen is my greatest wish.
From the editor:
Opinions and ideas expressed in the mini-interviews are exclusively of those who are being interviewed. They don’t necessarily represent the ideas and opinions of the compilers of Theosophy Forward. The responses of the interviewees are not edited for content. Some contributors give short answers to the questions while others touch upon the subject more elaborately.