Fraters and Sorors:
We have always declared the Rose Cross Order to be basically a fraternity in which the members are an integral part. By this we mean to say that the Rose Cross Order belongs to all of the members of the Order, without exception, and without regard to how long one has been a member or even whether someone is in a position of service as an Official in our Venerable Order, since within the Order all are equal.
This means that, as an integral part of our Institution we are equal and can, even should, be ready to deal with any aspect of the Order that concerns us with total frankness and freedom.
This preamble is a good beginning to treating on a subject that often times, due to a false discretion, is not discussed. Nonetheless, we consider it a matter of importance that needs to be sufficiently clarified.
On occasion, fortunately not often, we receive letters from members of the Order, generally members recently affiliating, in which they tell us that to them the Rose Cross Order is a commercial company, and that they have purchased certain services from us that they anticipate our completion of, with no other obligation undertaken by them. Additionally they make it clear that they do not want to become involved in our "business", as if saying that it is not necessary to make an effort to convince them that the Rose Cross Order is not commercially profitable in nature. They hold that the Order has "commercial" connotations because it charges dues that, in their opinion, are quite substantial.
Surprisingly, when we consult our files, we notice that those who make this type of statement, and object to the payment of dues are in fact frequently the very people who are late in making their dues payments.
It is interesting to note that in most cases, if not all, those who go on in this way and wish to be exempt from paying dues, or are complaining about the dues, do not offer anything in exchange as if an obligation of giving them whatever it is they want falls entirely onto others.
On the contrary, there are people living in very difficult situations who have an honest interest in following the teachings of the Order. Not only do they not ask anything special, they offer to help if they can. This is sometimes the case observed at the Sovereign Headquarters of the Order when we see people like a Soror living in a country that, even as I write this message, is in a state of civil war. It is difficult to even obtain the food needed for subsistence and yet she never complains, nor does she ask for a special consideration, but only declares her hope that some day humanity will become more conscientious and no longer inflict suffering on other people.
On occasion we even receive letters saying that we should not charge dues because it says in the Holy Bible: "Freely have you received, freely give."
The one who wrote this had every reason in the world to say so; knowledge is the birthright of all of humanity and cannot be sold. However, he neglected to consider that in order to even have a Bible it was necessary to go to a bookstore and BUY IT, and if someone does not have the money to make the purchase, he will remain without it.
This is no more than common sense, just as the acquisition of a Bible doesn't suppose that the purchaser is acquiring the message that is written within the book. Rather, they are paying for the many expenses that have accumulated with the printing and distribution of it.
Regarding a book such as the Bible, a person has a tendency to think of the price reflecting the cost of the paper and the printing ink, without pausing to consider that those are very minimal expenses in the creating of a book; in reviewing the entire process of publishing and distributing a book, one would be astonished.
In the process of producing an edition of a book such as a Bible, those who must participate include translators, proofreaders to check spelling and style, designers and marketers for the publication, printers, binders, shippers, distributors, administrative and accounting people to manage the expenses of the project, and so forth until the book finally arrives at the bookstore, where an employee will sell it to us. It seems reasonable that this great number of workers who have done the work so that the book finally arrives in our hands should be paid wages for their work, to help them with their customary needs. Now if we add the cost of paper, inks, binding materials, the cost of the machinery used (printing, photographs or drawings, etc), cost of electricity and the building where the work is done and from which it is distributed and sold and so forth, we reach the conclusion that the simple publication of a book such as the Bible carries some material expenses so significant that it is both logical and sensible that the price requested from the one who wants to acquire the book be paid.
This entire process is only a small part of what is really involved in the producing of a single edition of a single book; if we were to cover the entire process it would take far more time to describe and we'd still only be presenting the reason why the asking price for the book should be paid.
If it is this way with a single edition of a single book, imagine the entire effort expended at the Headquarters of the Rose Cross Order in order to be able to serve Rosicrucians in their quest of the Greater Light.
Here we do not need to prepare a book, but rather many lessons requiring extensive creative effort in the translation of old Rosicrucian Treatises, the interpretation of symbols, the layout for lessons and artistic preparation of drawings, paintings and photos etc. that will accompany the lessons. Also, there is the preparation and publishing of this magazine, "Triangle of Light", and rituals for Lodges and Triangles, Administrative Manuals for delegations of the Order, messages to Lodges and Triangles etc, just as an overview of the extensive work that is carried out and the considerable expense that we bear to do it.
At the same time, the Order needs to attend to many other expenses besides the publication of lessons and instruction manuals.
We must pay for the building where the Sovereign Headquarters is located.
We have to pay the electricity, water, telephone, as well as the maintenance and cleaning of the building for the Sovereign Headquarters, and this adds up to a considerable expense.
All of the office machines of the Order such as typewriters, computers and servers, laser printers and supplies, calculators, photocopiers, tables, chairs and diverse other furnishings (file cabinets, bookcases, etc) must also be paid for as the suppliers do not give them to us, and these expenses can only be covered by the contributions made by the members.
Office materials, such as pencils, pens, markers, paper clips, staples, typewriter ribbons, etc. must be acquired and paid for by the Order to insure good administrative operation.
Likewise, the Order has important expenses in purchasing bibliographical material, and the preservation of old books and documents.
The Legal Defense of the Order, as well as the bureaucratic steps that must be taken by the administration prior to publishing, etc. also represents and important expense in the continuing operations of the Rose Cross Order.
Many of the present members have discovered the Order by means of the publicity in newspapers or magazines, and this is another important expense since a simple announcement in a magazine is more expensive than paying the salary of a person for a whole month of work, and that expense can only be undertaken if we have the funds for it. The public media (newspapers, magazines, etc) will enter into negotiations so that we obtain the best possible price, but they will not give us the space for our announcements without charge.
Others have joined after attending public conferences, and these too carry considerable expense with the rent of a location, announcements, arrangements, and the lecturer's travel expense etc.
At the same time the Rose Cross Order maintains a system of scholarships that allows some members of the Order, who have economic difficulties, the opportunity to receive their lessons without paying dues regardless of the costs involved. This is especially important in the case of countries with serious difficulties, such as Cuba, or Yugoslavia, where the members receive the lessons without paying dues because they cannot send them to us.
This whole explanation serves primarily to insure that all, especially those who may be unfamiliar with the operations of the Order, become conscious of the immense effort and considerable expense present in providing the complete teachings to our members and keeping our institution functioning.
If only the cost of stationery, printing, and postal expenses needed to be covered things would be economically easy. However, this is not the case. As you can observe, the operation of any institution, the Rose Cross Order included, is very complex and expensive.
In this discourse everyone will be able to understand the establishment of dues for the Rose Cross Order and their adjustment to the expenses of the Institution, in order to keep it running in a worthy and appropriate manner, which would not be possible without the payment of dues. It should be clear here that the Rose Cross Order doesn't charge for knowledge, something that would be aberrant from the point of view of our philosophy, but rather receives payment to cover the expenses of operating our fraternal association.
In regard to the legal aspects, the Rose Cross Order is recorded with the authorities as a non-profit Cultural Association.
This means that no one can take a profit from the funds of the Rose Cross Order in the form of dividends or commissions, although legally the Order is authorized to pay specific salaries to people working as employees of the Rose Cross Order. This is because it is appropriate and necessary that those who dedicate their time to working for the Order be provided with a means of subsistence, just as those who work at a newspaper, in a clinic, or in manufacturing are paid.
Nevertheless, for many years the primary Officials of the Rose Cross Order and some volunteers also, have worked almost full time to carry out services to their brother and sister Rosicrucians without receiving any type of material compensation, although throughout this time they have paid their affiliation dues to the Order just like all of the other members.
Considering all of this we can understand that the Rose Cross Order is a fraternity without the objective of profit and is not actually a company operating a commercial enterprise.
All of the members of the Order, by their material and spiritual contributions, support the perpetuation of the teachings of our Venerable Order. For this reason, on this occasion, and just as we do continually with our thoughts, aspirations, and acts, let us energize the Egregore of the Rose Cross Order, adding vigor to the Work of the Masters through our Institution.
May Peace Profound dwell within your hearts.