Way of the Livingness fails to obtain charitable status

The Charity Commission refuses to register the organisation on the grounds that it does not fall within the definition of religion in charity law

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has declined to grant charitable status to an organisation called The Way of the Livingness, the Religion of the Soul Trust, on the grounds that it is not a religion and some of its objects are not charitable.

The organisation, which promotes adherence to a philosophy described as the "way of the livingness", applied for charitable status, listing among its objects "to raise awareness and understanding of religious soul-full [sic] life by the development of the key principles relating to self love and energetic integrity".

Other objects included "to work for reconciliation, truth-telling and harmonious union by the promotion of the understanding that by living in harmony with our surroundings we improve the environment for all".

In a document giving its decision not to register the group as a charity, published last month, the regulator says: "The Way of the Livingness appears to be a form of theosophy, which the court has decided is not a religion as charity law understands that term.

"Even if it were not a form of theosophy, the commission is not satisfied that it falls within the definition of religion in charity law."

It says the object "to raise awareness and understanding of religious soul-full [sic] life" is not charitable, and that the dissolution clause in the organisation’s trust deed might allow the trust’s assets to be applied for non-charitable purposes. It also says the application did not demonstrate a public benefit.

"In reaching its conclusion, the commission confirmed that it is neither its role nor intention to judge the inherent worth of the Trust for the Way of the Livingness, but only to consider the narrower question of whether it met the test laid down in law for registration as a charity," the regulator’s report says.

Third Sector was unable to reach anyone connected to The Way of the Livingness for comment.

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