Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

A millennial's take on The Fellowship of Friends

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 19, 2023:

Here’s another video about the Fellowship of Friends and Robert Earl Burton, seemingly part of a larger, on-going series called “Rate My Cult,” by a woman named Maye:

Maye based her video, to a large extent, on the “Revelations” podcast by Jennings Brown.

The Fellowship scored 4 goat heads out of 5, something Burton will no doubt be proud of.

Maya Muses introduction:

Hello, Good People. As promised, here is Rate My Cult - Fellowship of Friends. You may remember them as the ambitious doomsday cult infiltrating Google. Well, they're more than that. They're also creepy.

Here is a link to an article about the Google infiltration, in case you missed that video: 

Here is a link to The Fourth Way book. Please, don't go to a meeting. 

Here is a link to the blog that former members run. It provides a lot of great first hand documents and testimonies: 

Check out Revelations by Jennings Brown on Spotify.


Saturday, December 10, 2022

London Meetup a Fellowship of Friends recruiting effort

[ed. - The Meetup announcement for the group "Gurdjieff Ouspensky - from words to being." features this photo of a gathering in a private room at Aix in London's Crouch End. Bistro Aix was established by Fellowship of Friends member Lynne Sanders. The Meetup organizer, Sharon Gordon and attendee Martin Courbet are Fellowship members in the London Center. Another meeting is planned March 6th.

See the Fellowship of Friends London Center Facebook page, A Fourth Way Symposium. With its myriad disguises, the Fellowship can make one's head spin! (A plentiful supply of wine helps.) In Robert Burton's Fellowship, "Symposium" has taken on a very special meaning.

To anyone who considers joining a group that claims to possess esoteric or "hidden knowledge," especially a group guided by a "conscious teacher," I highly recommend reading Ames Gilbert's list of questions a prospective member should be prepared to ask. See: Due diligence before making a leap of faith]

Gurdjieff Ouspensky Fellowship of Friends Meetup Bistro Aix
"Gurdjieff Ouspensky - from words to being." Meetup at Bistro Aix in London's Crouch End

Gurdjieff Ouspensky Fellowship of Friends Meetup Bistro Aix
"Gurdjieff Ouspensky - from words to being." Meetup announcement

Friday, December 2, 2022

"When a man crystallizes into a conscious being, there are no longer any laws for him, he is a law unto himself."

Robert Earl Burton, a law unto himself
"WhaleRider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 23, 2022:

Cult Leader’s Head Searched for Classified Information

Apollo-Largo, CA~Agents of reason have recently searched Cult Leader Donald Burton’s delusional brain for classified information of secret esoteric knowledge rightfully belonging to mankind’s elite inner circle but have found only old, worn out boxes of borrowed phrases from those much smarter than him, phrases he can’t even remember anymore without the help of his enablers to prompt him.

To borrow a phrase from Descartes, Burton apparently says to himself and his followers, “I think I am awake, therefore I am” and they believe him, dutifully ignoring all evidence to the contrary. It appears “the brightest light in 2000 years” is in reality just a flicker of hopes, wishes and dreams.

Additionally, his sprawling empire of fraud and deceit spanning decades that he claims to be “priceless” has been deemed to be grossly over-valued and overrated. Far from being “the greatest one and only true school of human evolution”, his criminal enterprise has been exposed for trafficking destitute young males from struggling foreign nations to feed his unquenchable sexual appetite.

A visit to the cult leader’s creepy residence and you will hear his oppressive collection of antique clocks all ticking in unison to mark the time when this rape factory will finally be shut down.


[ed. - The following is from The U. S. Sun:]

According to [Jennings] Brown's reporting, a Fellowship lawyer previously asked Burton about the allegations on behalf of the board of directors.

He said in the podcast he obtained an internal record of the exchange and that Burton insisted he "did not brainwash or coerce his students," and that all his relationships were consensual.

Burton, a former Arkansas school teacher who tells members he speaks with 44 angels, reportedly added that they monitor everything and "would not allow sexual abuse."

"The lawyer asked Robert why he had sex with male students even though, at the time, homosexuality was forbidden in the Fellowship," Brown went on.

"Robert responded by quoting the creator of the Fourth Way, Gurdjieff; 'When a man crystallizes into a conscious being, there are no longer any laws for him, he is a law unto himself.'"

 Trump and Hannity

Monday, November 7, 2022

What the Jennings Brown podcast exposes

[ed. - In The Gurdjieff Journal tradition of "original research, timely feature articles, essays, interviews and book and film reviews," Volume 23, Issue 2, Number 90, summarizes Jennings Brown's "Revelations" podcast series. The article "borrows" from many sources, cited and uncited (including this blog.) One hazard in transcribing from podcast to text is the misspelling of names, in this case including Allen Greene (Allen Green), Peter Moral (Peter Morrow), and Dhara Haskell (Dara Haskell). Then there's the slight error in decimal placement, stating Troy Buzbee's lawsuit damages demand was $500 million rather than the actual $5 million. In captioning the photo on page 21, do I detect a bit of pedagogical envy?]

Friday, August 19, 2022

Saturday, July 30, 2022

"Abusive Sex Rituals"

The defunct "Renaissance" winery and vineyards, monument to the blood, sweat, and tears

of thousands of followers squandered through Robert Burton's bad behavior.

"diegoriverassquaretrouserleg" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 30, 2022:

Sun newspaper today from the U.k., a Murdoch Tabloid

[ed. - Partial content of the tabloid's article follows.]


‘Google cult leader who tried to bed 100 male followers in a DAY gives chilling warning to betrayers,’ member claims

The Sun
by Katy Forrester
Oregon House, CA

July 29, 2022

The leader of a California 'cult' which has landed Google in a lawsuit is abusive and has given a chilling warning to those who want to leave, a current follower has claimed.

Former Google video producer Kevin Lloyd is suing after alleging the tech giant's studio in Mountain View, California was made up mostly of members of The Fellowship of Friends.

The controversial religious sect, led by Robert Earl Burton, has its headquarters based in Oregon House, a small town deep in the Sierra foothills, around 200 miles away from the Google studio.

Lloyd alleges in his lawsuit he was fired after complaining about the department's link to the Fellowship and its bizarre practices, including Burton's rumored 'love fests' where he tried to bed 100 male followers in a day.

News of his firing came after a bombshell Spotify podcast, Revelations, hosted by investigative journalist Jennings Brown, who spoke to men claiming they were sexually exploited.

The Fellowship, also known as Living Presence and the Fourth Way School, was founded by Burton in 1970, who previously settled a sexual abuse lawsuit in the 1990s.

 A current member of the group has now bravely decided to break ranks to speak to The Sun about the allegations the leader has faced over the years, while he has never been criminally charged.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, said she believes the many survivors who gave harrowing accounts of alleged abuse in the podcast.

The Fellowship of Friends, which has around 1,500 members worldwide, is still active and run by Burton, 83, who lives at the headquarters in northern California.

Asked how she feels to hear about the latest claims featured in the podcast, the member told The Sun: "It's horrible. It bothers me, it's always bothered me. It should be called out."

She added: "Nobody that's in the group is supposed to talk to you."

The member, who said she rejoined years after leaving as her late husband and friends were still followers, said Burton should be removed, saying: "I do think it would be wonderful for the health of the community."

Asked if she feels the Fellowship is a cult, she admitted: "It's absolutely a cult. It meets all the criteria, it's leader centric, and you're punished if you leave."

Quizzed on what members are told will happen, she cackled: "Oh, you are going to the outer reaches of hell!"

She added that when someone starts "exerting their spiritual authority," the choices are to speak out against what's happening within the group or leave.

"But for many people it's like, this is their social life, this is their spiritual life, this is their family, you know, it's a lot to walk away from," she admitted.

"These are not made up stories and I'd say, 'Why doesn't it bother you?' They [the other members] just put it back on me; 'Why does it bother you?'

"The tricky part about this is that there's some really powerful, important ideas that underpin the Fellowship, that are overlaid with a lot of personal, cultish ideas, proposed by Robert Burton.

"He is a very, very flawed human being, he carved out something that worked for him."

In the podcast, Brown says he spoke to seven men who claim Burton sexually exploited them, two of which also alleged they participated in the rumored sex ritual where he attempted to sleep with 100 of his male students in one day. [ed. - See "Robert Burton's Valentine's Day Gift"]

They also claimed the Fellowship helped them obtain religious visas.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

"The Fellowship of Friends – Art, Beauty, and Abuse"

[ed. - From the Cultery Nonsense YouTube channel]

"Associated Press" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 27, 2022:

The Fellowship of Friends – Art, Beauty, and Abuse

1,530 views Oct 21, 2021

"Associated Press" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 27, 2022:

Cult Wine Tasting & Fellowship of Friends Updates

431 views Dec 3, 2021

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Sharon Gans and The Odyssey Study Group

[ed. - With husband Alex Horn, Sharon Gans Horn operated the "Theatre of All Possibilities" in San Francisco until they were "forced" to flee, ending up in New York City. Sharon Gans died on January 22, 2021.]

Odyssey Study Group cult still going strong after death of charismatic leader Sharon Gans 

July 9, 2022

Sharon Gans Horn and her husband, Alex, started the Odyssey Sudy Group in San Francisco in the 1970s, later moving it to Manhattan where the "cult" allegedly preyed on the powerful and wealthy. Gans Horn died in 2021, but her followers are said to have kept the group going.
Sharon Gans Horn and her husband, Alex, started the Odyssey Sudy Group in San Francisco in the 1970s, later moving it to NYC where the "cult" allegedly preyed on the powerful and wealthy.
NY Post photo composite

The charismatic leader of a cult that recruited Manhattan’s wealthy and powerful may have died last year, but her notorious movement is still thriving.

The Odyssey Study Group, also known as The Work and A Fourth Way School, has long been accused of sexual and child abuse as well as siphoning cash from its members to pay for its leaders’ extravagant lifestyles in Manhattan, Boston, the Hamptons and Mexico.

OSG, which was registered as a for-profit company in 2001, currently has more than 200 members on the East Coast, a cult expert and former member both told The Post.

“It’s a very bizarre kind of group because they are generally wealthy and highly educated Harvard, Yale and Wharton types,” said Rick Alan Ross, author of the 2014 book “Cults Inside out: How People Get in and Can Get Out” and executive director of Cult Education Institute, which has studied the group since 2001.

“When people say that people in New York City are much too smart to get involved in a cult, it just means that the cult is very sophisticated and slick,” Ross said, adding that OSG’s survival has a lot to do with its cash flow.

Under former leader Sharon Gans Horn — who died from COVID complications in January 2021 at the age of 85 — the group was generating more than $1.2 million a year, just in member dues paid in cash, said Ross.