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 an ominous, yet unspecified new threat late in 2018.) While non-believers shall perish, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers will be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

Many regard Robert Earl Burton a narcissist and sociopath, surrounded by a largely greed- and power-driven inner circle. The following pages offer abundant evidence supporting that conclusion.

This archive draws on official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the (former) Fellowship Wikipedia page, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wiki project, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

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

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wild, Wild, Wine Country

Renaissance Vineyard and Winery ephemera by Jenny Eagleton

[ed. - The title of the article is a reference to Wild, Wild Country, a recent TV series about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) and the founding, and eventual demise, of his Rajneeshpuram compound in Oregon. At the same time that Rajneeshpuram was coming under scrutiny, The Fellowship of Friends also found itself in the spotlight.]

Wild, Wild Wine Country (excerpt)
by Jenny Eagleton
May 30, 2018
Meanwhile, what’s left of the team at Renaissance is keen to sell off their old bottlings, which means there are deals aplenty for wine drinkers. You can pick up back vintage bottles of Renaissance at fantastically cheap prices, but the bottles can be variable, especially those oaky monsters from the Karl Werner years. Far better are his wife’s wines, beginning with the 1989 vintage, but it’s the wines from young Gideon Beinstock beginning in 1993 that should attract the most attention. At the moment, the winery is in the process of having many of their wines re-corked for stability, which is exciting for consumers.

These wines are special. They express not only the severe terroir of Yuba County, but something much more: an encapsulation of wine as a product of spiritual devotion, of the intertwining of religious truth seeking and winemaking. Here, the spiritual and the oenological combine in a way that feels similar to the Georgian monastery, or Nicolas Joly and his church of Biodynamics, but on Californian soils. An expression of the failures and excesses and glorious risks of a certain strange corner of the world at the apex of the 20th century. Wines of presence made all the more beautiful by their unusual backstory.

“These are the real cult California wines,” my host joked, and I laughed, but those are his words, not mine.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Fellowship of Friends recruiting in Italy

[ed. - During April, Fellowship of Friends recruiters in Italy used Il ricordo di sé. Pratica e tradizione spirituale, a Facebook “Study Group” administered and moderated by Fellowship members, to promote a series of "open meetings." According to inside sources, these presentations (known within the Fellowship as “prospective student meetings”) were conducted in Milan, Venice, Rome, Naples, Palermo, and Catania. They succeeded in luring several new members to their ranks. The Fellowship of Friends is a California-based religious doomsday cult that claims to continue the Fourth Way lineage of George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky.]

Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends recruiting conference in Milan

[English translation provided by Google:]
MILAN - Saturday 7 April, at 15
Conference on:

George Gurdjieff said that man is a machine, equipped with four functions: sensation, movement, emotion and thought. According to the tradition of the Fourth Way, this machine can work in a completely unaware way - in sleep.
But man also has the potential to develop awareness. Through special efforts and disciplines learned in a school, he can live in two worlds: that of functions and that of conscience [consciousness]; the human and the divine.
In an open meeting, we will talk about how it is possible to live simultaneously in these two worlds.

Reservation is required.
Admission: € 5.

Self-remembering: practice and spiritual tradition.
To learn more about us and subscribe to the Facebook group:

[ed. - About "Il ricordo di sé. Pratica e tradizione spirituale."]
Questo gruppo è rivolto a chi è interessato a sperimentare il ricordo di sé, o Presenza, attingendo a diverse tradizioni spirituali: dall’esoterismo delle grandi religioni alla Quarta Via come trasmessa da Gurdjieff, Ouspensky ed altri maestri consci. Questo è uno studio pratico, non teorico. Lo scopo è fornire osservazioni e scambiare domande che aiutino a incoraggiare e coltivare lo stato di Presenza nella nostra vita.

[English translation provided by Google:]

This group is aimed at those interested in experiencing the memory of self [ed. - self-remembering], or Presence, drawing on different spiritual traditions: from esotericism of the great religions to the Fourth Way as transmitted by Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and other conscious teachers. This is a practical, not theoretical study. The aim is to provide observations and exchange questions that help encourage and nurture the Presence state in our lives.

[ed. - For two cautionary tales about why it's important to research a group before you become a member, see "A long farewell to members of the Fellowship's Milan, Italy center" and "Fellowship of Friends - a cult for intellectuals".]

Saturday, February 10, 2018

44 personal stories of Robert Earl Burton's abuses

Pedophile Larry Nassar at sentencing
Convicted serial child molester Larry Nassar appears at his sentencing, January 24, 2018. Photo: Sky News

On sentencing serial child molester Larry Nassar, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina stated:
Aside from the letter you wrote, a couple of months after your plea which tells me that you still don't get it, there is something I don't understand and I want to make clear. Sir, you knew you had a problem, that's clear to me. You knew you had a problem from a very young age before you were a doctor. You could have taken yourself away from temptation and you did not.
Worst yet, there is not a survivor who has not come in here and said how world renowned you were. I trust what they say. You could have gone anywhere in the world to be treated. You could have gone to any resort and any doctor or place where you can get treatment. In Europe they have all sorts of hidden places for things like this.
No one had to know and you could have found treatments, some help, taken some medicines. You would have done that if you had cancer. I know you would have. You are about self-preservation. But, you decided to not address what's inside you that causes this control urge that causes you to be a sexual predator. So, your urges escalated and based on the numbers, that we all know go unreported. I cannot even guess how many vulnerable children and families you actually assaulted.
Your decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulated, devious, despicable, I don't have to add words because your survivors have said all of that, I don't want to repeat it. You cannot give them back their innocence, their youth, you can't give a father back his life. One of your victims, her life and she took it. You can't return a daughter to a mother, a father to a daughter. You played on everyone's vulnerability.

[ed. - As the "#MeToo" movement shakes up America and the world, we are in a "kairos moment" for exposing the decades of abuses perpetrated against women and children in our society. But there is another demographic that has been Robert Earl Burton's target for over fifty years: young heterosexual males (including, in some instances, underage boys.)

A self-proclaimed spiritual teacher ("second only to Christ"), founding minister of The Fellowship of Friends "religion," and ruler of the cloistered Sierra Foothills community of Apollo, Burton has preyed upon his youngest and most naive followers. Hidden within this secretive cult, where the "beloved Teacher" is protected by a code of silence, Burton's crimes have largely been shielded from the scrutiny of governmental agencies, the press, local communities, and even his "congregation."

Though Burton has reportedly admitted having sexual relations with hundreds of followers, his abuses are not limited to the sexual arena. Abuse in a cult takes many forms, and in some cases, it clearly led to suicide.

Like Larry Nassar, recently accused of "molesting at least 265 girls and young women," Burton is surrounded by a network of enablers (who know who they are), most long-time loyalists benefiting in many ways from membership in Burton's inner circle. Their names appear throughout this blog and include Girard Haven, Wayne Mott, Ethan Harris, Rowena Taylor, Linda Kaplan, Dorian Mattei, Sasha Shalapanov, Greg Holman, Alisanne Frew, Nick Spaulding, Karen Johnston, Benjamin Yudin, Judith Grace, Steven Dambeck, Elizabeth Blake, Diana Kay Eaton, Edith Minne, and Guinevere Mueller.

As he approaches his 79th birthday (celebrated May 12th), it is clear that Burton still does not, and likely will never "get it." From the earliest days, his "decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulated, devious, despicable."

The following 44 stories, selected from hundreds, represent some of those who had the courage to speak out, and a few who never had the chance.]

Steven A. ("Simon")

"Living the Questions"

Sharole M.
Sally B.

Steven M.
Kimo B.

Shelley M.
Richard B.
Richard M. ("dick moron")
Troy B.

"More history needed?"
Sandra C.

"Old FOF"
Marlane D.

Thomas E.

Wim P. ("Johan Van Gaal")
Ames G.

Charles R.
Abraham G.
Samuel S.
Joseph G.

Kiran S.
Roger G.

Brian S.
"Inner Circle facts"

Darota S.
"Innernaut" ("Former student")

Elena H.

Anna T.
Stephen J. ("my2bits")

"That Girl"
Kevin K.

"Lady B."

Stella W.
Bruce L.

"Life Person"

Norman Y.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

With Robert in Egypt - De Nial

[ed. - Ames Gilbert discovered a rare copy of the classic DVD With Robert in Egypt, available for a limited time only on eBay. This "non-rated" edition stars Robert Burton, renowned actor, director, and conscious being (second only to Jesus Christ.) Produced by Isis Media Productions in 2005, the DVD includes such special features as "cult." But you must hurry! At only $30, this offer is a steal!*]

Fellowship of Friends cult leader video - Robert Earl Burton in Egypt the Nile (De Nial)

* “For use and viewing by members of the Fellowship of Friends only. Not for resale, reproduction or any other viewing.”

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Robert Earl Burton's 2018 Prophecies

Delusional Fellowship of Friends Fourth Way Gurdjieff Ouspensky teacher Robert Earl Burton predicts the end of the world...again
"If a depression occurs in 1984, if California falls in 1998, if Armageddon occurs in 2006, then I was correct. All of which means, I am correct regarding the other information I have been speaking about.
Actually, most of what I speak about is facts.”

- Robert Earl Burton, June 11, 1979

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, January 11, 2018:
News from the farm: Just when it seemed he had given up on the prophecy end of the “conscious school” racket, Robert Burton is back to making some more of his trademark predictions.

The first prediction is that Dorian M*tei [ed. - Dorian Matei] will “crystallize as a conscious being” this year. As many will remember, Burton “predicted” this of himself back in 1976. It was, apparently, the only one of his dozen or more predictions to “come true,” and coincidentally the only one whose outcome he could control simply by stating that “it happened,” when there was no way for anyone else to verify what, if anything, actually occurred. Insiders feel that Robert is running out of energy to fundraise enough to meet his spending addiction (primarily for antiques), which by all accounts is totally out of control. Thus he needs a #2 conscious being to help bring in the dollars. Dorian owes his house, its furnishings, his gardens and orchards, even his bakery business, to Robert and the Fellowship, not to mention his very nice salary, likely second only to Robert’s. Thus, Dorian is all too happy to go along with Robert’s “conscious being” scheme. And I predict that this one will “come true” just like in 1976. And I further predict that many people, way too many, will believe it, just like many of us did 40+ years ago.

Fool me once, shame on you (Robert Burton); fool me twice, shame on me, and on you (current Fellowship members).

But wait, there’s more. It’s 2018 and time for another end-of-world/civilization prediction. This one is set to occur on Oct 21 (though some heard Oct 18) of this year. No specifics are being shared at this time; no doubt “Influence C” is withholding that information for their own reasons. All the student body is “invited” to vacation in Oregon House/Apollo for 1 month at that time. Meanwhile, all gatherings amongst centers are suspended for 1-1/2 years, so people can save their money to give to Robert in October.

It must be some weird psychological mechanism, but for some people (like most of the 1500 current members of the Fellowship of Friends), the more these predictions do not happen, the more easily the next one is believed. Really bizarre.

And the beat goes on.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Fellowship of Friends global recruiting network

Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends cult logo
[ed. - To lure seekers from other spiritual traditions, and to mitigate the effects of negative publicity, the Fellowship of Friends continually re-brands itself. Recruiting sites proliferate under a myriad of titles and themes. The websites below are generally grouped according to their primary target market.

Fellowship contacts are also located in Beirut, Bogota, Brussels, Budapest, Minsk, Prague, and Zurich. At the bottom of this post are sites critical of Robert Burton and the Fellowship. Updated May, 2018.]

Recuerdo de sí (Unofficial) (Spanish) (Inactive)
Fellowship of Friends - Centro de Buenos Aires (Facebook) (Spanish)
Mystery and Civilizations (Unofficial) (Inactive)
Centro Sao Paolo on Google + (Portuguese) (Inactive)
Living Presence (Portuguese)
Fourth Way School - Toronto (Facebook) (English)
Living Presence Santiago (Facebook) (Spanish) (Inactive)
[ed. - The following Fellowship sites are managed by Walther Sell.]
The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions (Chinese)
The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions (English and Chinese)
The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions (Facebook) (English)
The Great Way: Journey to the West (English and Chinese)
Journey to the West (Facebook) (English)
The Secret of the Golden Flower (English)
The Taoist I Ching
Ouspensky Gurdjieff (Facebook) (English) (Inactive)
Rappel de Soi - Paris (Facebook) (French) (Inactive)
Living Presence (French)
Der Vierte Weg Deutschland (Facebook) (German)
Living Presence (German)
Fourth Way School - Athens (Facebook) (Greek)
The Art of Divine Presence (Greek)
A JELENLÉT MŰVÉSZETE (Hungarian) (Inactive)
Robert Earl Burton: Önemlékezés Út az öröklétbe (Hungarian) (Inactive)
FoF India (Facebook) (English)
FoF - Mumbai India (Facebook) (English)
Fourth Way (Facebook) (English) (Mohan Vaishnav, Administrator)
Fourth Way School - India (Facebook) (English)
Fourth Way School - Surat (Facebook) (Gujarati and English)
Living Fourthway Presence (Facebook) (English)
ISRAEL (Hebrew)
Fellowship of Friends (Facebook) | בית ספר של (English and Hebrew)
Jerusalem of the soul (Facebook) (English and Hebrew) (Inactive)
Il ricordo di sé. Pratica e tradizione spirituale. (Facebook - Closed Group) (Italian)
Living Presence (Italian)
Scuola di Quarta Via - Gurdjieff Ouspensky (Facebook) (Italian)
Self Remembering | 自己想起 Japan (Facebook) (Japanese)
Symbols of Presence in the Japanese Culture (English and Japanese)
The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions | グルジェフ「第四の道」と「秘教的な伝統」 (Facebook) (Japanese)
Escuela del Cuarto Camino - Monterrey (Facebook) (Spanish)
Fellowship of Friends Tijuana-San Diego (Facebook) (Spanish) (Inactive)
Fraternidad de Amigos Monterrey (Facebook) (Spanish)
Living Presence (Spanish)
Mesoarte Data Base for Prehispanic Art (Facebook) (also on Ning) (English and Spanish)
Recordandonos (Spanish) (Inactive)
Amsterdam Being Present Meetup (English)
Living Presence - Amsterdam (Dutch) (Inactive)
Levende Tilstedeværelse Oslo - Fjerde Veis Skole (Facebook) (Norwegian)
Living Presence (Portuguese)
Fourth Way School - Bucharest (Facebook) (Romanian)

Living Presence (Romanian)
Esoteric School (Russian)

Fourth Way School | Школа Четвертого пути (Facebook) (Russian)

IKIRU a theater of awakening (Facebook) (Russian) (Inactive?)

Living Presence (Russian)

Онлайн школа четвертого пути: четвертый путь - система, теория, практика (Russian)

Fellowship of Friends - Centro de España (Facebook) (Spanish)
Living Presence (Spanish) (Inactive)
Dördüncü Yol Okulu - Fourth Way School (Facebook) (Turkish)

Dördüncü Yol Okulu Türkiye (Instagram) (Turkish)

Dördüncü Yol Türkiye (Twitter) (Turkish)
Школа Четвёртого Пути, Киев - Fourth Way School Kiev (Facebook) (Russian)
Living Presence London (Facebook) (English)
Living Presence (Twitter) (English)
Fellowship of Friends (Google +) (English) (Inactive)

Fellowship of Friends/Blogspot (Google Blogger) (English) (Inactive)

Fellowship of Friends Videos (YouTube)

Fourth Way School - Northern California (Facebook) (English)

Fourth Way Today (English)

Fourth Way Tweets (Twitter) (English)

Gurdjieff Ouspensky Self-observation (Facebook) (English) (William Scholte and David Tuttle, Administrators)

Living Presence (English)

Living Presence Monthly (English)

Living Presence (Facebook) (English)

livingpresence44 (Instagram) (English)

Propylaia (Inner Circle Squared) (The Fellowship of Friends member portal)

Robert Earl Burton - A Fourth Way Teacher for Today (English)

Robert Earl Burton: Thoughts from a Fourth Way Teacher (English)

Robert's TweetHearts (Twitter) (Robert Earl Burton's Twitter page) (English)

The Art of Divine Presence (English)

The Fellowship of Friends Apollo University (English) (Inactive?)

The Fourth Way (Pinterest)  (English) (Julian Branston's site)(Inactive)

The Fourth Way (Google +) (William Page's site) (English)

The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions (Facebook) (English) (Walther Sell, Administrator)

The 4th Way - Gurdjieff - Ouspensky (Facebook) (English) (Public discussion, exploited by Fellowship recruiters)

Fellowship of Friends/Fourth Way/Living Presence cult Ouspensky-Gurdjieff masthead


Spiritualia (Dutch)
Prevensectes Fellowship of Friends Database (French)
Dopo la Fellowship of Friends: Una libera discussione sul lavoro su di sé (Italian)

Il Credino  ("Robert E. Burton e la Fellowship of Friends/La Presenza") (Italian)

Tutto quello che avreste dovuto sapere sulla Fellowship of Friends (Italian)
"Fellowship of Fools" (Russian)

Трезвый взгляд на Fellowship of Friends (Russian) (CAUTION: may be virus-infected)
Özgür Zihin (Turkish)
Cult Education Institute (formerly Rick A. Ross Institute)

Fellowship of Friends Discussion Blog (This series of three blogs contains nearly 100,000 comments about the Fellowship of Friends:)
Animam Recro – Fellowship of Friends – a cult for intellectuals
Part 1 through Part 10

The Fellowship of Friends Discussion – Free speech is a dirty business
Part 11 through Part 33

Fellowship Of Friends/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion
Part 34 through current page (On this Wordpress blog, navigate between pages by typing the desired page number into "search" box.)
Fellowship of Friends Wikispaces (Link no longer active, however material from that page is found throughout this blog. In such cases, the Wikispaces source is cited.)

Steven Hassan's Freedom of Mind Center

Internet Archive

Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends (your current location)

Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends (Facebook)

The Fourth Way (Facebook) (Greg Goodwin, Administrator)

Wikipedia (Archived on this blog, the hotly-contested Wikipedia draft, which moderators eventually abandoned.)

"StrangerInAStrangeLand" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, January 12, 2018:
Just discovered the Fourth Way and was looking for a school and a FB Fourth Way group told me there was a group close to me, I contacted them and had my first meeting …. was taken aback when at the end of the meeting it was announced with great flair that the group was part of FOF. This was after I was sternly told about the “rules” and that they wanted $150/month or 10% of my earnings to “join”. I wasn’t too happy about it. Then I went to the internet and found the “Be” (Asaf Braverman), didn’t know at the time of HIS FOF association, so joined that instead. Then he sent me a note …how did you hear about the Fourth Way …. I wrote back and said I was looking to study, but wanted to avoid any FOF controlled groups … never hear back of course! Looks like I’ve totally dodged a bullet on this one. I got some very distinct flashes of danger and thank everybody for posting this information about FOF on the internet where it can be found and assimilated before any damage has been done. I’ll read Ouspensky on my own. Gurdjieff is a bit hard to follow. Cheers!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Robert Earl Burton's Fifty Years with Angels: September 5, 1967 - September 5, 2017 is published

Fifty Years with Angels September 5, 1967 - September 5, 2017 Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton book

[ed. - Robert Earl Burton's, Fifty Years with Angels: September 5, 1967 - September 5, 2017 (not to be confused with My Fifty Years with the Angels) is published. It is compiled and edited by Judith Grace, a Burton acolyte for over 42 years. To date, it is the most autobiographical, and self-congratulatory, of Burton's publications.]
 "Very early on I wondered who was helping me, and they ["C Influence" or "Influence C"] started signaling Leonardo [da Vinci]. Leonardo and I are very different, but we are also very similar from the point of view of presence. What a great founder for a civilization! We can see why Apollo is already so beautiful in its small way. Leonardo was probably the most aesthetically sensitive human in the history of the earth. His role was intended to represent the Absolute on earth. Once, when I began to work, as I was laboring, Leonardo said to me, "Trust no 'I's; be present." Then everything stabilized.

At one point when I was younger, I was receiving many shocks from Leonardo. Finally I snapped and spoke back. He whispered, "Shhhh." And I never did it again after that! I am actually Leonardo's only offspring. Like myself, he never had children in his life, and I am his only child five hundred years later. He is behind every word I speak, even though I take responsibility for it, and I am grateful. Who would not be grateful for such a mind guiding us."  - Robert Earl Burton, from Fifty Years with Angels
Leonardo da Vinci - Robert Earl Burton's "father" and guide to Fellowship of Friends cult "new civilization"
Presumed self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci
Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"Somms Are Obsessed with a ‘Cult’ Wine Bottled by a Fringe Religious Group"

[ed. -  The Fellowship of Friends has long been desperate to move a large inventory of older (some decades-old) Renaissance wines from its cellar. In a move that is reminiscent of Renaissance founding winemaker Karl Werner's departure from Callaway in the 1970s (Werner was offered a large inventory of unmarketable Callaway red wines at bargain prices,) it appears Gideon Beinstock may have brought a creative solution to Renaissance's long-standing overstock (and image) problem.]


By: Courtney Schiessl @takeittocourt

A smattering of under-the-radar, late-1990s Cabernet Sauvignons from the Sierra Foothills have started appearing on top wine lists in the past several months. The 1997 vintage of Taken from Granite, the California labelin question, is available by the bottle at New York City fine dining restaurants Union Square Cafe and Momofuku Ko. Manhattan wine bar Terroir Tribeca offers $30 by-the-glass pours of Taken from Granite, and retail shops such as Vine Wine in Brooklyn have plentiful supplies of Taken From Granite cuvées as well.

These 20-year-old bottles aren’t “cult wines” in the traditional industry sense. Oenophiles generally use that term to indicate wine that is both highly sought-after and difficult to find, both of which often make said wine quite expensive. Taken From Granite is cult wine in a slightly more literal sense. These well-priced, aged wines, just re-labeled and re-released by noted California winemaker Gideon Beinstock, originally came from Renaissance Vineyard and Winery — a historic property owned by Fellowship of Friends, an international religious organization and purported cult.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fellowship of Friends and Yuba County settle for $310K

Tax-exempt Fellowship of Friends Galleria at Apollo/Oregon House houses Robert Earl Burton and his male harem
The Fellowship of Friends asserts the Galleria “remains exclusively a place of religious worship and ceremonial
religious events,” while others describe it as the playground of the "goddess" Robert Earl Burton and his male harem.

[ed. The Fellowship of Friends and Yuba County have settled a three-year-old lawsuit over the Fellowship's tax-exemption claims. See also, "Fellowship of Friends sues Yuba County over tax status".]
Fellowship of Friends and Yuba County settle for $310K

By Rachel Rosenbaum/

A Yuba County foothills religious organization and the county reached a $310,000 settlement in a lawsuit nearly three years after it was filed.

The Fellowship of Friends, of Oregon House, filed the lawsuit against Yuba County and its Board of Supervisors in 2014, claiming it was erroneously and illegally taxed between 2009 and 2013, when the county assessor refused to recognize the Fellowship’s right to religious and welfare exemptions. It asked for a refund and a declaration that the center be protected – through religious exemptions – from future taxation.

The central focus of the suit is the 5,600-square-foot building referred to as the Galleria, which houses collections of books, arts and antiquities which “occupy an essential place in the practices of the Fellowship,” according to the settlement. Formal services, meals and other events of sacramental nature occur at The Galleria, according to the complaint.

The Assessor’s Office investigated and determined that the Fellowship is entitled to a tax year 2017-18 welfare exemption based on religious use for the Galleria Property – which is valued at $3.3 million, according to Appeal-Democrat archives.

According to the settlement, the Fellowship must pay and has paid any taxes owed through tax year 2016-17 for the property, and will be provided with a partial refund of taxes for the years put at issue in the complaint.

The Assessor’s Office determined the Fellowship is entitled to welfare exemptions for some of its additional parcels or portions for tax year 2017-18:

– 3.28 acres of the administrative office.

– 1.07 acres of the Galleria gardens.

– 1.4 acres of the Festival Hall.

– 8.95 acres of the Theatron and its surrounding gardens.

Yuba County will pay the Fellowship $310,452 in a series of three payments: $150,000 within 30 days of the agreement; $85,452 no later than June 30, 2018; and $75,000 no later than June 30, 2019.

In return, both the Fellowship and the county agree to “maintain the status quo of the terms reflected in this agreement for a period of 10 years.”

Specifically, the Fellowship agrees to not file exemption applications with the county for any of its currently assessed properties other than welfare exemption applications for the Galleria Property for a period of 10 years, and will submit annual exemption applications for its exempt property under the welfare exemption.

The Fellowship, headquartered at 12607 Rices Crossing Road, Oregon House, describes itself as a nondenominational church with principles based on “universal religious teachings that transmit the art and science of recognizing and experiencing a Divine Presence,” according to Appeal-Democrat archives. There are 1,600 members of the church in more than 30 countries throughout the world.

The Fellowship sought tax exemption for the Galleria in the mid-1980s, but the county denied the application on the grounds the Galleria was not used exclusively as a museum, the complaint said.

In the early 1990s, the Fellowship obtained a conditional use permit to operate a museum, but the permit required several “burdensome conditions of approval” and the “onerous and expensive conditions” were never initiated and the permit expired, according to the complaint.

The Fellowship closed the property to the public and it now “remains exclusively a place of religious worship and ceremonial religious events.”

Yuba County Administrator Robert Bendorf said settling for approximately half the amount that was originally asked for by the Fellowship is a win for the county.

“Considering the initial lawsuit filed and seeking four years of refunds of taxes, we feel the settlement is very fair to both parties,” Bendorf said Thursday.

CONTACT Rachel Rosenbaum at 749-4771 and on Twitter @RaeRosenbaum.

Monday, October 2, 2017

"(Robert Earl Burton) is a professional predator."

Sasha Shalapanov, Robert Earl Burton, Dorian Matei, Fellowship of Friends cult leaders
Sasha Shalapanov, Robert Earl Burton, Dorian Matei, with god,

[ed. - Michael Shelton, a self-described Mormon apostate, has created a series of podcasts examining cults. In this podcast, he addresses Robert Burton and the Fellowship. Though the narrative may be disjointed and difficult to follow, the final few minutes offer a clear-eyed assessment of dynamics at work in the Fellowship, that are common to most destructive cults.]

Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends Cult (podcast)

“Here's an easy way to figure out if you're in a cult: If you're wondering whether you're in a cult, the answer is yes.” - Stephen Colbert

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Robert Earl Burton - A Fourth Way Teacher for Today

[ed. - The domain now forwards to the WordPress blog Robert Earl Burton - A Fourth Way Teacher for Today (below). As previously mentioned, Burton and the Fellowship have had an on-again, off-again relationship with The Fourth Way, even resorting to such extreme measures as banning the works of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky! And it is indeed a stretch when the biography below states that Alex Horn was "affiliated" with the Gurdjieff Foundation and that Horn "studied" with Rodney Collin. But Robert Burton's (and the Fellowship's) credibility depend upon establishing a clear (though at best tenuous) link to the Fourth Way Lineage. And in that pursuit, truth is often sacrificed.]

Apollo/Oregon House Fellowship of Friends cult website Robert Earl Burton - A Fourth Way Teacher for Today
Screenshot from Fellowship of Friends blog, Robert Earl Burton - A Fourth Way Teacher for Today

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

50th Anniversary of the legendary meeting with Influence C

Photo and quote from Burton's Fifty Years with Angels. "This is the house at 350 Page Street where I had
my prospective student meeting, implying the turning of the final page before our school was to begin."
(The homes pictured are actually 290-294 Page Street.)

[ed. - According to Robert Burton, he first met Alex Horn, his direct link to The Fourth Way Lineage, and the gods (also known as "Influence C") on September 5, 1967, in San Francisco, California. The following was transcribed from a meeting Burton led on the 44th anniversary of that sacred event. At the time, his recollections were accompanied by photographs.]

The extraordinary meeting with Influence C, as retold 44 years later, on September 21, 2011, in Robert Burton's own words:
“On September 5, 1967, I met Alex Horn. This date marks the moment when angels from Paradise descended upon us [the royal "us"?], and our quest for divine presence began. We could say that on this day: ‘It has begun.’ Here [referring to a photo] we see a photograph of Alex Horn, showing four fingers on each hand. This [referring to a photo] is the Claremont Hotel and the Berkeley Tennis Club, where I played tennis. I met Influence C hitchhiking because it was just fashionable in the sixties; one would hitchhike from Berkeley to Carmel, and such things. I met Influence C in Berkeley on the crossing of Ashby and Domingo Avenues, like Placido Domingo, the singer. He was born in Spain and raised in Mexico, so it is an omen of my bringing the sequence – the Song of Solomon – to our school. Incidentally, the sequence is a ‘Song of the Self.’ It is four words. This is where our journey began. A doctor picked me up and gave me a ride. He would later turn out to be payment for Dr. Ethan Harris. So we did very well! The doctor was on his way to a prospective student meeting on Page Street (like William Page) in San Francisco. This [referring to a photo] is the house at 350 Page Street where I had my prospective student meeting. It is eight – three plus five. This [referring to a photo] is the interior. The owner was quite gracious about inviting us in. Here [referring to a photo] I am before the gated entrance. … I am looking up in gratitude to Influence C. I was just like you, one of many, one of seven billion. [ed. - World population was around 3.5 billion at the time.] There was no particular reason on the surface they would give any of us this gift, but we are exactly the ones they wanted. And now we are all present and we can see why they wanted us.”

The actual 350 Page Street

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 2, 2017:
September 5, 1967. Fifty years ago, this coming Tuesday.

In case anyone misplaced their scorecard, that’s the day Robert Burton met Alex Horn. At least according to the version of their meeting as told by Burton. Well actually, he has rarely made it clear that he met Horn on that day. What he says is that’s when he met “Influence C.” But a very sharp “student” figured out some years ago that that date of meeting “Influence C” and Alex Horn coincided, and that Alex Horn must be “Influence C.”

In any case, he has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Meeting Influence C” for a year now. And right now is the big weekend, not only the culmination of another “Journey Forth” gathering (and a large one), but the pinnacle of a year-long build-up of excitement. Endless meetings (4 in 5 days, 3 days in a row, through Tuesday), dinners, “fund-raising” activities, a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. And I’m willing to bet that “The Absolute” will make his Fourth appearance sometime this weekend, probably on Tuesday, Sept 5. Perfect.

And the 2 nearby fires are also perfect, the smell of smoke, the extreme heat warning this weekend.

Pity the money-counters having to work all that overtime (without pay). Pity, too, the chefs working in 100+ temps to feed the masses visiting from the around the world.

But especially pity the 1500 or so lost souls who still believe that Robert Burton holds their ticket to Paradise, and who have given all their will and power and personal responsibility to a fake guru.

Well, at least everyone gets what they wish.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Robert Earl Burton - Thoughts from a Fourth Way Teacher

[ed. - As the inevitable passing of the torch approaches, The Fellowship of Friends has introduced new Robert Earl Burton hagiographies.

The domains "" and "" both direct to the "Nature of Presence" WordPress blog (below). The blog is the latest in the endless shuffling of Robert Burton aphorisms paired with "meaningful" images. New look, "same old jive" (as Miles Barth once called it.) Curiously, Burton and the Fellowship have had an on-again, off-again relationship with The Fourth Way.]

Apollo/Oregon House Fellowship of Friends website Robert Earl Burton - Thoughts from a Fourth Way Teacher
Screenshot of Fellowship of Friends blog Robert Earl Burton - Thoughts from a Fourth Way Teacher

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Fellowship of Friends registers "robertearlburton" domains?

For privacy protection, namecheap uses a Panamanian web-hosting service.

[ed. - Six years ago, when this blog was established, I registered the domains "" and "" but allowed the contracts to expire after one year. Now it appears The Fellowship of Friends has registered those domains, in addition to the "" domain.

Perhaps developed by an "online reputation management" service hired by the Fellowship to do some damage control, the strategy obviously seeks to displace this blog in search result rankings. Such a scheme may however backfire if it results in Fellowship members stumbling upon this blog rather than the Fellowship's (and thus learning the truth about their organization!)]