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.")

But 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.

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 from official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the Internet Archive, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wikispace project, the (ill-fated 2007) Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page, 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.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Fellowship of Friends now offers an "Online Introductory Membership"

[ed. - Following a recent makeover, the Fellowship of Friends "Living Presence" website (below) now offers an "Online Introductory Membership." The new recruiting campaign may be an attempt to mimic and compete with Asaf Braverman's BePeriod online faux Fourth Way group (see video below). With the help of many Fellowship members, Braverman developed his platform prior to involuntarily parting ways with Burton in 2016. While the Fellowship has steadily drifted from it's Fourth Way roots and into the realm of faith, the Fourth Way Today "online magazine" (below) continues to recycle the old Gurdjieff and Ouspensky talking points ("the hook") while, at Apollo, Burton takes followers into a fantasy world all his own.]

Text of offer:
We offer a six-month introductory online membership for those who live far from our network of  worldwide centers. We strongly recommend face to face contact as the way of meeting us and participating in our school. Actual attendance in activities with other students can accelerate one’s work on awakening relative to efforts done alone. These shared activities increase the opportunities to be reminded of presence and to observe one’s mechanicality. Nevertheless, we hope online membership will provide an opportunity for those for whom this contact is not possible or possible only periodically.

Online membership offers a weekly online meeting in English with Fellowship students, entry in a private discussion group where personal observations can be shared and questions about our teaching can be asked, as well as the possibility to visit our spiritual headquarters, Apollo. We ask a small monthly donation for this membership.

Full membership offers additional benefits. For more information about full membership, contact the one of our centers that is closest to you or send us an inquiry.

For more information about online membership, click here.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 18, 2019:
In their obvious desperation for money, sex partners for Burton, and even more money and sex partners, a new hook is being cast by the Fellowship: an online membership. No mention upfront of the cost; but since the “face to face” membership fee is now only about $50 a month for the first couple of years, the online fee is probably no more than half that. No doubt the pressure will be intense (especially for the males) to become a “real” member once the online membership has expired.

["Introductory online membership" offer above quoted here]

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Robert Burton's Inner Circle revealed?

"Ocean Tiger" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 23, 2019:
Please enjoy these 47 previously unreleased photos of Robert Burton and his associates:

Robert Earl Burton reading to a member of his Inner Circle? Photo: Apollo Cavalier

Saturday, July 20, 2019

"Horn-Burton-Braverman - The Pseudo Holy Trinity"

[ed. - It should be noted that William Patrick Patterson, founder and editor of The Gurdjieff Journal, has been an outspoken critic of Alex Horn, Robert Burton, and The Fellowship of Friends since the 1990s. A short excerpt about Robert Burton from William Patrick Patterson's 1998 book, Taking With the Left Hand, and another anecdote about close encounters with Patterson's group can be found here.]

"Wouldnt You Like To Know" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 20, 2019:

The Gurdjieff Journal - 79 Volume 20 No. 3

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 22, 2019:
Here is the link to Issue #79 of The Gurdjieff Journal:

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Is there a warrant for Robert Earl Burton's arrest in the EU?

Robert Earl Burton
[ed. - For years it has been rumored that a warrant exists for Robert Earl Burton's arrest within the European Union. Due to their inconsistencies (e.g. "Czechoslovakian" versus "Italian" passports, "two" versus "3" Russians), it is not clear if the comments below refer to the same case. Having no confirming evidence, I must consider this gossip (a misdemeanor in the Fellowship!) Meanwhile, "Golden Veil" nobly struggles to uncover the truth.]

"Intercontinentia Buttocks" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 21, 2007:
Forgive my anonymity, but what I am about to write concerns my friends, to whom I don’t wish any troubles with the authorities.
Some 4 years ago two of Robert’s boyfriends, both Russians, were rejected visas to the US. Robert then came to the aid of students (then in Rome) to acquire forged Czechoslovakian passports through Italian mafia with which they tried to enter the country.
Immigration officers discovered the forgery and the two boys spent some time with police at the airport.
Decision was made to send them back to the country from which they came from, i.e. France. They spent about 3 months in prison there, after which time they were sent back to Russia.
Being in the prison did some good to one of them, as he had time to ‘come to his senses’ and finally decided to leave Robert and the school.
The other, however, is still ‘serving’ Robert, although hating it, but such is the price of staying in the country of his choice.
The one who was leaving told Robert about his decision, to which he said that if he does leave him, his wife is going to leave him and he’s going to loose some attractive things offered to him by his teacher. Still, he left and after a while his wife left him.
After a while, he decided to blackmail Robert by writing an article about his experiences with him in American papers. I told him to get a good lawyer if he were to do so, but he went ahead alone and had to deal with Mr. Lawyer A.G., who blackmailed him back, using his knowledge of certain circumstances of the boy’s life. The whole thing was settled for a pitiful $3.000 in exchange for a signature on a paper stating that the information about Robert should not be disclosed to anyone.

"Secret keeper" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 22, 2007:
I. Buttocks [above] – this story is true. I heard it too from the guys themselves and from many other students. I’ll never mention any names here for the same reason – I don’t wish any trouble for the guys, both of whom I like very much and wish them well.

Funny how an illegal thing could be almost glorified in the Fellowship of Friends because Robert went against feminine dominance. So many things that are immoral and simply wrong or criminal can be justified and glorified based on a belief that the teacher can do no wrong.

I only wonder if Department of Homeland Security thinks that crossing US or European border under fake name using a forged passport is OK and is no wrong doing… Especially in post-2001 era.

What shocking is that RB went to such risky extreme only with a purpose to get personal sexual pleasure out of these 2 young males. He would have never done a similar thing for a female student or an older male student from a different country.

Many students knew about this story, news spread quickly in Isis. Friends would secretly tell each other: Robert got him a fake passport so he can come here to be with him uder different name, but – psst! – don’t tell anybody it’s a secret…

I guess as long as Robert goes against feminine dominance, doesn’t inner consider and uses intentional insencerity [sic] he can do whatever he wants. He can even bend the US law if he wishes and students will have to faithfully keep his secrets.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

"My mother's name was Shock"

[ed.- Over the course of 49 years, Robert Burton's followers have heard countless versions of this "prophetic" statement. In 1989, John Harmer recorded the audio for the "they have a heavy hand" video below. (See also, "John Harmer posts 'Exit Interview' with Robert Earl Burton".)]

"John Harmer" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 6, 2019:

The context was that after 11 years in the school I had done some thinking about Burton’s claim to get messages from Influence C, and had concluded that the most likely thing that was happening is that he was subject to delusional thinking often described as “ideas of reference”. I wished to confront him with the possibility that he was deluding himself. His answer certainly shows he had spent no time wondering whether the simplest explanation, ie that these were spurious connections he was making in his own mind, best fitted the facts of the case.

[ed. - Burton later preferred the more macabre version, as shown in these two clips from March 2019 Apollo Festival Hall meetings.] 

[ed. - See also "Trick or treat, my mother's dead. Her name is shock."]

Finally, a reminder from "Tempus Fugit". And again from "Tempus Fugit". Encore!

Velma and Robert
Fifty Years with Angels

Thursday, July 4, 2019

"A true artist is a conscious being."

[ed. - From ApolloMoments, Dorian Matei makes bread in a promotional video for the "Ancient Crafts Festival" at Apollo, July 27th. I guess what Dorian is conceding, contrary to Robert Burton's teaching, is that there are conscious beings everywhere. Because there are true artists everywhere. For those who have eyes to see...]
"Where I begin is with Robert's visions, which are really on the scale of a few thousand years. I believe they're 100% true. I believe these have happened, actually, these visions have happened already and that's why he has them. I feel it's almost an element of danger in only looking at them as spectators."

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Fellowship of Friends editor censors Yuba-Sutter LocalWiki

[ed. - Last December, "Taylor R" (Fellowship of Friends director Rowena Taylor?) attempted to whitewash the Yuba-Sutter LocalWiki Fellowship of Friends page. ("LocalWiki is a grassroots effort to collect, share and open the world’s local knowledge.") As shown below, Taylor wiped all critical content, regardless how valid, from this community resource. On March 4th, Gayle Madwin, the creator of this LocalWiki, reverted many of Taylor's edits, commenting, "Restoring links. Please do not delete working links to outside sources," (Those sources include the Sacramento Bee and Marysville-Yuba City Appeal-Democrat.)

Taking things a step further, on May 21st, "Marco Corolli" edited the restored LocalWiki page, and added further detail and many new links, including links to the Fellowship of Friends Discussion, to a new Robert Earl Burton entry, to "Cult Survivor's" recreated Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page, and to this blog.]

Fellowship of Friends cult in Oregon House/Apollo censors LocalWiki article
"Taylor R's" reputation management effort. Source: Yuba-Sutter LocalWiki

[ed. - The Fellowship of Friends page on the Yuba-Sutter LocalWiki reflecting edits made by "Marco Corolli":]

Yuba-Sutter LocalWiki page for Fellowship of Friends Oregon House Fourth Way cult
Current page reflecting "Marco Corolli's" full disclosure effort. Source: Yuba-Sutter LocalWiki

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Find The Fellowship of Friends on Wikipedia (no, really)

[ed. - A former Fellowship of Friends member (and lead defender of the Fellowship during 2007 Wikipedia edit wars) has returned under the pseudonym "UltraEdit" (aka "Cult Survivor") to create a new Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page free (thus far) from the partisan debate of the past. Compare the current article with the contentious 2007 draft versions: Find The Fellowship of Friends on Wikipedia (or maybe not)]

The photo of Robert Earl Burton in the Wikipedia article comes from the Fellowship's "Apollo Cavalier" Instagram page.
(It appears the Fellowship's true "Inner Circle" may be comprised entirely of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels!)

Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends cult Wikipedia page
Screenshot of Fellowship of Friends on Wikipedia

[ed. - Some background on the current Wikipedia project.]

"Cult Survivor" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 1, 2019:
Solartype is too consistent, persistent and organized to be a single person, so I agree with Jess (see comment No. 24) that we are dealing with a group of FOF members working together. We have a precedent: The “Wikipedia octave” ["octave" here roughly means "project"] back in 2007, when 4-5 members (one of them full-time) worked for 3 or 4 months “fighting former students in Wikipedia”, to the extent that Wikipedia decided to delete the article because it was taking its administrators too much time to monitor the page with the constant edits (see link below). A few days after the deletion of the FOF Wikipedia page, I was having lunch with Abraham Goldman, the main lawyer of the FOF at the time, and he told me with a smile, “We won the Wikipedia battle, we wore them out”. Sadly, “Abe” Goldman had a tragic end – he committed suicide in 2011 (see link below).

Still on the topic of lawyers, another lawyer of the FOF, a person named David Springfield (originally David Lubbers), sent a letter to the Board of Directors in 2009 announcing that he was not going to represent the FOF legally anymore because of “a combination of crime, gross carelessness and ignorance of almost all Board members” and “serious crimes have likely been committed and are possibly continuing to be committed by current members on the Board”. His letter also mentioned that he would no longer “Investigate/Monitor the Blog/GF/PR (Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, Greater Fellowship forum), etc.” implying that he or somebody connected to him had infiltrated this blog and the Greater Fellowship site. The FOF was able to have the letter removed from this blog threatening the hosting site (WordPress) with legal action, but a few days later the letter was posted on Wikileaks and it’s still there challenging the bullying tactics of the FOF (see link below). David Springfield/Lubbers was disbarred in 2015 for stealing $100,000 from a client and the last thing I heard is that he is a fugitive in Canada (see link below).

In summary, based on the past history of the FOF, it makes sense that Solartype is not the name of an individual but of an “operation”.


Find The Fellowship of Friends on Wikipedia (or maybe not)

Abraham Goldman, Fellowship of Friends attorney, commits suicide

Censored Fellowship of Friends cult letter from former legal council David Springfield, 2009

That Awkward Moment When You Discover a Former “Professor” Is Disbarred

"Cult Survivor" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 15, 2019:
Here is an idea: Should we create again a Wikipedia article about the FOF?

I don’t think that this time the FOF will allocate a team to the “Wikipedia octave” like they did in 2007 — their resources are very depleted — so the article probably won’t be deleted (the previous article was removed by Wikipedia because it was taking too much time for the administrators to mediate the “edit wars” between current and former members).

I think it’s worth a try.

We could start with a copy of the previous article that was saved on the Internet Archive (link below) and start editing to see what happens.

Deleted FOF article on Wikipedia:

Any thoughts?

"Golden Veil" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 15, 2019:
112. Cult Survivor – February 15, 2019 [above]

I think that an article about the Fellowship of Friends belongs on Wikipedia. I disagree with your assumption thatit would not be challenged though; an article about the Fellowship of Friends would likely instigate a back and forth edit war.

I have edited Wikipedia articles and created two entire articles – that are still up – on topics that are not related to cults. Both articles are about people and were initially challenged regarding their notability. The challenges come not from “administrators”, as you call them, but other editors. These editors can be absolutely anyone writing on Wikipedia. Some people with more experience especially take it upon themselves to scrutinize new articles – and assist new writers.

I looked over the old Fellowship of Friends article on Wikipedia that you linked and there is a BIG problem with it: there are almost no footnotes. EVERYTHING in a Wikipedia article must be footnoted and from a “credible” source. Personal, first hand experience and personal opinions are not acceptable. Also, quoting from blogs like this one, the Robert Earl Burton Blog, the various podcasts and videos, and the Rick Ross and Steve Hassan cult websites – none of these would be considered credible sources and should not be quoted from. BUT all of these “non-credible” blogs and websites are remarkably good sources to find what would be considered credible sources, mainly newspaper articles written about the Fellowship of Friends.

I only skimmed the article you linked to look for footnotes and haven’t read it, but if you think it is a good article, you could start with it and simply edit it – rewrite it as needed – and seek supporting sources for ALL of the information already written and add in footnotes. Documentation of sources are needed for literally for every sentence in footnote form. It is best to use a varied number of sources; don’t use one newspaper article for all your sources.

If you really want to take this on, I suggest that you write it offline first. The next step would be to put it on a draft form on Wikipedia in a sandbox and enlist the assistance of an experienced editor to help you. You could write to one of the main editors of the Heaven’s Gate article on Wikipedia, for example. Once it is published and no longer in your sand box, anyone at all can make changes. A factual and neutral tone is best. I recommend that you read the Wikipedia article “Wikipedia: Your First Article” – especially the sections entitled “Gathering References”, “Things to Avoid” and “And Be Careful About…” Most editors create a user profile first and then start out by editing existing articles – before writing an article themselves. The work of people who write without a user profile is usually eliminated. Most people write using pseudonyms, though.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 15, 2019:
Regarding another Wikipedia page, I would say, why reinvent the wheel?

If one is interested in the history of the Fellowship of Friends, I can make no stronger recommendation than [this site]. It is searchable by subject and tags, and organized by date, has tons of accompanying images and videos. It would be hard to duplicate the density of useful information and the man–years that have gone into creating this site, IMO.

If one is interested in lively to–and–fro, arguments about the FoF from both sides, the early pages of this blog (2007-2010) are worth going through [see links to "Fellowship of Friends Discussion" in sidebar]. The later pages have very little input from followers because they were given a ‘suggestion’ by Girard Haven (which then turned into a ‘task’) to not engage on the blog—that fact speaks for itself, of course.

If one wants to keep these sites at the top or near the top of the search results, they have to be active and have ‘good’ links to and from them. The particulars of Google’s search algorithms are a ‘secret sauce’, of course, but it is known that they rank links by ‘quality’, based on traffic, the links to them and their ‘quality’, and so on.

I’m an average user, so I start with something like Google Search, key in “Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends” and up comes the REB site. I look around for anything new, then end the session by going to the left of the page and clicking on the latest entry on this blog, and thus arrive here. After catching up, I go on to Google News, very briefly since there is usually nothing of actual value to me there. I’m just registering my presence on the most important news aggregator and establishing a strong link from this site.

That way, I have a chain of strong links to and from the websites I’m trying to ‘train’ Google Search to rank higher.

The more folks that do something along these lines, the higher up the rankings for both these sites.

And anyone who knows how to improve search rankings for these sites (without paying for adverts), please chime in!

I know it is petty, but I am always encouraged by Linda Kaplan’s supposed comment from a decade ago,
"The Blog is the worst thing that ever happened to the Fellowship”
Linda, I know we can’t agree on much, but I can certainly agree with you on that!

"Cult Survivor" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 15, 2019:
113. Golden Veil [above]

You said: “I think that an article about the Fellowship of Friends belongs on Wikipedia.”

Yes, it does. It adds credibility to this blog and Tim’s REB site. People tend to think that what Wikipedia says is “official” because it can be challenged. Besides, Wikipedia is much more succinct and organized than this blog and even Tim’s REB site, even if this last one is pretty well organized. Finally, Wikipedia has an air of “neutrality” that this blog and Tim’s REB site lack.

You also said: I disagree with your assumption that it would not be challenged though; an article about the Fellowship of Friends would likely instigate a back and forth edit war.

I wouldn’t be so sure about that. I asked my friend that is still in the FOF and she told me that of the 4 people that were in the “Wikipedia octave” in 2007, 2 are out of the school, one passed away and one is in his 80’s and lives now at a center. She agrees with me that the FOF doesn’t have the resources and the energy to engage in another Wikipedia war.

Thank you for the tips about how to create an article; I created a couple of articles myself in the past so I have some experience.

I will go ahead and create the article. Let’s see what happens.

"Cult Survivor" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 15, 2019:
115. Ames Gilbert [above]

You said: “Regarding another Wikipedia page, I would say, why reinvent the wheel?”

It’s not my intention to reinvent the wheel, it’s more to add credibility to this blog and Tim’s REB site, as I said above. For the FOF, it would be like adding insult to injury, so to speak.

You said: “I know it is petty, but I am always encouraged by Linda Kaplan’s supposed comment from a decade ago, 'The Blog is the worst thing that ever happened to the Fellowship.'”

My aim recreating the Wikipedia article is for Linda to say “The Blog is the worst thing that ever happened to the Fellowship, and on top of that the Wikipedia article is back. Oh boy.”

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 15, 2019:
Cult Survivor, I salute you for making this effort, and wish you every success. And it seems like you know what you are doing, and are not naïve about the work it entails.

As for the value of my advice—when Tim Campion suggested starting up the REB website, I recommended against it…

Ha! So much for my wisdom and foresight! I’m very glad he didn’t let any naysayers get in the way of his vision and the actualization of that vision, and I’m sure countless others are as well.

Again, best of luck!

P.S. my supposed wisdom and foresight led me right into the Fellowship of Friends. You could hardly find a better example of why I or anyone else should disregard such!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

"Exposing The Fellowship of Friends Cult and Robert Burton the Crook"

"Eric Costa's" YouTube Channel "Exposing the Fellowship of Friends and Robert Burton the Criminal"
Eric Costa's "Age of Gaia" YouTube channel as it appeared July 29, 2019

[ed. - "Eric Costa" (not his real name, also known as "Ocean Tiger" - see below), a self-described former member of the Fellowship of Friends recently created an Age of Gaia YouTube channel which includes a series of videos (whose titles have varied slightly since the beginning, but I'll use) "Exposing the Fellowship of Friends Cult and Robert Burton the Crook, Parts 1 through 7."

Eric states that he was recruited in May 2012 and was an "official member" for one year and an "unofficial member" for five years, leaving the Fellowship in 2018. (The distinction between "official" and "unofficial" is unclear.) Costa lived at Apollo for one month and claims to have been part of the Fellowship's "inner circle."

In Part 1, Costa speaks about the psychological effects of mind control within the cult, the Fellowship's training of "mind control handlers," and how this mind control led him to consider suicide.

In Part 2, he describes his month at Apollo and attending 90 to 100 teaching events.

Part 3 continues his narrative of life at Apollo, including the use there of "slave labor," and a description of how, on his final day in the cult, he disrupted a Fellowship meeting at the Galleria and confronted Robert Burton. Immediately following this, he was excommunicated and put on a train to Los Angeles.

Additional links for those interested: Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.]

"Ocean Tiger" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 24, 2019:
Please be aware that I posted 9 hours of whistle-blowing of what is called on YouTube “Exposing Robert Burton and The Fellowship of Friends.” You’re chatting with someone who experienced firsthand and from others while living in Apollo/The Galleria the mind-control programming of using pets as a method for grooming and submission, including dogs [see dropbox link below] and other animals. No I am not public relations, and yes I have a 300 page book being published in August with content never before posted anywhere.

"Ocean Tiger" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 23, 2019:
Please enjoy these 47 previously unreleased photos of Robert Burton and his associates:

"Exposing The Fellowship of Friends Cult and Robert Burton the Criminal, Part 1" (excerpt)

"Exposing The Fellowship of Friends Cult and Robert Burton the Criminal, Part 2" (excerpt)

"Exposing The Fellowship of Friends Cult and Robert Burton the Criminal, Part 3" (excerpt)