Introduction


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.

Thursday, December 31, 1970

1970 Notes

[ed. - At a New Year's Eve party on December 31, 1969, Robert Earl Burton meets his first "student," Bonita Guido. On January 1, 1970, he begins instruction for his new follower, thus launching The Fellowship of Friends.]

From Harold Wirk's timeline and here:
According to Harold's notes, Bonita and David Guido were Burton's first students. There were three meetings a week, at Orinda or Walnut Creek, and "Robert works with each student privately." Having relationships of children is discouraged. The period is noted for "intense 1st and 2nd line work" and the "word exercises" [avoiding the use of designated words] begin. 
January
First open meeting (1/20)
June/July
Tahoe trip. 22 go.
Harold, Stella [Meg] join
Meetings at Bern & Liz Berger's, Guidos', Meg's
August
Sea Ranch
Meg hospitalized (8/21 - 8/26)
Dinner at Guidos'
Meetings at Hannahs' and Guidos'
Tahoe trip (8/28 to 9/3)
September
Notebooks started
Dinner at Kenneth J.'s (9/11)
Robert gone. Students conduct first meeting (9/21)
Swim party at Ken J.'s (9/28)
Meetings at Ken's, Bonita's, Bernard's, Bill's
October
Big Sur trip (10/21- 10/22)
Meetings at Bill's, Meg's, Bernard's, Bonita's, Richard's
November
Mendocino trip (11/15 or 11/16)
"Small groups" begin
Group open meetings (11/20 - 11/22)
December
Christmas party at Hannahs'

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