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 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.

Saturday, May 1, 1971

The Fellowship of Friends purchases an Oregon House ranch

1971 photo of Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends/Apollo cult leader
During the 1970s, Robert Earl Burton generally avoided being photographed.
This 1971 photo was a widely-circulated exception.
 It appears on Page 12 of Fifty Years with Angels.

[ed. - Date approximate. Early in 1971, the Fellowship formed a "finder's committee" to search for land upon which to build a headquarters. An Oregon House ranch, through which Dixon Hill Road ran, and which shared Dixon Hill with the neighboring Richards Ranch was chosen. On March 3rd, announced the intended purchase, and on March 4th ("the only day of the year that's a command," according to Charles Randall,) members were asked for donations. In June, Alden Edmonds, Bonita Guido, and Anna Gold would become the first Fellowship residents. The following is Robert Burton's account.]
"We took forty different journeys from the Bay Area to look for a place to build Apollo. We were looking for property that was below the snow line and above the fog line...
"When I came onto the property for the first time on an early spring day, a light rain was falling. I think it was April...
"When we purchased Apollo in 1971, the property totaled 917 acres. It cost $185 an acre, which we paid off in two years. However, unbeknownst to me, one of our treasurers later mortgaged it...
"Later we purchased additional property, and now we have 1017 acres."*
- Robert Burton, Fifty Years with Angels, pages 11-12

"On July 4, 1971, his students purchased 1,200 acres of mostly uncleared land in the Sierra foothills."
Official Fellowship of Friends history

* According to the report by Eugene Katz, CPA, the Fellowship's land holdings as of December 31, 1971 were 917 acres, the cost, about $167 per acre.

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