Introduction


Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond.
(See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of
alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged
disciple, Asaf Braverman.

Friday, December 31, 1971

1971 Notes

 "Gathered Around The Campfire, 1971" from the Internet Archive. Photo by Don Birrell.
Photo taken at MacDonalds' farm in Vacaville?

[ed. - Timelines provided by Harold Wirk, here and here. The "history" below is inconsistent. The Oregon House property's anniversary is considered July 4th, but it appears to have been purchased in the Spring.]



January
New Year's Eve party at Mac's [MacDonalds']
According to Harold, sometime during this period, Berkeley meetings began
1st Ranch Donation requested [Bonita "loaned" Robert $4,000 for the ranch purchase.]
Farm-garden (at Mac's)
Open meetings (1/7)
Borsch party at Anne's (1/10) [is this at Anna G.'s house in Berkeley?]
Last "Circle in Room" at Rick and Alice's [Hannah]
Smoking allowed during breaks only
Ken Jacuzzi left for Mexico (1/20)
"Stop" exercise is instituted (1/25)
February
40 names for group [ed. - was the Fellowship still unnamed at this point?]
Begin search for a ranch
Planting ceremony at Mac's (2/21)
March
March 3: Robert announces plans to purchase a ranch. Donations due March 4th.
Members looked at the "King Ranch". [ed. - Is this the 1,300-acre Solano County King Ranch, or possibly the former name for the Dixon Hill property?]
Robert will not personally work with new students (3/10)
April
April 20: The California Franchise Tax Board determines The Fellowship of Friends to be a tax-exempt religious organization
April 21: The Fellowship of Friends is incorporated in the State of California
May
May 28 - 31: Sea Ranch Coastway's Ranch
June
Alden and Bonita moved to Ranch
June 23: The United States Internal Revenue Service determines The Fellowship of Friends to be a tax-exempt religious organization
June 26: Anna 3rd [to move there?]
July
1st Ranch Weekend (7/4): "The Farm Octave" begins
[Official Fellowship of Friends history:] On July 4, 1971, (Robert Burton's) students purchased 1,200 acres of mostly uncleared land in the Sierra foothills [bordering the community of Oregon House and sharing Dixon Hill with the Richards Ranch]. For the next five years, Robert Burton focused his efforts on establishing a network of satellite groups or “centers” in California, and on developing the property—later called Renaissance—to serve as a central retreat for Fellowship members and as the focus for their external efforts. [ed. - 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.]
Coin octave [coin collecting?]
August
See Fellowship of Friends Master List as of August 1971.
September
September 4: Robert begins a 16-month period of silence.
Started paper [assumed to be "Via del Sol," the Fellowship journal and newsletter]
Around this time, members are advised to "cut life work by 20%"
October
Sea Ranch (10/1/-10/3)
Vegetarian diet on Ranch (10/18)
Robert speaks on the subject of suicide (10/26)
November
According to Harold, around this time, being "out of patterns" is emphasized, he also refers to "laughing man" [unknown reference], "organic" lifestyle is emphasized, no leather or restrictive clothing, rolfing and massages are common, members are not to eat pork. There is a slow-down in recruiting.
Fast one day [member exercise?]
Mexican dinner (11/18)
Thanksgiving dinner at Farm
December
Big Sur, Carmel meetings (open) started
12/2: Robert leaves ranch and tries to sell it. 14 adults, 8 kids left
12/7: Announced new group formed in Big Sur
Robert teaches 4 meetings weekly
New Year's party at Mac's [MacDonalds'?] ranch (12/31)

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