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.")

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. Read more about the blog.

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

Tuesday, August 31, 1971

Fellowship of Friends Master List, August 1971

From the Internet Archive

"Melanie" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends WikiSpace [site no longer accessible], March 16, 2013:
Date:  Sat, Mar 16 2013, 1:34 pm, PST
Name:  Melanie
Number:  26

How strange to see my name on the 1971 ledger sheet. I was 18 at the time, had been in the Teaching for 2 years and left in 1972 to grow up. If my recollection serves me right, 1971 was the year that we spent the summer at the ranch, one bathroom and a bad septic system. I remember having various projects, one of which was raising and killing chickens. Each student had to kill a chicken because it was important to be in touch with our appreciation with another life and the taking of it. It was an important lesson. When I left the teaching, my mother Rosemary, my father Donald, and my sister Charlotte had nothing to do with me for a few months but that was as long as it lasted. Maybe it was because I was leaving to find me not to get away from them. In any case, my mother was in until she passed away in 2003. My father left about a year before Miles because of the abuse and because people were instructed not to have sex. What I remember of that is that no-one was to have any sex unless they were married. How odd. I never really felt compelled to follow alot of the rules that Robert laid down...I thought it was a test to see if you would think for yourself or do what he said. The thread of being excomunicated was not enough to doom me to a loss of salvation. I don't see alot of former members but I do live a great life in Wisconsin. I miss my parents but I know they did a good job overcoming many challenges in this life. I had a sense of humor about the many "important and significant" statements they both made in the weekly meetings and the retreats. Really, what the heck what that all about? There was mostly alot of repressed sexual energy going around. What a hoot. I have not fully looked over all of the postings but I will. Thank you for taking the time to develop is very interesting and certainly a part of my past.

[ed. -
"My father left about a year before Miles because of the abuse and because people were instructed not to have sex."
Actually, Donald Macdonald left the Fellowship in June 1975. Miles Barth (aka Brighton) left the Fellowship in March 1985.]

Sunday, August 1, 1971

Once upon a time...

[ed. - Below is a screen print of the Renaissance Winery website captured by the Internet Archive, October 13, 1999. In the photograph, members are gathered in front of what would become the "Lincoln Lodge," and later, "Apollo d'Oro" restaurant.]