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) Fellowship 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.

Wednesday, December 26, 1973

Bonita Guido takes leave of absence from the Fellowship

[ed. - (This account was provided by a former member who at the time was a close friend to Bonita.)

Robert's first student, and Hawaii center director Bonita Guido asked for, and received, permission from Robert Burton to take a two-year leave of absence from the Fellowship. She left Hawaii on December 26, 1973, accompanied by her spouse Hallstein Farestveit, who had also briefly been a member of the Fellowship. They flew to Oslo, Norway.

Donald MacDonald was in Hawaii, prepared to assume the directorship of the Hawaii center. While Bonita and Hallstein were still in the air, Donald received word, relayed from Burton, that Bonita was no longer in the Fellowship. He was told she was a "bad seed."

In late 1973, the former member volunteered to drive Bonita around to Bay Area meetings. Bonita had been away in Hawaii for a long time and this was her reintroduction to the Bay Area meetings. 

They attended a large Fellowship meeting in Vacaville, at (he thought) Klair Morris’s house. He remembered that, during an intermission in the meeting, Bonita took him by the arm and dragged him out the front door.

Outside, under a streetlight, she asked, "when did he start doing this???”

Perplexed, he replied, “Doing what?”

“He’s putting people to sleep!” she said.

That person said he always felt Bonita, not Burton, was the real teacher.

Bonita and Hallstein would eventually found The Linbu Society.]

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