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.

Tuesday, December 31, 1974

Robert Burton on the Fellowship's fifth birthday

Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton) founder of Fellowship of Friends cult
December 1974. Robert Earl Burton is seen walking to the "Lincoln Lodge,"
with the old barn in the background. The Fellowship property was then
known as "The Farm," or "The Ranch." Photo by Drew Kampion.
(Click on this link for a more recent photo of Burton walking the
same path, now called Sacred Way.) 

Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton), founder of Fellowship of Friends cult
Early on, Burton eschewed  being photographed.
Undercover photo by Drew Kampion.
Robert Earl Burton (R.E. Burton), founder of Fellowship of Friends
At midnight, Burton and Fellowship
members celebrated the school's fifth
anniversary. Behind his left shoulder
stands Kimo Beech, one of many tragic
figures in The Fellowship of Friends.
(See "Kimo's Story")

From a member's journal:
Later, we all gathered in the “living room” around a cake bearing little figures of Hansel and Gretel and the number 5 (signifying the fifth anniversary of the Fellowship, but also Robert’s position as a “man number 5”)

There were readings, including John Milton’s “On His Blindness” and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Sonnet.

Robert expressed the wish “may we receive what we so desperately desire.”

Noting the cake with the “5”, he said there will be “infinite joy when the candles read 6” (when he becomes a “man number 6”, that is, fully “conscious.”)

All the while, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” softly filled the room.

See "Veronicapoe's" assessment of the first few years of The Fellowship of Friends.

1 comment:

  1. This cult only survives because of secrecy and the lack of exchange of information. A few people have referred to it as a "golden veil." There's classical music, art, fine dining, and conversation on lofty topics -- but with ugliness on the other side of the curtain.