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.

Monday, May 31, 1976

May 1976 Notes

Mount Carmel newsletter (summarized)
The Fellowship compound in Oregon House is now to be called "Mount Carmel", not "The Farm" or "The Ranch"
When ending a relationship, students are to wait one year before entering another 
The no leg-crossing exercise ended in March 
The six-week exercise of no TV, radio, magazines ends April 12
Cinema now showing Thursdays and Saturdays at Mt. Carmel [ed. - ballet, opera, Shakespeare plays]

Other Notes

May 8:
Chenin Blanc cuttings are being planted in the vineyard nursery.
May 26:
The Fellowship has purchased the Doyle Property [ed. - The double-wide home on the property will be called "The Rilke Cottage," and will serve as Karl Werner's residence.]
May 29:
The first grapevine rootings were planted in the vineyard
May 31:
After tonight’s Bay Area concert (Paul Renzi, flute and Anne Adams, harp) members departed for new centers: Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Houston, and New York.

Salaried students are being given an extra $25 and were invited to Carmel.

Saturday, May 1, 1976

"The Antique Collecting Octave"

[ed. - In the mid-1970s, with the stated goal of introducing High Culture to his followers (many of whom were barely weaned from long hair, tie-die, psychedelics and free love,) Robert Earl Burton began collecting antiques. He was fond of saying

Beauty creates its likeness in those who pursue it.*

*See The Canons of The Fellowship of Friends.

Heeding his own words, Burton passionately pursued the accumulation of objects reflecting his particular perception of beauty (favoring late-18th and  early-19th century arts and crafts.) Would that it were so simple to create inner beauty.

Robert Earl Burton's Meissen dining room at Fellowship of Friends cult headquarters, Oregon House, CA
Early 19th century Paul Storr sterling silver soup tureen

At the Fellowship of Friends newly-renamed "Mt. Carmel" headquarters, recent acquisitions were displayed in the "Meissen Room",  the exclusive dining chamber where Robert Burton and his Inner Circle entertained a small number of select guests. One piece was a Paul Storr 1811 sterling silver soup tureen (similar to the one pictured), supposedly valued at $16,000 (about $64,000 in 2012 dollars!) Robert termed it “the most important antique yet brought to The Farm.”

The tureen in the photo is apparently from the private collection of Worldwide Church of God founder Herbert W. Armstrong. Of Armstrong, Wikipedia states:
"Armstrong was often criticized for having lived in extravagant wealth as a comparison to church members who paid three tithes and lived in relative poverty as a result. Personal luxuries enjoyed by Armstrong included a personal jet, the finest clothing, furniture and other conveniences."  
A similar narrative could be written of Robert Earl Burton. Oh, that's right. You're reading it!

Meissen Dragon Pattern dinner plate

Also displayed was a 120-piece set of Meissen “Vermilion Dragon” porcelain dinner ware (supposedly) valued at  $3,000 - about $12,000 in 2012 dollars.)

I can't speak for its veracity, but this website suggests another sociopath, Der Führer, Adolph Hitler had similar tastes:

Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton and Adolph Hitler had same taste for Meissen porcelain
Adolph Hitler, Albert Speer and Joseph Goebbels at the "Eagle's Nest", with Meissen Dragon Pattern porcelain.

Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends Meissen Room in 1978
The Fellowship of Friends "Meissen Room" (shown here in 1978), where Robert Earl Burton dined with his Inner Circle.
The table is set for dinner with Rosenthal "Magic Flute-Sarastro" gold-plated dinnerware, Baccarat
and air-twist crystal and Georg Jensen Acorn Pattern sterling silver ware. Photo from S. McCormick.

Also arriving at this time, a large antique wall-mounted vitrine (display cabinet) to house the Fellowship's (Burton's) growing collection of Meissen figurines, similar to those pictured below.

Meissen porcelain figurines

In preparation for the visit of prominent Bay Area antique dealer C. Frederick Faudé, the Fellowship "Mt. Carmel" (or "Mt. Carmel Monastery") property is given a major facelift, the Lincoln Lodge painted a creamy yellow with rust red trim and the landscape groomed to suitably impress Robert's special guest.]

"Deidra Kennedy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Investigation Petition:
I was a member from 1973 until the Fall of 1978. Among other things, it was my duty (ha! and alleged privilege) to purchase and acquire the rose Meissen Robert was so fond of--I spent many evenings in the Meissen room, cleaning, arranging and cataloging the massive collection. On buying trips to Victoria, BC--we hid substantial amounts of Paul Storr Georgian sterling silver in the trunks of the fleet of Mercedes automobiles from the border guards so as not to have to pay duty fees. Robert always asked for discounts from the antiques dealers as we were a non profit church and this was for church investments--somehow I had to say this with a straight face while dressed my best in Lanvin and Gucci clothes--oh please! This is a common practice at the Fellowship of Friends and Robert and his minions have defrauded the government out of years and years of taxes and duty fees. He should have to pay it back--talk about good householder! It is the chicken hawk activities that led to my leaving the FOF--it is not right to mess with young men who do not know from what; who knows the damage to Don Birrell's young son? We all went to the FBI and the police, but nothing was done--someone was paid off, no doubt.