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.

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.


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 display cabinet to house the Fellowship's (Robert'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.

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