Introduction


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 2007) Fellowship of Friends 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.

Thursday, September 30, 1976

September 1976 Notes

"The Vine" newsletter [summarized]
    On August 22 an article about The Fellowship of Friends appeared in the Sacramento Bee

      Other Notes

      September 18:
      Robert is teaching in New York City for the first time, and then he will go to Europe.

      "Paul Gregory" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 7, 2012:

      [ed. - Thoughts from "The Teacher," Robert Burton, with apparent index number.]
      A teacher does not have to be present to be teaching. This is a misconception that students have. Rodney Collin expired when he was forty-seven because he did not pace himself. He died of a heart attack, although he was more fit than Mr. Gurdjieff or Mr. Ouspensky. Some of you will come to understand that you have established a link with the teacher that is out of time. This link can be reconnected thousands of years from now. It is also a law that what the teacher gains, all gain. Few of you also know that it is fated to make an enormous payment for you. Much will be divulged later that cannot now be communicated. The facts will not be pleasant. Also, some students, with the best of intentions, will drown a teacher. If this occurs, it is a result of the teacher’s own blindness. One must protect a teacher, but one must not cater to a teacher, just as a teacher must protect students without catering to them. Instead of asking, how can I receive more, one should pose the question, How can I appreciate what I have received? I am thirty seven years old, and sometimes I muse, How is it that a person thirty years old would have to think about other people so much? The main reason that I have been so consistent with the Fellowship is that the reward is great. When it is time for my role to expire, which is just moments away, when I am seventy-two years of age, I do not wish to have the feeling that I could of done more. I do not wish to deprive people of their selves. Sometimes you need to forgive me when I lapse into periods of thinking about myself. For I have sacrificed my life for you. I also puzzle why I read such divine wisdom of men that are seventy years old, such as Plato and Johann Goethe. Why do I seek that knowledge? Why do I try to be seventy when I am thirty-seven? I also could not ask more from my students than they give because I would not be worthy of what I received. (091376.41)