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.

Friday, December 31, 1976

December 1976 Notes

December 16:
Fellowship member Gary James died in an automobile accident in Philadelphia. 

[ed. - This was apparently the first death of a Fellowship member, and may have led to Burton's prohibition against members owning sports cars, as Gary drove a Datsun 240Z. The second death would come in January, 1979.]

"Joey Virgo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 6, 2019:
54. amesgilbert1

I also appreciated your passionate indictment of REB’s empty eulogy It is and was very on point and right.

Your comments and the news about this most recent death of a Fellowship member Peter Morrow reminded me of the first death in the Fellowship with Gary James back in December of 1976. Gary James was only 27 years of age, and got killed in a car accident while traveling after midnight in the dead of a Pennsylvania winter snow in his car, driving back to the teaching house on a slippery road after finishing his shift at his job as a restaurant waiter! Black-hearted Burton came to the teaching house afterwards and told we the living, “He died and his soul did not survive death.”