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 an ominous, yet unspecified new threat late in 2018.) While non-believers shall perish, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers will 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 on official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the (former) Fellowship Wikipedia page, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wiki project, 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.

Saturday, January 1, 1977

January 1977 Notes

Lord Pentland [Henry John Sinclair, 2nd Baron Pentland] of The Gurdjieff Foundation visited Robert Burton at Mount Carmel.

[ed. - Exact date is unknown. As reported by Stella Wirk, Lord Pentland, accompanied by Jacob Needleman, came seeking contributions for the production of a new film based upon Gurdjieff's book, Meetings With Remarkable Men. It is reported that instead of money, Burton presented Pentland with a fancy embroidered pillow, an inside joke alluding to Pentland being a "sleeping machine," not an awakened, conscious being like Burton. The following is an account of the visit by the Gurdjieff Journal.]
"In the late 1970s Lord Pentland, the man Gurdjieff appointed to lead the Work in America, visited Burton's mansion to interest him in financially supporting the film, Meetings with Remarkable Men. Burton believed, however, that Pentland was coming to hand over all his students because he had realized Burton's higher development. As a gift, Burton gave Pentland a beautiful and expensive sleeping pillow. Seated with them at dinner were a number of Burton's top students. The next day one of them left Burton to study with Pentland saying, 'There was just no question of which man was awake and which asleep.'"

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