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, September 30, 1977

Master Bookbinder Max Adjarian moves to Renaissance

Photo of Max Adjarian, 23-yr old French bookbinder
for Cornell University, 1953

[ed. - Max Adjarian moved his bindery to Renaissance and trained members in his trade. His shop was at one time housed in what is now the Apollo Festival Hall. See also this touching remembrance by his daughter, M. M. Adjarian: "What Abides."]

From the Lodi News-Sentinel December 23, 1953:
Cornell Bookbinder Got Start In War

The banning of Boy Scout meetings in occupied France during World War II started a young Parisian on a hobby that led him to the Cornell University library as a bookbinder.

When the meetings were banned in France in 1942, Max Adjarian and two other scouts decided to teach themselves how to bind books. Two years later, Adjarian packed a ton of equipment and set out for America. He visited Ithaca residents, liked the city and the Cornell campus. He applied for work and was quickly accepted.

Victor Emanuel of New York, Cornell alumnus and trustee who donated Cornell's Wordsworth collection, helps to sponsor Adjarian's work of restoring rare volumes from that collection and others in the library.
Also see: https://web.archive.org/web/20150511235641/http://library.ucr.edu:80/view/collections/spcol/bookarts/bookbinding.html

September 1977 Notes

Robert Burton Fellowship of Friends cult Renaissance Journal edited by Linda Kaplan
Sample page from the heavily-edited Renaissance Journal.

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
The "Renaissance Journal" has been inaugurated (Taking the place of the "Mount Carmel Journal". This usually consists of the notes from the regular Fellowship Bay Area meetings [heavily edited by Linda Kaplan Rockwood.]

The purchase of land (at Renaissance) by students is encouraged  
January 1, 1978: Fellowship plans to acquire 60 acres, across Rice’s Crossing Road, west of Blake Cottage 
Shakespeare Study [library] is being converted to the Oriental Dining Room 
Exercise: If one ends a relationship, one must remain celibate for one year

As of October 1st, the re-entry donation will be $2,500

Other Notes
"The Teacher" announces that if one is more than 6 weeks behind in payments, one is no longer in the school.
“Everyone is current in their payments…save four or five people.” – The Teacher
[ed. - Note the use of "payments," not donations. This was before the push to emphasize the Fellowship's status as a "church." Also, the statement is false. In the tiny Dallas Center alone, there were three or four behind in "payments."]

The Fellowship of Friends opens a center (centre, that is) in London.
The more one serves, the more one must pay. It is admittedly difficult to accept that the highest retribution we may receive from Influence C is additional friction. Nevertheless, suffering does produce imperishable being. - The Teacher, Renaissance Journal, September 26, 1977.