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.

Friday, June 30, 1978

June 1978 Notes

"Renaissance Vine" [summarized]
Personal items are to be removed from barn by June 15 (barn to be dismantled)
Renaissance Vineyard and Winery Corporation established
Karl Werner is in Europe purchasing equipment for the upcoming harvest
Three weeks ago, Spring Cleaning at Lincoln Lodge: finish lounge and walkway to traffic circle, re-pour patio, install additional sod, decks refurbished
In the nursery, 95,000 grapevine cuttings were planted in six days

Other Notes

June 1:
Summer working hours for salaried employees are roughly 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. (plus additional "volunteered" hours for meal service, dish-washing, etc.)
A multitude of Fellowship marriages (often two or three per weekend) are now being performed at "The Blake Chapel." [The Blake Cottage] It is reported that the facility is booked into the Fall. What next? ...The rumor is, babies.

Some express concern over how lightly human relationships seem to be taken in the Fellowship. They form and dissolve in an almost matter-of-fact manner. Even Miles and Helga's marriage appears to have crumbled.
Robert returned from his travels in Europe.

Site preparation is underway on the "winery knoll."
June 5:
At the Bay Area meeting, Robert called emergency vehicle sirens the "school song" and said Higher Forces' favorite colors are black and blue.
Again he stated a "safe method" is to "do what the machine does not wish to do."
June 6?:
June Elections: Several hundred Fellowship members living in Yuba County were directed by their leaders to register to vote, and further, to vote for Charlie Parker, the leadership's preference for District Supervisor. Parker won the election. [ed. - Directing support to a particular candidate was no doubt a violation of IRS rules for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations.]

June 19:
Bay Area Meeting. After three or four years at Skyline Church, this is the first meeting in a new location [Greek Orthodox church?]. The Paris Center is now open and the Munich Center will open in the Fall.
June 24:
A fire was ignited by a bulldozer working on the Zinfandel Slope, burning one acre of vines before being extinguished.

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