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, August 31, 1978

August 1978 Notes

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
Leon Adams, wine expert and author, visited in mid-July [Adams authored The Wines of America, published in 1973.]

1,145 members

Other Notes
August 10:
Pouring of the winery foundation commenced today.
August 21:
The Swan Building is progressing rapidly - a chalk board indicates thirty-four days remaining before the inaugural  concert.
August 25:
Pouring of circular winery slab was finished
August 25:
The Meissen Room dinner last night celebrated the first anniversary of the Renaissance Journal. The dinner coincided with an annual printer's feast in England called the Wayzgoose Feast. Karl Werner prepared the goose. Robert remarked that the school "would prove itself in 2006 (though it does not need proving"). He said his former teacher [Alex Horn] would die prior to the Fall of California. Just before departing the room he remarked that his former teacher stated that Robert had surpassed him.
August 28:
Robert began tonight's meeting with a discussion of relations with "life families," the subject arising after a visit he made to his mother today, the second such visit in six years, he said.

Tuesday, August 1, 1978

The Fellowship buys Poseidon fountain from French town

[ed. - The story I recall from many years ago (and which may not be accurate) was that Fellowship winemaster Karl Werner spotted this fountain in the square of a village in southern France. He offered to buy the fountain on the spot.]

Fellowship of Friends cult member Samuel Sanders and Poseidon fountain
Samuel Sanders stands beside a Poseidon fountain the Fellowship hopes to purchase.
Fellowship of Friends cult donation demand for Poseidon fountain
Fellowship solicitation for (mandatory) "donation" to purchase Poseidon fountain.