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.

Tuesday, October 31, 1978

October 1978 Notes

New winery dome - September 1978 (Photo: T. Campion)

The task of our school is to preserve culture in the form of an ark. - The Teacher, Renaissance Journal, October 1978.
 October 2:
Robert did not teach at the Monday [San Francisco Bay Area] meeting, and we were informed he would no longer teach at these meetings. Further, the meetings would be moved to Renaissance.
October 8:
Menahem Pressler [pianist from The Beaux Arts Trio] performs at the Renaissance "Swan Building."
October  9:
Changes clarified: meetings at Renaissance are for Renaissance (they will not be the "Bay Area meeting moved to Renaissance.")
October 10:
The first stainless steel wine tanks arrive and are delivered to the Winery Knoll.
October 14 -15:
First harvest of Renaissance grapes (quite a small volume, perhaps the equivalent of a few barrels of wine.)
October 17:
After months of non-stop labor, some salaried members are allowed a few days' vacation.
October 23:
Later today between thirty and fifty students will be departing with Robert on a European journey.