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, May 31, 1979

May 1979 Notes

Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends cult Renaissance Vineyard May 1979 Oregon House
Vineyards, Lincoln Lodge, and vehicle maintenance barn, May 1979 (Photo: T. Campion)

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
"The Court of the Caravans" is cleared of oak and manzanita.
Send photos to Mildred Smith for inclusion in slide presentations.
In five to seven years, the Fellowship will form its own philharmonic orchestra. (Students are now taking up instruments.)
1,230 members

Other Notes

May 1:
Robert and Karl depart for Tokyo, Hong Kong and Europe.
May 6:
The three-panel, wall length Tiffany window is removed from the Magic Flute Room and crated up. It will later be installed in the new winery.
May 11:
Clearing begins for Shop 2 (metal shop for wine tank production.)
May 21 through 24:
197 loads of aggregate hauled from the Yuba River to Renaissance for concrete production.
May 24:
The D-8 begins cut for winery barrel storage and bottling warehouse levels.
May 27:
There is talk of new centers again: Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Mexico City, Tel Aviv, Sydney, and Kansas City (???)
Vine cuttings are being prepared for planting in the vineyard nursery.
Tonight's concert features the Telluride Octet.
May 30:
25 tons of concrete reinforcing bar (re-bar) are delivered for the new winery.
May 31:
Robert returns to Renaissance