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.

Wednesday, August 1, 1979

August 1979 Notes

Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton's Louis XV writing desk
Robert Burton's Louis XV writing desk inside the Blake Cottage, June 1979 (Photo: T. Campion)

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
Preparations have begun for an orchestra. A conductor has joined the Fellowship and plans to move to Renaissance by 1981

Married couples are to wait five years before having children, and should train them to be right-handed

1,262 members

Other Notes:

August 16:
At the Nut Tree, Robert asked David H. to count how many floor coverings were used on the sales and restaurant floors. David counted ten. Robert felt that a single floor covering  throughout would be more desirable and he made a note to discuss this matter with Don Birrell.
(As Nut Tree Art Director, Don was instrumental in helping establish the aesthetic at both the popular Vacaville destination and at Renaissance. Sparing little expense, the Fellowship closely followed the upscale Nut Tree's example in its selection of furnishings, fixtures, tableware, and artwork.)
August 29:
Trees are being cleared from the recently-purchased Snipes' property.