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.

Sunday, September 30, 1979

September 1979 Notes

Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends cult Renaissance Winery Zinfandel grapes
Renaissance Vineyards Zinfandel grapes,
August 1979 (Photo: T. Campion)

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
A bronze sculpture of Poseidon has recently arrived.
Those members with talents should take lessons.
1,295 members
Photos: Zinfandel grapes, Poseidon sculpture (with pansies)

Other Notes

September 9:
The Press Room has been moved from the Blake Cottage to the Socrates Cottage, and major remodeling is occurring at the Blake Cottage, to include a large fireplace and the Tiffany window. [ed. - It's unclear what became of that Tiffany window! Fellowship craftsmen had worked for years, it seems, restoring it.]
September 15:
While he drives on Rice's Crossing Road in Oregon House, a window on Karl's Mercedes is smashed, probably by a thrown rock. The same evening, another man's van was hit by a pellet from a gun. The Fellowship has had an at times "rocky" relationship with the community, largely arising from fears surrounding the Fellowship's secrecy.
September 16:
Harvest begins with the Cabernet slope. It is a late harvest, and there were many raisins. Karl said these were the best. [ed. - That's a bit crazy.] Meanwhile, tractors work through the evening spraying the white varietal vines with water in an attempt to propagate the botrytis cinerea mold.
September 17:
The work force at Renaissance is to be cut by about 35 members.

Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends cult Renaissance Vineyards & Winery Sauvignon Blanc grapes
Renaissance Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc grapes,
September 1979 (Photo: T. Campion)