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.

Monday, December 31, 1979

December 1979 Notes

Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends cult bus at Renaissance Apollo California
Fellowship of Friends bus at the Lincoln Lodge, November 1979 (Photo: T. Campion)

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
105 acres are to be planted this winter, bringing the total vineyard acreage to 225
No bicycles or motorcycles
Seeking candidates for Tokyo Center, to open in June
Members who have been in school 18 months or longer: stop smoking
December 29 and 30 concerts: Menahem Pressler
Other concerts: Bach's Brandenburg Concertos
Recommend members visit Point Lobos State Park (Carmel, CA)
The 44 Conscious Beings [purportedly assisting the Fellowship of Friends] are listed:
Anderson
Angelico
Aristotle
Antoninus
Baba
Bach
Blake
Buddha
Carroll
Cervantes
Chaucer
Jesus Christ
Collin
Da Vinci
Dante
Elizabeth
Epictetus
Ezekiel
Franklin
Goethe
Gurdjieff
Hafiz
Homer
Horace
Joseph
Lao Tzu
Lincoln
Milton
Montaigne
Moses
Omar
Ouspensky
Paul
Peter
Petrarca
Plato
Rembrandt
Rilke
Shakespeare
Socrates
Solon
Virgil
Vivaldi
Whitman
The Fellowship will assist members in dental education
1,342 members
Photos: bath house at The Court of the Caravans, Renaissance bus (“Renaissance Not-So-Rapid Transit”)