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, January 31, 1980

January 1980 Notes

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
Ladies are to take up sewing and knitting

This is the tenth anniversary of The Fellowship of Friends. The Fellowship began January 1, 1970 in Lafayette, CA. Membership growth over the years:

Year 1        26 members
  2              80
  3            127
  4            279
  5            477
  6            545
  7            885
  8         1,035
  9         1,186
10         1,346

Photos: Riesling grapes in winter, Shop 2 slab

Other Notes

January 1:
New word exercise: avoid using "in." ("Within" or "inside" are permissible.)
January 2:
Robert is considering Mercedes buses for the Los Angeles and San Francisco centers.
January 30:
Robert leaves for Europe.
Harold Wirk's notes for 1980:
Kloumans quit 10/80 [ed. - After Thomas Klouman reportedly recovered a very large loan from the Fellowship, without Burton's approval.]. 1980 emphasis: restrictions, tasks, fines, obedience. "Organized religion" emphasis (2/80). Payments: $350 mo. 1980: growth rate declines by 90%. (Lowest growth year)